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Copy to SSD, then erase old hard drive

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Beginner
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I planned to copy everything to my new SSD then use the HDD for misc rarely used items. My SSD was given drive letter F: but windows considers drive C to be where Windows installed. I would like to change F to C, and C to F but I don't see how. I am booting from F now so I would change that drive letter to C if I could. Can I do this drive letter swapping? If not, can I just reformat C? Or do I have to remove the drive, which might allow me to change F to C? 

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Legend
Posts: 105
Comments: 25007

ktwin, welcome to these user forums.

Unfortunately you cannot just swap drive letters without the possibility of further problems, especially given that you are booting into Windows from the SSD on drive F: but Windows was originally installed on drive C: - there is a strong likelihood that the SSD uses information from drive C: and wouldn't boot without that drive present.

The correct method of doing what you originally wanted to do, to move your Windows OS to the SSD and wipe the original HDD to use for other data, is to either clone the HDD to the SSD or use Backup & Restore to do the same task.

When cloning, the HDD should be removed and replaced by the SSD (so that Windows will still be connected to the same motherboard SATA port & controller).  The HDD should be connected as a second drive or externally via a USB - SATA adapter.  The clone should then be done by booting from the Acronis bootable Rescue Media on either CD or USB stick.

See KB document: 48386: Acronis True Image 2015: Cloning Disks  and KB document: 1540: Difference between Backup and Disk Clone for further information.

It is important that you do not boot with both drives attached after cloning - remove the HDD before trying to boot from the SSD as both drives will have identical drive signatures.  Once you are sure that the SSD is working correctly, then attached the HDD via USB to be able to format it for other use.

It is recommended to make a full disk & partitions backup of the HDD to an external backup drive before attempting to clone the drive.  This will give you protection from any mistakes or problems.

Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 1

Thanks, I tried something else first and it worked. I added the SSD and ran the clone process from the HDD. Then I changed the boot order to the SSD and unplugged the HDD and rebooted. This assigned the letter C to the SSD. Then I plugged in the HDD and it got a different letter. 

Beginner
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I tried doing what you did here ktwin, but in my case, the PCIE SSD automatically became C, and when I plugged my SATA HDD back in it no longer shows up anywhere; BIOS, Partition Manager, Device Manager, Samsung Magician, or Windows Explorer. Could someone please help me? I've tried unplugging and replugging the SATA tape plug in different ways but no dice. Could I have ruined the hard drive by forgetting to unplug the battery once or twice?

Legend
Posts: 105
Comments: 25007

Michael, welcome to these public User Forums.

Please check your PC / motherboard documentation as there are some systems where plugging in a PCIe SSD automatically disables the SATA port giving the symptoms you describe.

Beginner
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Comments: 2

I appreciate the help. This is super late, but I wanted to update. I had fried the motherboard which led to the SATA drive not showing up, the fans not working, keyboard backlight not working, speakers and headphone jack not working, and probably a few other issues too. 

I ended up begrudgingly buying a new copy of the same laptop, though unfortunately the top left corner has BAD light bleed due to case damage in that corner; if I pinch both parts together, the bleed disappears. Gotta figure out a way to mold it back to place. Clothespins maybe?

Anyway, thanks again. My computer has been working great ever since I bought a new copy and didn't fry it. 

To anyone worried about frying their laptop: Minimize static while opening it up, always unplug the battery before you do anything else after opening, and if you already did something and forgot to unplug the battery (which I totally did a 2nd time) just keep it plugged in, make sure the laptop is in start-able condition and closed, power on, power off, open and disconnect the battery. 

If anyone has experience that says I'm wrong on this last part, please correct me. The last thing I want to do is give advice that fries someone else's laptop when I'm trying to prevent that. 

Legend
Posts: 105
Comments: 25007

Michael, it is well worth investing in an antistatic wristband when working with any electronic components but you still need somewhere to connect the strap to so that is has an earth connection to prevent static discharge and component damage.

I always try to look for a hardware maintenance manual for any laptops that I need to open up, and these always say to remove / disconnect battery and power before taking further steps in changing parts. 

Beginner
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Comments: 11

Dignified

  1. Backup HDD to external harddrive.
  2. Delete files off the HDD to make it fit on the SSD.
  3. Clone HDD to SSD.
  4. Take out the HDD, and put the SSD in its place in the computer.
  5. Connect HDD in the computer and wipe it (somehow).
  6. Move files from the external harddrive to the now wiped HDD.