Clone hard disks to SSDs with free tools from Samsung and SanDisk

Replacing the hard disk drive (HDD) with a solid-state drive (SSD) can bring even old office PCs back to life. In general, you would migrate the existing Windows installation and the data from the HDD to the new drive. SSD manufacturers offer cloning tools for this task; however, the tools are somewhat limited.

Older office computers usually do not suffer from a lack of CPU or graphic performance, but rather the access to slow disk drives makes starting Windows and applications a test of patience. Switching to low-cost consumer SSDs significantly improves the situation even on PCs with SATA II.

Tools from Samsung und SanDisk ^

Samsung and SanDisk are among the largest manufacturers of SSDs. Both offer free tools to clone existing discs. These are OEM versions of known products only usable with the drives of the respective manufacturers.

Samsung uses the data migration software of the Korean company Clonix (download), while SanDisk provides the Western Digital (WD) Edition of Acronis True Image (download).

Samsung Data Migration ^

You can install the Samsung tool on any computer even if it does not contain a drive from the manufacturer. But after the installation, it will insist on the selection of a target disk from Samsung and will not accept other SSDs.

Start screen of Samsung Data Migration

Start screen of Samsung Data Migration

The actual cloning process is relatively simple in most cases. As a first step, you select the target drive; the software automatically picks the source disk. This is always the one on which Windows is installed.

Samsung Data Migration determines the source disk; you can only select the destination

Samsung Data Migration determines the source disk; you can only select the destination

Cloning of pure data drives is therefore not possible. In the next dialog, you just have to confirm the process, and the copying starts.

The situation becomes more complicated if the amount of data on the source medium is larger than the space on the target SSD. Then the tool automatically switches to the custom mode, which lets you select files you don't want to transfer.

Cloning an HDD with the custom mode

Cloning an HDD with the custom mode

As a filter, you can either specify the minimum file size or select certain file extensions. However, it limits you to the given extensions, so you can't exclude typical memory guzzlers like virtual hard disks (VHDs). Omitting a whole folder will also not be possible.

If the target drive is not big enough, you'll have to exclude some files from cloning

If the target drive is not big enough, you'll have to exclude some files from cloning

If you've achieved the necessary reduction of the data volume, the next step will be to decide on the target drive. After this, you'll get a summary of options selected, and then you start the cloning process.

Acronis True Image WD Edition ^

SanDisk provides a version of Acronis True Image 2016 for cloning disks on SSDs. It is limited to the manufacturer's hardware, but in addition to the cloning, it provides functions for partitioning and creating an emergency disc.

After installing the software, click on the tools symbol and select Clone Disk from the dialog below.

True Image function list, including the cloning operation

True Image function list, including the cloning operation

Finally, you can activate either the automatic or the manual cloning mode.

Setting the clone mode (manual or automatic)

Setting the clone mode (manual or automatic)

If you choose the latter option, you will later have to determine in an additional dialog how to adjust the volumes on the target medium.

Selecting the source hard disk for the cloning process

Selecting the source hard disk for the cloning process

Now you define the source and target drive in two consecutive dialogs.

Selecting the target hard disk for cloning

Selecting the target hard disk for cloning

If you've selected the manual clone mode, you will now have to decide on a method for moving. You can choose Proportional if you want to adjust the partitions to the size of the SSD; however, you can also take it as 1: 1 (As is) or manually adjust the settings.

Selecting how to adopt partitions to the target drive in True Image

Selecting how to adopt partitions to the target drive in True Image

If you chose the automatic method, True Image selects the Proportional option without confirmation and skips this dialog.

You see a summary of all selected drives before starting the clone process

You see a summary of all selected drives before starting the clone process

The summary of the selected source and target disks appears after you have done this step, and after confirmation, the computer restarts. It will then boot to the Acronis recovery environment and begin cloning the HDD.

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1 Comment
  1. Hi Wolfgang. Thanks for your article on SSD cloning software.

    We started buying consumer SSDs from Samsung and others last year, and we love the performance improvement. However, we needed to clone our system drives to the SSDs, and that's where the bundled software let us down.

    The cloning software from Samsung didn't work for us, and Acronis didn't help much either. Someone suggested Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition, and it worked perfectly, so we've been using it ever since.

    It works with any manufacturer's SSDs, and it's free. Maybe you can review the free Macrium product in a later followup article.

     

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