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Bruce (a.k.a. brian747)

SSD boot drive swap (a cautionary tale)

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You know how something seems to be a good idea at the time? This was one of those times. I am therefore posting this for the benefit of anyone who, like me, hadn't ever tried swapping an SSD boot drive before.

 

The background: for quite a while now I have had a 240Gb Kingston SSD as my boot drive. It contains just Windoze 7 Ultimate and a subset of my FSX stuff (with the overflow linked at the O/S level to another almost full 256Gb SSD). The rest (i.e. the boring stuff that doesn't need sparkling performance) of my installation is spread over three ordinary HDDs.

 

But I have now reached the point where my dual SSD combination couldn't accommodate my ever-expanding FSX installation any longer. Furthermore, the Kingston drive was probably state of the art in its day, but that day was some generations of SSD progress ago. And now I was out of space, so out of necessity it was time to upgrade. I know this for certain because as an experiment I tried migrating some of my mesh directories onto one of the HDDs, and saw an immediate and marked increase in my FSX start-up times as a result. OK, I get the message, it's back to SSD-only for the FSX stuff.

 

The Kingston (boot) drive being the oldest, clearly I should replace that one. So I acquired a 512Gb Samsung Evo 840 Pro, and set about the delicate task of cloning my existing Kingston drive onto it.

 

At this point, I can hear you sniffing and pointing out that I needn't make a big deal out of this because there are many software apps that claim to clone an SSD drive automagically - and you're absolutely right, there are. The trouble is, that none of the ones I tried produced a clone that would boot up in place of my old Kingston unit when I swapped them over. I tried four different ones, prior to getting fed up with spending over two hours each time producing an SSD that failed to boot.

 

In the end I managed to get a bootable new SSD by (a) using one of the varieties of clone software that worked by rebooting into DOS mode while it did its thing (anything that stayed in Windoze mode seemed to get into a punch-up with my antivirus at some point along the way); and (b) having produced an unbootable brick, then taking the additional step of booting from a Windows disk and taking the option to repair start-up problems.

 

So now it *would* boot, and initially everything looked good. So was my FSX installation totally working? Sadly, it was not. Suffice it to say that some paranoid add-on developers clearly key their software to the disk that it's resident upon, with the result that when it finds that the disk has changed, it declines to work (and, in the case of EZCA,/EZDOK/whatever-they're-calling-it-this-week it just silently declines to work, which I reckon is a bit anti-social),

 

The bottom line is that, depending on what FSX-related, and perhaps other, software you have installed, you may also face a number of uninstall/reinstall cycles after your disk swap. OK, no big deal I suppose (providing you remembered to make a note of your install serial numbers somewhere), but it's just one more irritating thing that you need to factor in.

 

It's all been good clean fun, I suppose. But I now can't help wondering how many more surprises I'm going to encounter in the next few days as my new disk beds itself in.   :whis:

 

Anyway, I hope this saga might be helpful to someone, somewhere along the way.    :)

 

Cheers,

 

Bruce

a.k.a. etc...

 

 

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Hi Brian!

Thanks for sharing your experiences, I had no idea that programs would read your drive ID, CPU ID I can understand.

I feel that some upgrading will be in order once I am back from the USA so will do plenty of studying before hand (expect mail!)

Cheers..

Joe

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Sorry for the turn of events, but I have to ask.  Why did you not make a full backup of the drive onto another drive, like an old HDD,  Change the SSD then put the back up onto the new drive..  ?????

 

Or am I barking up the wrong tree?  :hat: Call it an age thing:  :old-git:

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since windows 7 MS been tracking hardware changes as part of their reactivation copy protection

several upgrades constitutes reactivation of your license

one of them being hard drive or CPU or motherboard

 

you must copy the SID and the drive signature when replacing your drive

(this is a different approach then a normal data backup; as you don’t lose your SID and drive signature)

this is signed during your activation and correlates to the hardware installed on your system

one software i been using for over a decade now and i trust 100%

if needed it will clone your drive sig and SID and move you to a new drive with zero issues,

it’s called Acronis True Image http://www.acronis.com

 

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Hi folks!

 

And many thanks for your responses.    :)

 

@Joe

 

No problem — just let me know. (And have a good trip!)   ^_^

 

@James

 

In fact I use Acronis True Image to make an image backup of both SSDs (and other things) on a weekly basis, which is one layer of my backup strategy. But I had (wrongly, it appears) assumed that software which claims to "clone" my drive would also clone whatever else was necessary, including the drive ID information.   <sigh>   I had thought of Acronis (and have used it for that purpose in the past for replacing HDDs), but simple-mindedly assumed that the specialised cloning software would be better for this specific task. Hey ho....     :P

 

@Chris

 

There was no problem with Windows requiring any form of reactivation whatsoever, the problems were just (a) a non-bootable "clone", and (having solved that by using the Windows disk) (b) subsequent software failures. As I said to James, Acronis was an option which I discarded on account of the fact that the cloning software was newer and (I therefore thought) probably better for SSDs.  <sigh>  So thank you — next time I will revert to using Acronis again. (As a former consultant Oracle DBA I thought I had left such things as SIDs and ACLs behind me — but it just shows you never know.... Although in Oracle an SID refers to a System Identifier, but the concept is not dissimilar).

 

As I said, I can only hope that my struggles save someone some time, sometime.    :)

 

Cheers,

 

Bruce &c.

 

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since windows 7 MS been tracking hardware changes as part of their reactivation copy protection

several upgrades constitutes reactivation of your license

one of them being hard drive or CPU or motherboard

 

I find this sort of thing annoys me intensely.  I didn't know this until the above post.

 

You buy a copy of Windows 7 and if you have several hardware failures and upgrades over a period (could be a matter of months) and that's it for your copy? Daylight robbery.

 

Someone on a budget home building a PC stands a good chance of this happening if they want to use the operating system from their old PC. Fine if you can afford it, bad if your not so wealthy.

 

Robbing the poor if you ask me. So typical of so many companies today. 

 

In my job I have designed large systems for many applications in the Electricity, Space, and Defence industries , some of which will run for many years, perhaps decades.  There would be hell to pay if a hardware change caused the systems to stop working, so why should the home computing market suffer this?  Sure there are terms and conditions, but there are with all software contracts. However Joe public can't afford a legal team to accompany him every time he pops down to PC World to make a purchase.  

 

:twocents:

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don’t get me started, it’s just the wave of the future

in the good old days a car manufacture would show you how he puts his car through hell and it stand it all; you bought quality!

 

today every new hotshot thinks he's going to reinvent the wheel; let’s make a weak spot so we can make more money this way on planned maintenance,

we are a business aren’t we? our goal is to generate cash flow, get as much cash that we can from our loyal customers;

so we end up with generation of smarty pants creating failures in advance in our life’s to benefit them financially

 

why are you going too far; apple expires their cellphones every few years; if you bought iPhone 5-6 years ago for 300-600$

its unusable now; programmers are forced by apple to depreciate your phone through software blocks

 

so many of these are out there; all lost the value and quality in their products/services and are just after the cash flow and their glorified title

 

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You have me worried now Chris, can I expect my Night Environment  software to stop working any time soon?

 

We all understand systems will become obsolete in time, is it right that a manufacture should deliberately speed up that process to make more money from their customers? Their greed wants to make money not only from the next improved version of their product, but sooner by building in in life obsolescence. Personally I don't like being taken for a fool, and as no industry can see into the future, is it worth the risk in pissing off the customer base.  I don't think so:

 

IBM thought they had the PC market sewn up, they aren't even in the market now. Apple thought they had the tablet market cornered, but look at the rise of Android. these are but two good examples. Sony have made the same mistake with Betamax, the list is so long. People like quality, people like reliability, people like to trust the companies they deal with. You may make money in the short term if you snub these truths, but it wont last, your star will fade and the market will pass you by.

 

We seem to live in a short term world at the moment.  One day someone will wake up to the fact that building a solid reputation and a solid product will make you a lot of money and to continue to do so over a very long time. 

 

 

 

 

:Hijacked:    Sorry .... rant over.

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