Convert to a solid state disk


The procedure presented in this topic applies to Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and earlier operating systems. You can clone Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and later operating systems to a solid state disk (SSD) automatically by following the instructions in Cloning disks and converting disk types.

For optimum performance and life, solid-state disks (SSD) require exact partition alignment to a 4KB boundary. If the partition is incorrectly aligned, a quirk of current SSD design results in a doubling of the number of write-cycles which degrades the performance and shortens the life of the SSD.

Starting with Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Microsoft operating systems align partitions at 1MB boundaries which coincide with the 4KB boundaries required by SSDs. Earlier operating systems used a Cylinder, Head, Sector (CHS) alignment scheme which resulted in indeterminate sector sizes and partition alignments. For example, CHS aligned partitions on a 63 sector model are aligned in multiples of 31.5KB.

To work around the CHS alignment, you must first create a partition on the SSD using the command line tool, DISKPART, and then in the Clone dialog box, use the mouse to drag the source partitions to the SSD target. In Macrium Reflect, dragging the partition makes the clone operation use the target partition alignment.

Caution: Using the partition alignment from disks formatted to a Cylinder, Head, Sector (CHS) alignment (Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and earlier) can degrade SSD performance and lifetime considerably. We recommend that you always create a new SSD partition and drag the existing partition to it in the clone dialog box.

To partition the SSD

Note: This operation cannot be carried out through the Windows Computer Management console.

  1. In a Windows command window run the diskpart command.
    The command prompt changes to DISKPART>

  2. Create a primary partition aligned at 1MB:

    create partition primary offset=1024

This leaves the first 1MB for the master boot recored (MBR), and fills the remaining disk space with the partition. To limit the partition size, add the size parameter and the required size in MB. For example, for a 2GB partition,

create partition primary offset=1024 size=2048.


To clone to the partitioned SSD

  1. In Macrium Reflect, click the Backup tab.

  2. Click the disk you want to clone.
    Links appears below the selected disk.

  3. Click Clone this disk.
    The Clone dialog appears with the source disk selected.

  4. In the target disk area, click Select a disk to clone to and select the SSD disk.

    Caution: To create a working clone, you must clone all the system partitions. System partitions are required for the operating system to boot successfully. Macrium Reflect indicates system partitions by displaying the operating system logo, for example the Windows flag, in the top left corner of the partition on the partition diagram.

  5. Drag and drop the source partitions to the target disk.

  6. Optionally, for each target partition, change the partition properties: click Cloned partition properties.

    On the Partition Properties dialog you can change the drive letter, partition type, and partition size. Click the Maximum, Minimum and Original size buttons to automatically adjust the partition size, or, manually set the partition size and free space.

    Note: The assigned drive letter is for the current Windows session. If you are cloning a Windows system disk then the letter chosen here is not used when booting into the cloned disk.

  7. Click Clone.