Plan SSD From Outer Space

If you’re one of the four visitors who read the last post, you’ll know what this is about – and yes, the mission was successful.

I installed Crucial MX500 SSD boot drives in a pair of Lenovo AIO 520S-23IKU computers (2017) and a Samsung 870 EVO drive in a Gateway NV77H23U laptop (2012). On the first attempt, the Samsung went into one of the Lenovo machines, provoking an intermittent failure (No operating system). So I tried the Crucial devices AND I changed my procedure.

Instead of cloning the boot drive using the same machine the SSD was destined for, I used another computer for the task – taking the mechanical drive out and then connecting both old and new drives via USB. Both Crucial drives cloned without incident and I suspect this difference in procedure is responsible for subsequent success installing the Samsung EVO in my geriatric Gateway machine.

Specifically, in order to clone an operating computer’s boot drive, the disk copy utility has to lock the boot drive while it’s being used. According to others who’ve struggled with this process, it’s a recipe for failure. So, first bit of advice – don’t do that.

When I cloned the Crucial drives, I used a limited function utility from Acronis – distributed free on the Crucial website. I won’t ever use it again – it’s slow, inefficient, buggy and lacks the ability to clone an MBR (master boot record) category drive, which is what I have in the Gateway computer.

So, I tried a free utility from Samsung, which refuses to clone anything except the installed operating drive. After an hour of research and a couple of false starts, I downloaded Reflect 7 Free from Macrium Software – which is more oriented to the expert user than the others, but it also works. If not a seasoned computer geek, there’ll be ideas you’ll need to look up.

Finally, I accomplished one of the two necessary USB to SATA connection tasks with this device, from Amazon. For the second drive, I used a SATA USB dock I had laying around. Fun fact, full-size SATA drives and tiny 2.5″ laptop SATA drives and SATA SSD drives all use the same connector.

Do you have questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

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