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Windows 7: Laptop drives/ram/possibly OS upgrade advice needed please

06 Sep 2013   #1
b52

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 
Laptop drives/ram/possibly OS upgrade advice needed please

My Dell Inspiron 17R N7010 is getting a bit tired now although its clean and tidy bugs wise and runs fine if a little slowly for me. A friend said it can help a lot if you put more RAM in and as big a hard drive that it can sensibly take.

So I did a little research and splurged out on 2 x 4GB RAM cards and a 750GB hybrid SSD/SATA drive. The tools I have for the purpose of changing things over are (not all may be relevant, this is part of why I ask) are HD Clone 4.3 Standard Edition, Belarc (so I have all of my software keys) and MiniTool Partition wizard (probably unnecessary), plus a very cheap external 2.5 disc enclosure. Not sure what else I might need or what built in Windows software would also be useful.

Im on Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit, although I did buy Windows 7 Ultimate disc and COA on Ebay recently (OEM) thinking of using it on a refurbed but as yet unused desktop I bought a year or so ago on Amazon, which also has Windows Home Premium 64 bit on it at the moment. So my questions are twofold really the Windows Ultimate wont get used to its full capability on the desktop so I wondered if in making the laptop upgrade I could also change the Windows edition at the same time?

I am not technical so any help would need to be in very plain English jargon goes straight over my head.

First off, I dont want to lose use of the laptop for any longer than a day or so at most, so is it possible to clone its hard drive to the hybrid whilst still using it, then do a final backup and system repair disc just before the changeover. Im thinking that if it is possible to continue using the laptop whilst cloning (HD Clone is slow but its simple to use and Im familiar with it), I could then just swap over the drive, change the RAM and then apply that final backup to bring everything up to date on the new drive. System repair disc being there as a precaution hopefully.

Help and advice will be very much appreciated at the moment I dont know if what my ideal solution as described is even practical/possible.

System info: (This is from Belarc, I couldn't get the system info from the bit of software provided here to copy into this thread, sorry). If it's insufficient, tell me what else is needed please.

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) Service Pack 1 (build 7601)
Install Language: English (United States)
System Locale: English (United Kingdom)
Installed: 07/11/2010 12:16:49
Processor a
2.40 gigahertz Intel Core i3 M 370
64 kilobyte primary memory cache
256 kilobyte secondary memory cache
3072 kilobyte tertiary memory cache
64-bit ready
Multi-core (2 total)
Hyper-threaded (4 total)



My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

06 Sep 2013   #2

Winndows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by b52 View Post
My Dell Inspiron 17R N7010 is getting a bit tired now although its clean and tidy bugs wise and runs fine if a little slowly for me. A friend said it can help a lot if you put more RAM in and as big a hard drive that it can sensibly take.

So I did a little research and splurged out on 2 x 4GB RAM cards and a 750GB hybrid SSD/SATA drive. The tools I have for the purpose of changing things over are (not all may be relevant, this is part of why I ask) are HD Clone 4.3 Standard Edition, Belarc (so I have all of my software keys) and MiniTool Partition wizard (probably unnecessary), plus a very cheap external 2.5 disc enclosure. Not sure what else I might need or what built in Windows software would also be useful.

Im on Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64bit, although I did buy Windows 7 Ultimate disc and COA on Ebay recently (OEM) thinking of using it on a refurbed but as yet unused desktop I bought a year or so ago on Amazon, which also has Windows Home Premium 64 bit on it at the moment. So my questions are twofold really the Windows Ultimate wont get used to its full capability on the desktop so I wondered if in making the laptop upgrade I could also change the Windows edition at the same time?

I am not technical so any help would need to be in very plain English jargon goes straight over my head.

First off, I dont want to lose use of the laptop for any longer than a day or so at most, so is it possible to clone its hard drive to the hybrid whilst still using it, then do a final backup and system repair disc just before the changeover. Im thinking that if it is possible to continue using the laptop whilst cloning (HD Clone is slow but its simple to use and Im familiar with it), I could then just swap over the drive, change the RAM and then apply that final backup to bring everything up to date on the new drive. System repair disc being there as a precaution hopefully.

Help and advice will be very much appreciated at the moment I dont know if what my ideal solution as described is even practical/possible.

System info: (This is from Belarc, I couldn't get the system info from the bit of software provided here to copy into this thread, sorry). If it's insufficient, tell me what else is needed please.

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64) Service Pack 1 (build 7601)
Install Language: English (United States)
System Locale: English (United Kingdom)
Installed: 07/11/2010 12:16:49
Processor a
2.40 gigahertz Intel Core i3 M 370
64 kilobyte primary memory cache
256 kilobyte secondary memory cache
3072 kilobyte tertiary memory cache
64-bit ready
Multi-core (2 total)
Hyper-threaded (4 total)
Hi b52,

First of all you should check the cost of getting these upgrades on the system 2*4 Gb ram and 750 GB SSD that should be expensive.

Also, how old is the laptop as you do not need to spend too much on upgrade on a old system as you might get the newer models at a cheaper price.

Secondly for installing RAM you can just install them with the new or the old harddrive they should work perfectly on the system.

If you upgrade the old harddrive then you would need to transfer the complete operating system to the new harddrive.

Here is what I would if I am in your pair of shoes. Make my primary partition C drive for 100 Gb. Which should consist the windows, drivers and all softwares. Rest of the space for data storage on a different partition like D drive.

Once it is setup then take a complete backup of C drive partion(clone image). Install the new drive and load the clone image.

Once you have the windows,driver and software loaded on the new drive. Then, use the old harddrive as external drive with help of a caddy. Then you can transfer the data to the new drive.

Hope it makes sense and was easy to understand for you. If you have any further queries, please feel free to contact us.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2013   #3
b52

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Thank you Sandeep for your speedy response; I only had the briefest time to view it yesterday evening so am not so prompt in responding myself, sorry. However, your suggestions are (at least to me) not practical - and in respect of partitioning, frightening!

Drive cost 82.00: Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB,Internal,7200 RPM,2.5" (ST750LX003) Hybrid hard drive.
2 x 4GB RAM cost 43.00: 8GB Crucial Matched Pair (2 x 4GB) DDR3 PC3-12800 (CT51264BF160B).
Other (HD Clone, 2.5 inch disc enclosure) costs total was maximum 45.00.
Total: 170.00 I dont think Id get a new laptop for this kind of price.

The very reason I want to upgrade the laptop itself is that I like it. In the (nearly) three years Ive had it performance has been excellent, its never crashed in spite of the frequent heavy use and Ive never had a major problem with it.

I read some poor reviews as to its overall performance but all I can say is that I must have been lucky and got the perfect one its probably also relevant to say that Im not a gamer. The IT men where I worked at the time also gave it a tweak or two plus put some useful software on it which I believe must have contributed to its longevity, not that I think 3 years is old even in todays lightning speed terms.

Im retired now, and therefore need to keep an eye on expenses so the ram and drive upgrade seems like the best option to me. As you say, the RAM change is simple its the main drive and potential os change that I need help and advice on.

Your suggestion to partition the hard drive makes me nervous - as I said Im not technical, in fact Im fairly good at doing things the wrong way the first time and even the second time on occasions. I can easily see my wiping part or all of the drive, which would be very problematic. But it did give me an idea would cloning the just the recovery partition from the laptop to the new hybrid drive do the same job?

HD Clone does this quite straightforwardly. Then swap the drives and back up the new hybrid drive from a normal back up (which in my case is done on a 500GB external usb drive). I do a full normal Windows backup on a daily basis anyway (had to do a restore just once and lost a weeks worth of input, never again). A system repair disc is also done anytime I get updates or change/add/remove software (which is fairly often)

Also I still need some advice regarding the two main issues:

1) Can I use the laptop as normal whilst cloning its drive, whether that be the C: drive or the recovery partition?
2) Can I upgrade the operating system to Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit at some point during the changeover if so when and in what order should each operation be done?

It also occurs to me that I may lose the .NET framework, or will that carry over?

Thank you, you gave me more things to think about feasible or not. Looking forward to further contributions from both you and other members, I really want to get this solved.

And I just noticed that my basic system info has appeared in the bottom left hand corner, good!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


09 Sep 2013   #4

Winndows 7 32 bit
 
 

Hi b52,

Thanks for your reply. I must say that you are getting a great price on the upgrade and you should go ahead with the same.

You can upgrade the RAM on the system by following the manual link here:

Manual

And regarding upgrading the harddrive I understand your fear about migrating the data. To tell you honestly I have not used HD clone so would not have alot of information regarding the same.

Maybe some other user with more information regarding this software would be able to answer for you. I use ease us backup which you can download here:

EaseUS Todo Backup Free - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

You can make a complete image backup of the system on external drive. And then make that external harddrive bootable so you can boot from it.

Once you booted from the external harddrive then you can load the backed up image on the new harddrive.

Check these links for more information:

Free Windows backup software with funtion to backup drive and partition helps you backup system in case of system crash.

Restore image to survive system crash with EaseUS Todo Backup

I understand I might have not answered all your questions. However, I have tried to provide you an alternative which is tested and worked for me.

There are many users who would have information regarding this software would be able to post more advices.

If you have any further queries, please feel free to contact us.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2013   #5
b52

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SandeepP View Post
Hi b52,

And regarding upgrading the harddrive I understand your fear about migrating the data. To tell you honestly I have not used HD clone so would not have alot of information regarding the same.

Maybe some other user with more information regarding this software would be able to answer for you. I use ease us backup which you can download here:

EaseUS Todo Backup Free - Free download and software reviews - CNET Download.com

You can make a complete image backup of the system on external drive. And then make that external harddrive bootable so you can boot from it.

Once you booted from the external harddrive then you can load the backed up image on the new harddrive.

Check these links for more information:

Free Windows backup software with funtion to backup drive and partition helps you backup system in case of system crash.

I understand I might have not answered all your questions. However, I have tried to provide you an alternative which is tested and worked for me.

There are many users who would have information regarding this software would be able to post more advices.

If you have any further queries, please feel free to contact us.
That's very informative Sandeep, thank you - and the manual is extremely useful. I do have one but it's not as detailed, although I must admit that I've also found a few Youtube videos to be visually helpful!

Is there any reason why I can't clone direct to the new replacement drive?

I have used HD Clone before on a 2 TB external drive so I know where I am with it and that I can trust it, because the loss of that data would have been a disaster.

Now I just need to know if I can clone whilst the existing drive is being used, and whether I can get the Windows OS upgrade done at some point during the process also (or even afterwards, any help appreciated).

Once again, thank you for continuing to assist however you are able.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Sep 2013   #6

Winndows 7 32 bit
 
 

Hi b52,

Thanks for your reply. Its great to hear that you have found the link useful.

You can clone the harddrive directly as well. Would you be connecting the new harddrive as external drive.

Also, let me know what is the size of the harddrive which is installed on the currently. And what are the partitions you have on the system.

As a suggestion before attempting cloning it would be better you have a backup of important data on a different harddrive so you don't lose anything in the process.

I have also asked couple of other contributors as well to check this post and advice.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Sep 2013   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

All versions of Windows 7 are the exact same OS but with a few hidden expensive features unlocked in the higher versions. So that isn't germane to your problem.

Make sure you have a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7. Note how drivers are handled, the tools and methods which work best for Windows 7. Read also the Note for Dell Owners at the end. Ask back any questions.

Windows 7 will never hang or bog and is instantaneous on adequate hardware with that perfect install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Sep 2013   #8
b52

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Info for Sandeep first:

I would have the new drive in a disc enclosure connected to the laptop via usb2.

Regarding backups, as posted previously I already do a full Windows backup (including system image) daily to a 500 GB external hard drive. I also create new System repair disc (using CD-RW to save on discs!) whenever updates are installed or I change software. One or the other of these is fairly frequent so the last one done was yesterday.

Re disc usage and partitions, they say a picture is worth a thousand words so here goes:

Name:  2013-09-10 Disc space used.jpg
Views: 30
Size:  64.4 KB

Laptop drives/ram/possibly OS upgrade advice needed please-2013-09-10-laptop-partitions1.jpg

Hope these are useful.

Happy news received late yesterday from HD Clone (Miray), which may be of interest to anyone cloning an active (i.e. in use) drive (my mail is first, then their reply):

Dear Miray Customer Service

I have purchased a new larger hybrid SSD/SATA drive for my laptop and am planning to clone the laptop drive to it as soon as possible with HD Clone the laptop drive is getting old and showing signs of wearing out and I need a bigger drive for the future.

It is probably a stupid question, but is there a way I can continue to use the laptop during the cloning process, then swapping the drives and updating the newly installed hybrid drive with a final backup of the old drive created after the clone process is complete?

I would appreciate any advice about this and any other possible problems with cloning an active drive. I do not want to lose use of the laptop for any length of time just for information the used space on it is 103.00 GB (of a total of 500 GB) and the new hybrid drive has 750.00 GB capacity. I will also be putting more RAM memory in to optimise performance.

If you require any further information please ask, and thank you in advance for any help and advice you can give I have HD Clone standard version.

Kind regards,


Answer from HD Clone (Miray) 09/09/13

With HDClone you can do a clone of the current system, it will have all the data from the original disk at the time you started the cloning, i.e. if you start the cloning at a time A, and delete some files later on, or create/modify files after the start, the clone will have only the files from the time A. This is possible because it takes a snapshot at the beginning of the clone process.

If you work on some files, you can then copy them over to the new system after the clone has finished. If you don't know what files have changed in the time in between, it's more complicated, as HDClone won't be able to help you with that. You probably need a tool that looks at all the last-modified-dates of the files and copies those who are newer than a special timestamp.

If you have 100GB of data to copy, and clone them over a (slow) USB connection, it will take about 1 hours (if you're using HDClone Standard or Higher). Basic or Free Edition will copy the total 500GB, which takes of course 5 as long.


Looks like the cloning process can be done while still using the drive, and is reasonably painless in terms of time anyway as I have HDClone Standard version.


gregrocker - I will look at your link before posting back, thank you.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Sep 2013   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Home Premium 64bit Ver 6.1.7600 Build 7601 - SP1
 
 

Hi b52, welcome to 7f!

Some areas of concern that I notice.

You may have to reconsider this transfer if you are thinking of using USB to do it. These instructions state that you have to physically install the new drive as a secondary drive in your system. How can I copy / transfer all the data from my old boot drive to my new Seagate drive?

This begs these questions:
  • Does the ribbon cable for the factory hard disk drive (HDD) on your Laptop have a connector for a secondary drive?
  • Do you have enough room in your laptop to do this? If not, is there enough slack in the ribbon cable to position the new drive outside of the laptop?
  • After the transfer is complete it may be possible to then replace the old drive with the new one and move one of the drives to your enclosure, but then you should use either an ethernet cable or USB3 for that, if you have USB2 you will suffer poor data transfer rates.
  • SandeepP or gregrocker may be able to answer these questions.

There can be pro and cons to cloning to a new hybrid-drive: How to clone old drive to Momentus XT 750G Hybrid? - Seagate Community Forums Your HDClone program may not work and you may have to use the Seagate | Disk Wizard and it seems in that link there are different opinions whether or not to image or clone.


How confident are you about the seller of that Ultimate disk?
Quote:
although I did buy Windows 7 Ultimate disc and COA on Ebay recently (OEM)
Stating that it is OEM you may or may not be able to use it, it depends on certain requirements.
Quote:
on a refurbed but as yet unused desktop I bought a year or so ago on Amazon,
Our BSOD Help and Support - Windows 7 Help Forums has frequent problems with counterfeit Operating Systems from the site you purchased your Ultimate version. I wish there was a way to run a MGADiag before you use it otherwise you may start to have BSOD problems with that unused desktop.

More:
OEM Licensing FAQ | Microsoft

how to tell fake windows 7 ultimate from the real thing without openin
From link directly above:
eBay View About Me for msnetsafeteam

Windows 7 Ultimate, what to ask before you buy or bid. | eBay



My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Sep 2013   #10
b52

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Hi Anak

You have me worried. There is no room for a second drive in the laptop nor do I want to open it up to examine the ribbon cable - things are complicated enough as it is.

What do you mean by
Quote:
poor data transfer rates
? I know USB2 is slow but it gets there - that's one of the reasons why I wanted to know if I could still use the hard drive (laptop) whilst the cloning was being done. HD Clone's response to my email to them (see a couple of posts down) appears to confirm this, and does not make any reference to difficulties in cloning to external source.

Your comments about the validity of the Windows 7 Ultimate disc also make me nervous - I know it probably doesn't help but here are jpegs of the disc pack and reverse side (I just scanned them myself):



I trust that these will remain confidential! The label across the face of the disc has been stuck to the outside of the sleeve, and the label on the reverse is unbroken - any thoughts?

I had forgotten that it is specific for Dell, if that matters. The desktop is an Acer.

If the disc itself is counterfeit, could I use the license key with a bootable download of Windows 7 Ultimate (which I also have, from Digital River)? If it's relevant, I also know there is a way to remove existing id's with Eicfg Removal Utility. I've been trying to cover all contingencies...

I'd be very interested to get your thoughts on the above, thank you!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Laptop drives/ram/possibly OS upgrade advice needed please




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