Rickh925, and others,
I was thinking of cloning the OS partition after installing the mSATA drive. I thought
this would be easier, and would keep a backup system on the HDD. Do you see flaws in
this plan, or gotchas that I'm not realizing?
1) Use stock system set up by Lenovo on HDD
2) Create separate system and data partitions on the HDD (with PartitionMagic)
3) Add programs, etc. - set the system up as desired
4) install mSATA drive
5) Clone the system partition(s) to the mSATA drive (this is the step I'm not sure about)
- can this be done? I believe someone did this using Acronis software
6) Either erase, or simply hide the system partition(s) that are on the HDD. Hiding it would
keep it in reserve in case the mSATA dies for some reason.
RSVP, and thanks in advance.
I tried a similar approach (on my W520) and it can be done, even though I ended up differently. Here are some of my experiences, maybe they are helpful.
- When I tried to reduce the size of the Windows partition on the HDD with the Windows 7 Disk Management tool (which can reclaim unused space from a partition), it only allowed me to reduce the size down to about 200 GB (of a 500 GB HDD), even though I only had about 40 GB used. It turned out that in the middle of the disk there were some system files (MFT?) that couldn't be moved with the internal tools. Maybe PartitionMagic can move this, I don't know.
- As some others already described in other threads, I put in the mSata SSD, took out the HDD, and then used the (previously created) Factory Restore Disks to restore the factory image on the SSD. I did that because I assumed it would take care of SSD alignment and system partitions (which it did). Not all partition cloning software seems to take that into consideration.
- When I put the HDD back in afterwards, I could boot into either disk with the F12 boot menu. I wasn't quite sure how the system assigned drive letters depending on how I booted. I didn't spend a lot of time with trying to assign fixed letters. I would have wanted to have the booted Windows 7 drive always as C and the data partition on the HDD always as D. It didn't do that. Maybe it can be done with further manipulation.
- The original HDD and the SDD after restore have a 1 GB SYSTEM_DRV partition at the beginning, which is obviously needed on the boot drive. The one on the non-boot drive showed up with a drive letter.
- Maybe partitions can be hidden with some other software or boot manager, but I didn't want to install any of them.
- After having both drives installed, I could copy the larger Win7 partition from the HDD to the Win7 partition on the SDD with a free tool called Mini Tool Partition Wizard.
- When I tried to use the same tool to make the HDD into one large data disk without a Win7 boot partition, it messed up the system on both drives. But that can be done by using the boot CD version of this tool or with some other partition tool.
- I ended up loading the factory image again onto the SSD, making the HDD into a non-bootable data disk (by using the previously mentioned tool from a boot CD), and building my system on the SSD. I'll take a couple of backups after I'm pretty much done building it and could restore those to the HDD if anything should happen with the SSD.
- One consequence that I couldn't undo was that now the blue ThinkVantage button doesn't start setup any more when I press it at boot time, instead it loads a recovery menu. Not a big issue for me, as I can still enter setup with F1.
- In general I am happy with my setup now.
- One more thing: first I tried to back up my HDD with Lenove Rescue & Recovery and restore it onto the SSD. That did not work. R&R doesn't seem to be able to restore to a smaller disk size. It stopped with an error that there was not enough space on the disk. As mentioned above, the HDD had some system files in the middle of the disk. Another consequence of using R&R was that Win7 had the SSD offline when I had both disks in because of duplicate drive id (or something similar). So it seems R&R clones this drive id.