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Upgrading your hard drive

With the cost of Solid State Drives falling well below the $1 per GB price range, the options for upgrading old hard drives becomes more attractive.

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As the costs of Solid State Drives continue to fall into a much more manageable range, the options for upgrading existing PC storage solutions become much more attractive. Why continue using the old platter drive that came with your stock system when a new 500 GB SSD is only a couple of hundred dollars and makes a large impact on system performance?

Are you comfortable doing things yourself? If so, then just swap out the old drive and power up the new!

Switching out drives

Let be clear, you cannot just slide in a new drive and expect your system to work. You have to move everything from the original drive over to the new one, including your operating system, before the swap will work.

First things first: you have to connect the new drive to your PC before removing the old one. Hopefully, your PC will have extra internal drive bays. If you do, simply connect the new drive into your system as a secondary drive, follow your manufacturer's installation instructions, and make sure your BIOS stays set to the original drive as your boot drive. If you have a system that does not have a free internal drive bay, don't worry, you can make the new drive a temporary external drive. You will need to purchase either a SATA-USB enclosure or a SATA-USB adaptor, but neither are expensive or hard to use.

Copying your files

Now that you have your new drive connected to your PC, you have to find programs that can copy your files from the original drive to the new drive. There are a number of free programs capable of doing the job, such as Clonezilla, EaseUS Todo Backup Free, Macrium Reflect Free, and ShadowCopy. Pick the program you feel most comfortable using and follow the instructions provided.

As an example of how the process works, here is how to clone your drives using the free program offered by EaseUS.

  • First, follow the link above to download and install the EaseUS Todo Backup Free. Once that is complete, launch the program.
  • In the left pane, select Clone.
  • Click Disk Clone and follow the program's wizard.
  • On the last page of the wizard, before you finalize the process, make sure to resize the partition to take advantage of any extra drive space you acquired by upgrading.
  • Click Proceed.

The process can take a while to complete, so now is a good time to catch up on some reading or a TV show you might have saved on the DVR.

Once the cloning process is completed, be sure to shut down your PC, swap the drives out, and make sure the BIOS is set to recognize your new primary drive.

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