Clone XP Professional from HD to SSD

Discussion in 'Gigabyte' started by dont, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. dont

    dont Guest


    I upgraded XP Professional to Windows 7 Professional via an upgrade disk
    to / on a HD, which was successful, and running for quite some time,
    successfully as well.

    How can I transfer all of this to a new SSD and continue on?


    dont, Jul 15, 2011
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  2. dont

    dont Guest

    Bueller?.. Bueller?.. Bueller?.. Anybody?
    dont, Jul 19, 2011
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  3. dont

    Paul Guest

    I can describe the issues for you, but I don't know the answer.

    Hard drives use CHS (cylinder-head-sector) in the MBR primary
    partition tables. Disks have long since passed being reasonably
    described by this scheme, and they use the (redundant) LBA information

    The CHS uses a bogus sectors per track number, as a kind of flag.
    When an installer sets up the disk, it writes in there, that
    there are "255 heads" and "63 sectors per track".

    If you watch what the WinXP (and earlier) OSes do, they'll align to
    a track. That's why, the MBR is at sector 0, then they "skip" 62
    sectors, then on the 63rd sector, the first partition begins.
    There might be another wasted 63 sectors, between the first partition
    and the second partition. The hard drive couldn't give a rat's ass
    about this, and the hard drive is blissfully unaware of the silly
    game being played. On the one hand, CHS is "bogus" for large disks,
    and yet the partitioning process takes it into account and applies
    an alignment consistent with the bogus and unused CHS information.

    OK, so from that, we might guess (rightly or wrongly), that both
    the WinXP and Windows 7 partitions are offset from the beginning
    of the disk, by a multiple of 63 sectors. In addition, the partition
    size might also be a multiple of 63 sectors (try dividing total sectors
    by 63 and see). You can check this all out (and see if the previous
    two statements are correct or not), with a utility like this (run
    this elevated in Windows 7, or you'll get an "error 5" or the like).

    Now, the SSD on the other hand, from a hardware perspective, has
    "flash pages". For performance reasons, it's best to achieve some
    kind of alignment between the file system and the flash pages.

    If you use the Windows 7 installer on a blank SSD, then chances are,
    Windows 7 will use a power_of_two alignment. It's somewhere around
    8 or 16 flash pages or so, from the beginning of the disk, to where
    the partition starts. Maybe this results in clusters being aligned
    to flash pages ? If some "data chunk" spans two flash pages, it means
    read-modify-write on some portion of each page. If clusters were
    aligned, it might cut down on the fractional writes required. So
    that's the big win, if you can manage it.

    So offsetting the partitions isn't a problem. I could probably
    do that manually with "dd", then go back and doctor the partition
    table with PTEDIT32 to account for the change. But chances are,
    *some* piece of software isn't going to be too happy, if the length
    of the partition isn't also aligned in some way. Maybe it's OK if
    the partition is still a multiple of 63, and you pad some amount to
    achieve a power_of_two relationship for the second partition. (I use that, when copying sectors)


    OK, enough with the nonsense. You need a real utility of some sort.

    There is one utility, already in existence. The "WD_Align" utility,
    exists to solve the "4KB sector disk problem". The utility is
    written by Acronis, the download is pretty big, implying lots
    of functions. The same utility is rebranded, and is also available
    (plus/minus the same file size in download) from Seagate.

    Now, could that utility solve the problem ? That would be
    for further research. I don't know if Acronis included
    any SSD functions in that utility or not.

    A second place to look, is the OCZtechnology forums. There
    are plenty of discussions of "SSD polishing" over there. This
    should give you a good start.

    This is a second page of some use, but you have to wade
    through this and toss out the nonsense. Windows 7 already
    knows about some of these issues - for example, Windows 7
    should not run the defragmenter on your SSD. WinXP though,
    if you were to attempt to run defrag, is just going to do
    as you instruct. Windows 7 is at least slightly SSD aware,
    so it knows better.

    Depending on the brand of your SSD, it's possible the manufacturer
    offers some kind of utility. It's the least they could do.

    Another aspect of SSD operation, is support for the TRIM
    command. On Windows 7, the "msahci" driver and placing the
    disk interface in the BIOS in AHCI mode, might be sufficient
    to get TRIM support. On WinXP, it might require an AHCI driver
    added via pressing F6 when the OS was installed. It's not
    going to be a lot of fun fixing that now. Depending on your
    motherboard chipset, you'll find some discussions about
    TRIM, over here.

    One of the reasons I didn't attempt an answer before, is
    I don't own an SSD, and have no first hand experience with
    how these things go. I usually forget all I've read, by the
    time a question like this comes up again.

    There is some info out there, which can give you some guidance.
    But it might not be written in "easy recipe form" though.

    Have fun,
    Paul, Jul 19, 2011
  4. dont

    dont Guest

    Thanks Paul,

    A lot to chew on ...

    dont, Jul 19, 2011
  5. dont

    Paul Guest

    You can just copy the contents of the hard drive, to the SSD.
    That will work. Bottom line, the SSD still respects 512 byte sectors,
    and is a block oriented device. It'll do, whatever you tell it to do.

    It's the performance level that's an issue. The SSD will
    still be fast. But not as fast, as if you do the job right.

    If you're in a hurry, you can ignore everything I wrote in the
    other post, and just copy it over. GParted or some free partition
    utility (like Easeus) can probably do that for you.

    Some examples of partition managers are here. Who knows,
    maybe one of them already knows what to do with an SSD :)

    Paul, Jul 19, 2011
  6. dont

    dont Guest


    Thank you for all of the pointers and links. It is very helpful and
    useful information.

    dont, Jul 20, 2011
  7. dont

    Gordon Guest

    As I understand things, a SSD has to delete a whole block and then write
    back the new file. If another file spans across the blocks then then
    this does not work as another file, or part there of will be wiped.
    After some time the disk fills up with junk unless it has the junk
    blocks deleted.

    SSD's are worn out by writes, but not reads, so best use is the OS and
    programmes where all that reading goes on.

    Put the data on a mechanical drive.

    Start your first partition on 2048 to align things.
    Gordon, Mar 26, 2012
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