I thought I would post an AAR of how things went as you guys were kind enough to help and might want to know how it all ended.
So. I started around 9pm and it’s now 2:15am and I’m posting with a machine running my new SSD. At several points, I thought it would not boot anymore or that I had killed it.
The evening went like this:
Step 1: Get rid of Ubuntu
The boot option into Ubuntu (installed on a whim) had been a needless pain in the ass for weeks. I had been too lazy to figure out how to get rid of it. But I wanted my OS disk image to be based on a pure Win 7 boot to avoid any unplanned side effects. Also, the first time I tried the reimage, my machine didn’t boot because the SATA cable I was temporarily using for the SSD was, in fact, plugged into the HD where the small Ubuntu partition had been created. Doh! So it was time to get rid of the thing.
I used this how to guide: http://www.howtogeek.com/141818/how-to-uninstall-a-linux-dual-boot-system-from-your-computer/
And about 30 minutes later (by this point, my boot drive was getting slower and everything took forever), I had a clean boot into Windows 7, 30 more GB of free space on my games partition and a fixed master boot record. So far, so good.
Step 2: Plug in new drive, check BIOS, start Windows
Totally painless. Noticed at that point that AHCI was disabled but decided to worry about that later.
Step 3: Paragon software and the OS copy
As I mentioned above, my HD seemed to really struggle to simply boot into Windows by that point and took forever to start programs. But I didn’t receive any errors. So I don’t know if the general lack of speed explains the Paragon performance but I spent about 20 minutes all told watching messages begging me to be patient with not much changing. I was getting worried.
But the partition copy finally started and took about 35 minutes.
Paragon then posted helpful instructions on how to proceed from there on:
All in all, pretty painless if boring.
Step 4: The HD switcheroo
That’s when I unplugged the dying HD, replaced it with the SSD and decided to replace the D: partition with a spare HD I had taken out of another machine this week. Queue half an hour or more with much swearing and pushing and moving cables to try and fit a 4th SATA cable into one of the 3 controllers (i.e I had to manage to fit it under another SATA cable and all the cables and my video card made that a mess).
Step 5: Cry bitter tears and prepare to order a new machine
I got the drives connected. Plugged all the plugs back in, pressed the power button and… nothing. Checked the PSU switch, tried again, nothing.
By that point, I thought I had managed to break something. Queue half an hour of googling about my motherboard and looking at the manual to see what cable I might have taken out; until I noticed 2 tiny loose jumpers. One labelled Power and the other Reset. Ah ha! With the motherboard’s manual admonishing me to make sure the + and - sides were not crossed (but no clue which was which), I set to put the jumpers back in. I also had to unbend one of the pins for the power switch I had evidently mistreated while trying to fit all my SATA cables and drives.
This one was all of my own doing. When I plugged everything back in and pressed the switch, the machine started.
Step 6: Boot into Windows, Enable AHCI post Windows install
I knew that AHCI is supposed to make a performance difference for SSD’s and wanted to switch it on. So I followed this guide (tested on Win7 and Vista):
- Startup "Regedit
- Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SYSTEM / CurrentControlset / Services
- Open msahci
- In the right field left click on “start” and go to Modify
- In the value Data field enter “0” and click “ok”
- exit “Regedit”
- Reboot Rig and enter BIOS (hold “Delete” key while Booting )
Find the AHCI option in the BIOS and make sure it’s enabled.
Boot into windows 7, the OS will recognize AHCI and install the devices. Now the system needs one more reboot and voila … enjoy the improved SSD performance.
After the extra reboot, Windows detected all my hard disks as new media (first time only) and that was that.
Step 7: Enjoy
And here I am, with Excel, Chrome and iTunes starting in about 1-2 seconds and with one more hard disk installed (nearing 3 TB of space on this system between 4 hard disks).
All in all, most of the misadventures (breaking the boot sequence by taking the Ubuntu drive offline, Ripping out the power jumper and bending pin) were of my own making. Though playing with SATA and power cables in a crowded config is no fun.
The steps that were actually the move to SSD and reconfiguring Win 7 were a breeze though.
Many thanks to everyone for your help.