Around February of last year I built a gaming rig. If you don’t know, the first rule of building a PC should be to determine what you’re using it for and come up with a budget from that. If you don’t know that, you can go crazy and spend way more than what your needs dictate.
My budget was around $1,200-1,300. I spent decent money on the CPU, graphics card, motherboard, and memory. That forced me to cheap out a bit on the case, hard drives, and everything else.
(The TL;DR: had problems cloning SSDs and getting it to run. Ended up fixing it with an Intel storage driver.)
I ended up settling on a 120GB SSD to put Windows on and a 2TB spinning HDD for everything else. “Only Windows gets put on the SSD. I won’t need a lot of space,” I justified to myself.
But a year later I found myself running out of space on the SSD. Some programs insisted on being installed on it without giving me a choice – *cough* Google Chrome *cough*. And I don’t know what else Windows is doing, but I did run out of space.
The PC was still running great, but some apps started to complain and my personal OCD couldn’t stand the limitation, so I decided to upgrade.
The upgrade and problems
I decided on a 256GB SSD from Crucial. I also decided on cloning and swapping the drives rather than reinstalling Windows, reinstalling stuff, retweaking settings, all of that garbage. Besides the time spent, my OCD wouldn’t allow it.
For the most part I followed this guide from howtogeek.com.
Right away, I started having problems. The guide’s suggested cloning software, Macrium Reflect, threw errors when trying to write to the new drive. After trying a couple of other tools, I ended up successfully cloning the thing with Acronis.
After cloning came the swapping, fired it up and immediately the “Windows needs repair” screen. Damn. I ended using the recovery tool from Macrium. Here I had more problems which involved changing BIOS settings to get it to pick up the recovery drive.
With the recovery utility, I updated the boot stuffs and Windows finally started! I was able to log in now, but Windows kept stuttering and eventually froze. Shit.
Back to the drawing board. In my research I found that it might be TRIM support (it wasn’t) or the drive being aligned (also not the issue). I began to think I had a bad drive or I needed to reinstall Windows after, which is what I wanted to avoid in the first place.
I even tried tinkering with some more BIOS settings, but no dice.
The fix (I think?)
Later research pointed me to my motherboard’s support site. First, I upgraded the BIOS and then installed some of Intel’s storage drivers/software. I re-cloned and re-swapped and tried again. This time the recovery utility showed the boot partition on the C drive where previously it showed it on a different drive. Interesting, I guess.
I fired up Windows again, logged in, and waited for it to freeze again. But it never happened! Everything is running fine so far and I’m writing this post on the PC with the new SSD.
So, I don’t know if it was the Intel storage drivers or the fact that the cloning / utility tool worked better this time. Now I would use this PC for its main purpose, gaming, but I’ve spent too time on the upgrade and now it’s just time for bed again.