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  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger Jagworld's Avatar
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    Anyone upgraded to SSD on a laptop?

    HP pavilion w/150g drive running Vista and would like to make it faster.

    No room for an additional HD for storage...... Suggestions needed.

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Jag,

    I'm just at the final stage of upgrading my Dell Inspiron 1564 to a 128GB Crucial M4 drive.
    It's been a bit of a process, check our the HW forum for my problems w/screws.
    I purchased Paragon HD 12 Suite and was very disappointed as I thought it contained the features of their alignment tool but not so. I finally wound up starting from scratch including Dual Booting it w/2 copies of Win-7 {one to run Office Pro 2003 and the other for OP 2010}.
    It's been a slog, luckily I keep pretty good records on installed software, settings, and customizations. It's now running the way I want it and it boots in well under 1 minute vs it's previous 3 minutes or so. Another benefit is that Battery meter now reports a run time of just under 6 hours vs about 3 hours before the switch. YMMV.

    I approached this as a learning experience and that it was but for $90 and some time along with some aggravation it turns out to be well worth it so far, we'll see how long it works before problems start showing up.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  3. #3
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Also, see this thread for additional help:
    http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...top-SSD-tweaks

    Jerry

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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Jag,

    I'm just at the final stage of upgrading my Dell Inspiron 1564 to a 128GB Crucial M4 drive.
    It's been a bit of a process, check our the HW forum for my problems w/screws.
    I purchased Paragon HD 12 Suite and was very disappointed as I thought it contained the features of their alignment tool but not so. I finally wound up starting from scratch including Dual Booting it w/2 copies of Win-7 {one to run Office Pro 2003 and the other for OP 2010}.
    It's been a slog, luckily I keep pretty good records on installed software, settings, and customizations. It's now running the way I want it and it boots in well under 1 minute vs it's previous 3 minutes or so. Another benefit is that Battery meter now reports a run time of just under 6 hours vs about 3 hours before the switch. YMMV.

    I approached this as a learning experience and that it was but for $90 and some time along with some aggravation it turns out to be well worth it so far, we'll see how long it works before problems start showing up.
    Can get Paragon Alignment Tool Free from here.
    Well worth getting.
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

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    Super Moderator satrow's Avatar
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    Nice try Clive.
    Quote Originally Posted by curiousclive View Post
    Can get Paragon Alignment Tool Free from here.
    Well worth getting.
    Perhaps too late now:
    Posted by Sujay Ghosh 792 days ago
    <SNIP>
    Thatís all. So, get your free copy before 30th June.
    Only useful for a hard drive formatted with XP or earlier anyway.
    Disk performance may be slower than expected when you use multiple disks in Windows Server 2003, in Windows XP, and in Windows 2000
    ^ Title of the Microsoft page linked to in the supplied link ^.

  6. #6
    4 Star Lounger Jagworld's Avatar
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    Yea, I keep thinking faster- faster Vista lappie but ----------- it's alwas worked fine and i've seen much slower Vista systems SOOooo (for the time being) I'm leaving it be.



    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Jag,

    I'm just at the final stage of upgrading my Dell Inspiron 1564 to a 128GB Crucial M4 drive.
    It's been a bit of a process, check our the HW forum for my problems w/screws.
    I purchased Paragon HD 12 Suite and was very disappointed as I thought it contained the features of their alignment tool but not so. I finally wound up starting from scratch including Dual Booting it w/2 copies of Win-7 {one to run Office Pro 2003 and the other for OP 2010}.
    It's been a slog, luckily I keep pretty good records on installed software, settings, and customizations. It's now running the way I want it and it boots in well under 1 minute vs it's previous 3 minutes or so. Another benefit is that Battery meter now reports a run time of just under 6 hours vs about 3 hours before the switch. YMMV.

    I approached this as a learning experience and that it was but for $90 and some time along with some aggravation it turns out to be well worth it so far, we'll see how long it works before problems start showing up.

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by satrow View Post
    Nice try Clive.Perhaps too late now:

    Only useful for a hard drive formatted with XP or earlier anyway.^ Title of the Microsoft page linked to in the supplied link ^.

    Sorry didn't see the expiry date. but well worth paying for anyway.

    Works fine on my win7 home 64 bit computer, but I paid for it. (As said well worth it).
    Last edited by curiousclive; 2012-08-08 at 09:11.
    Clive

    All typing errors are my own work and subject to patents pending. Except errors by the spell checker. And that has its own patients.

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    OK, this is fairly easy. Buy an SSD which comes as a Laptop Upgrade Kit. I've seen several of these which only cost about $10 more than a bare drive. At home, we've used Kingston and Sandisk models with great success and zero problems.

    Before you install, check the manufacturer's website to see if they have any "firmware" updates for your exact model. Firmware is the software that controls the SSD and is very important. Follow the instructions on the website for updating your model's firmware. Many early SSDs were rushed to market with buggy firmware, much of which was associated with crashes and failures when waking up Windows from Sleep or Standby or Hibernate mode. Certain brands such as OCZ had excellent performance but became truly notorious for their buggy firmware, and they weren't the only ones ! Intel is widely known for high reliability and few problems. Kingston and others also enjoy good reliability by using different (non-buggy) firmware with few problems. Sandisk entered the market late using mature firmware and have built a strong reputation. In certain cases firmware updates may simply offer higher performance for your drive.

    Don't get caught up in specifications where one model is a bit faster than another. For most home users those moderate differences are irrelevant. The BIG performance difference is when you change from your existing regular hard drive to an SSD. It will feel like you got a brand new computer !!

    Intel SSDs can make use of the Intel ToolKit you can download which includes their SSD Optimiser. This is highly beneficial for Windows Vista because Vista does not support TRIM (which helps the SSD maintain its performance over time and reduce unnecessary erase cycles). Windows 7 supports TRIM but Vista does not !! There may be a couple of other brands which also offer SSD optimisation that will work with Vista.

    (If HP's support website has all the drivers your laptop needs to run the newer Windows 7 operating system then you may wish to consider upgrading to it. You should have 3GB of RAM memory or more for Windows 7. To use Windows 7, you should first download all Windows 7 drivers and store them on a USB flashdrive or burn them onto a CD. Then physically install the SSD into your laptop and change the SATA setting in BIOS to AHCI as described below, then insert the Windows 7 install disk and follow on-screen instructions to install Windows 7, followed by installing all those drivers you downloaded from HP support website. Then run the Windows Experience Index Performance Test.)

    Frankly, Vista with Service Pack 2 is a darn good operating system and should work great with an SSD using Optimiser software to keep it tuned up.

    The Kingston model we got had the laptop upgrade accessories with it. They provide a slim case into which you slide the new SSD. Then you connect it to your laptop using the provided USB cable. Following their instructions, use the provided cloning software on a CD disc to copy/clone your existing hard drive onto the new SSD. If you get, say, a 120GB SSD the cloning software will shrink your 160GB existing Windows partition down to fit the smaller space. If your total amount of data on the existing drive is more than 120GB then the software will insist that you move some of that data onto a spare location like a USB flashdrive so the remaining amount will fit on the new SSD. In other words, it helps you jump through any required hoops. You gotta love that !

    After cloning Windows onto your new SSD you are ready to physically install the new drive into the laptop. Somewhere you have or can download a user guide on replacing the hard drive in your laptop. Basically, you unplug the power cord, then remove the laptop battery, then unscrew the cover on the bottom of the laptop which conceals the hard drive. You gently wiggle the hard drive while pulling on it and it will unplug and slide out. Then you remove the SSD from the slim case the same way: pull/wiggle/slide it out. Insert the SSD into the slot in the bottom of the laptop pushing it gently but firmly home onto the connectors. Replace the cover, replace the battery, and plug in the power cord.

    Now, when you first power up the laptop you want to go into the laptop BIOS/Setup screen and change the SATA type to AHCI (or Enhanced on some models). Then choose SAVE & EXIT to reboot. The SSD will actually run very well on the old settings in the BIOS but it runs even faster when you select AHCI.

    After booting up go to Control Panel and click on Performance Information and Tools. A window opens with your Windows Experience Index score. Note the score for Hard Disk or Hard Drive. Then locate and click on Update My Score. Sit back and wait while Windows checks your SSD. When it's done you'll see a new higher score for Hard Disk. (The overall score will still be equal to the lowest individual category score). The other important benefit of running the test is that Windows now knows your hard drive is an SSD.

    There are couple of settings in Windows that help ensure long life for your new SSD by reducing unnecessary "writing" on the drive. Windows 7 makes the adjustments automatically if you do a totally fresh install of Windows (instead of cloning); not sure if Vista does. The two important settings are turning off Defragmentation (in Scheduled Tasks) and turning off Superfetch (in Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Services/Superfetch). By going to those two locations in Windows you can check if they are turned off and, if necessary, turn them off/disable them yourself. Also you can check to be sure that "TRIM" is working to keep the new drive tuned up in the background. Go here for simple instructions: http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_7-hardware/how-can-i-know-if-trim-command-is-working-on/80e600c0-d2fd-41b4-801b-650e05dac350

    There are several other things you can turn off that will further reduce "writing" to the SSD, but mostly they will only make a very small difference for home computer use. Try not to become fanatical here !!

    Regarding measured performance of your new drive, bear in mind that the best results will be obtained on a brand new drive right after you install Windows. Also remember that manufacturer's performance measurements are taken under ideal conditions on a powerful system. The free ATTO benchmark will show the highest numbers, but another free one Crystal DiskMark will give more real-world results for large, medium, and small file sizes. The new SSD will lose a little performance over a month or two of use; after that it should level out and be pretty steady from then on, so allow for that.

    Almost forgot - the actual available capacity of your new SSD will be notably less than the advertised capacity. For example, a 96GB model may have 89GB usable capacity and a 120GB model may have 111GB usable capacity. It's good to know this before you take the plunge!

    SATA III (6GB/sec.) and SATA II (3GB/sec.) models are available. The SATA III models are backwards compatible with SATA II ports/connections of your laptop so no problem there, but you'll get SATA II performance levels - still very fast compared to your regular hard drive !

    After you install the SSD you will have your old hard drive and the slim case that came with the SSD. Slide your old hard drive into that case. You can set it aside as a backup (in case of problems, you can reinstall the old hard drive and change the BIOS setting back to the old SATA setting). Or, you can reformat the old drive and you then have a 160GB external hard drive you can connect or carry in your pocket !

    Good luck and, hey, don't forget to fasten your seatbelt after you install that speedy SSD ......
    Last edited by starvinmarvin; 2012-08-12 at 13:56. Reason: Overcoming lack lack of TRIM support in Vista.

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    Medico (2012-08-12)

  10. #9
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Excellent post. I have one change though. In Win 7 Defrag is actually a Defrag/Optimize app. Starting in Win 7, it recognizes if you have an SSD drive and automatically does not defrag, but it does Optimize. jwitalka has a thread where he discusses this. Take a look.
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    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Ted, Defrag does not optimize SSDs in Win 7. That only applies to Win 8. Win 7 should automatically disable automatic Defrag for SSDs.

    Jerry

  12. #11
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    OK, I read the excerpt incorrectly. I thought it said beginning with Win 7. I stand corrected.

    So this could be another reason to use Win 8 when it's released, hmmm.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  13. #12
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    No problem. I've read articles too quickly and incorrectly myself in the past.
    It is a nice feature of Windows 8 but there are third party utilities that will do the same thing in windows 7.

    Jerry

  14. #13
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Hi All,

    "I'm back..."

    Well actually I haven't posted on this topic for a while because my LT was down with an ailing power brick, actually dead as the proveribal door nail! I just got the new one today {side note I got it for $26 w/free shipping from atbatt.com vs $85 + shipping from dell! I'll report back if it doesn't last}. So I was still not sure my partitions were properly aligned and then I found this article. What's interesting is the easy method to find if your partitions are aligned.
    To see if your partitions are aligned correctly, hit the Start menu and type in msinfo32. Enter Msinfo32 and go to Components > Storage > Disks. Look for your SSD on the list and find the "Partition Starting Offset" item. If this number is divisible by 4096 (that is, if dividing it by 4096 equals a whole number and not a decimal), your partition is correctly aligned. If not, you need to realign it.
    MSInfo32.PNG
    Sure beats the heck out of downloading software before you know if you need it or not. It works really well to. I gened up an Excel worksheet to do the calculations and I'm attaching it FWIW.
    AlignmentXLS.JPG
    Just enter your data in the yellow areas.

    Of course if your partitions are mis-aligned {as my data partition was, the pic above was after I fixed it} you have to go about getting it fixed. Here I ran into a problem. I created the GParted Live CD and ran it. However, I wouldn't let me do what the article said and messed up the data partition in the process. On reflection I think this may be due to no empty space available. Maybe I should have shrunk the partition first? Luckily, when I rebooted windows fixed the partition, which didn't matter a whole bunch since all the data is on my desktop and I only update the laptop when I'm going on a trip. I then gave the Paragon Disk Manager 12 Suite I purchased (mentioned in another post) a run at fixing the alignment. Here I was successful of course It was uncooperative also and I now have a 79 Mb of unused space but no biggie. All-in-all things are rosy in SSD land!
    Attached Files Attached Files
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    Excel is too easy. You should go old-skool and use a sliderule !!

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    The slide rule was the norm when I was in school. I recently got rid of my "good" slide rule. I found it sitting around and decided I was never going to use it again. I hope I don't rue that decision.
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