I have read numerous threads about this topic; however, none of them seem to answer exactly what I would like to accomplish. I would greatly appreciate any help or suggestions, but please know that I am not nearly as computer savvy as most of the people on this site. The ďkeep it simple, stupidĒ approach is what I need for this to work.
I have a new Dell XPS 8300 desktop still in the box with a HDD pre-installed with Windows 7. Since it was not a customization option at the time of purchase, I would like to install a new SSD to run Windows 7 and a few important programs that I will load in the future. There are currently no programs or data on the existing HDD that I need to transfer other than the OS and the drivers
that I need to make the computer work. I would like to avoid messing with cloning and adjusting partitions if possible. Eventually, I would like to use the HDD as a secondary drive where I can load non-essential programs and store larger data files.
Based on what I have read on numerous threads, the following is the procedure I intend to use. Please let me know if I am missing any steps or if I am doing something that will not achieve the desired result.
1) Turn on computer with the HDD installed as-is and the SSD still sitting in the box.
2) Use Dellís DataSafe Local BackUp to create a System Recovery Media on either a DVD or 8+ GB USB key.
3) For a belt and suspenders backup, next I was going to use the Windows 7 feature to create a system image found at Control Panel -> System and Security -> Backup and Restore. I am very conservative and would like the option to start over if I mess anything up. I was planning on saving the system image to the existing HDD and to a either a DVD or external hard drive. I am not exactly sure how large this file is and where I should store it.
4) Restart computer and enter BIOS, and change the SATA mode to AHCI. I assume this should be done before installing the SSD. Power down computer immediately after.
5) After powering down, I was going to unplug the HDD power cable and unplug the connection of the HDD to SATA Port 0.
6) Install new SSD in a free bay and connect power and cable to SATA Port 0.
7) Restart computer with System Recovery Media (from Step 2) already in either the DVD drive or plugged into a USB port. I assume the computer will automatically boot from the System Recovery Media, but I realize I may need to enter BIOS (or some other system menu) to tell it to load and install Windows 7 from the System Recovery Media. Can anyone fill in the blank here so I know what to expect?
8) After Windows 7 has been installed, will the System Recovery Disk automatically install all of the device drivers that originally were installed on the systemís HDD? I have a device drivers disk from Dell but was hoping this would be accomplished by the System Recovery Disk?
9) I am assuming after Step 8, that the computer will function and look the same way as it did at Step 1. This may be a little naÔve. Is there anything I am missing?
10) I was hoping that Windows 7 would do a good job of automatically adjusting the system for the SSD, so I was going to not fool with the tweaks that everyone is recommending. Are there any tweaks or setting adjustments that I have to make to allow the SSD to function properly? Optimum performance is great, but I donít want to risk standard performance by messing things up after I have come this far.
11) After verifying that everything is working properly, I was going to power down and then connect the existing HDD to power and an available SATA port.
12) Reboot the system, and magically the HDD will be listed as an E drive that I can store data files and load non-essential programs on. I actually assume it is not this easy. Do I need to uninstall Windows 7 on the HDD or delete the partition and reformat? The less the better, but I donít want to create problems with conflicting drives. If I can preserve the original factory image on the HDD, I would be very happy because it would be another safeguard if things ever go wrong. Please let me know what I am missing here.
I apologize for the long post. I feel there are numerous people out there that would like to accomplish this same task, but few of us are confident to take the leap. I greatly appreciate any suggestions or comments. Thank you!