Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Essential Windows Tools For Seamlessly Migrating To A Solid State Drive

Switch from a standard platter drive to a solid state drive can have a drastic reduction on loading speed. It is definitely the preferable options for loading large complex applications or loading data intensive games. However, with the prices of SSDs being so high compared to HDDs, it's not possible to find solid state drives with storage sizes like1tb without spending a fortune. The best option is to consider a hybrid approach and to place your most and critical applications on the SSD, and to keep a high capacity HDD for use for storing and backing up media and data.

In the past, the only real way to do this without reinstalling your operating system was to clone the older HDD and then restore the image onto the new SDD. This would require reducing the size of the original drive to fit onto the smaller SDD, and to engage in a fairly lengthy and complicated process of cloning and restoring. However, there are some free tools that you can use in Windows which will allow seamless moves of data from one drive to another, without ever having to reformat, clone or image your drives. The tools listed in this guide can also be used to migrate or upgrade to any other drive, be they larger or smaller than the origin drive.

Paragon Migrate OS to SSD

Paragon Migrate OS to SSD allows migration of any folder, including system folders.
This piece of software allows Windows users to seamlessly upgrade their systems by putting the most important and most commonly used piece of software (the operating system) on the faster drive. You can select literally any directory to move over to your SSD, and Paragon Migrate OS will copy the selected directories, reboot, and you will have a system that operates exactly as it did before except that the selected directories are on a different drive.

PARAGON Software Group are currently offering an Early Adopter Program, which basically means that you can use their software for free. If you are interested, you should sign on as quickly as you can before they start charging a premium for their quality product.

Link: Paragon Migrate OS to SSD

Steam Mover

Junctions can be made for Steam games as well as any applications.
This is a utility with a specific purpose (splitting and moving a Steam installation to different drives). This is necessary because Steam keeps every downloaded game in a single unified directory. There is no interface for splitting a Steam installation amongst two different drives, which you may want to do if you want to benefit from the speed of a SSD whilst also keeping other less played Steam games on a HDD.

The exact way that Steam Mover achieves this is through junction links. These types of links allow for Steam to think that data is in a unified directory when it could actually be in multiple places. This means that you could move a game like Team Fortress 2 to a SSD whilst keeping a very large RPG like Dragon Age on a HDD. Steam Mover's unique selling point is that in addition to creating junction links, it will simultaneously move the data to the location that you want, cutting out some of the difficulty in creating junction links.

As shown on this Lifehacker article, Steam Mover can also be used for moving applications.

Link: Steam Mover