Do you have an SSD or Solid State Drive on your Christmas list? Maybe hoping Santa leaves an SSD in your stocking? SSDs are currently the number one way to increase the performance of your system. Instead of using a physical platter that must be read and written, using an arm much like an LP record album, SSDs are solid state. Only electrons move. Chances are I’m speaking to the choir. If you’re reading this article, you probably know the benefits of SSD.
There are many guides to installing SSD drives, but most of them are outdated. If you’re using Windows 7, you don’t need to change a bunch of settings. Windows 7 will recognize the SSD, and change them for you. SSDs have about the same failure rate as traditional hard drives, and modern SSDs don’t require all kinds of exotic changes to your operating system to protect them. Chances are the only change you need to make is in your BIOS. Just make sure drive is set to use ACHI and not IDE.
Probably the most painful part of installing an SSD is performing a clean install of Windows. Now Paragon Migrate OS to SSD has a simple solution to that problem as well. As the name suggests, it will help you migrate your existing Windows installation to your new SSD. Retaining all your Windows settings, avoiding reinstall of your software.
Perhaps it’s time to take a step back. Maybe some of you are confused why an SSD would require reinstalling Windows? The basic problem is SSD drives are smaller than traditional HDD drives, and cost per gigabyte is much higher for SSD. For example, my system has a 640GB HDD, but my new SSD was only 128GB. Not only was a 640GB SSD not available, but it would have been prohibitively expensive. It’s simply impossible to perform a byte for byte copy and fit ~600GB of data on a 128GB drive.
The process to install Paragon Migrate, is pretty straight forward. Submit a $19.95 payment on their website, and you’ll receive emails with a login info, download link, and serial number. Download, enter the info provided, install.
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Below you will find license information and download links for your product (if any available) and additionally the login data to your user account in the Paragon Customer Service System.
Since solid state drives are fast, but are not cheap, the best price/performance benefit is to put the operating system (usually Windows) and most frequently used applications on the SSD drive. While retaining one or more traditional hard drives for data (pictures, movies, downloads, etc.). Desktop computers lend themselves to this scenario, while most notebooks do not. If you have a notebook, you’ll probably need to replace your hard drive with an equal size SSD.
My goal was to make the system start faster, and load the programs that I use most frequently faster. How do you move Windows and your most frequently used applications to an SSD, while retaining data on your hard drives? This is the same question I faced, before I discovered Paragon Migrate to SSD. While there are some very geeky and complicated alternatives, Paragon’s simplicity and time saving made it worth the $20 price, even for a geek like me. Disclosure, this review copy was provided for free.
After the welcome screen, and detection of drives installed in your system, you simply select the OS to migrate, and the target drive:
Paragon Migrate offers very granular control. If you have a 64-80GB SSD, you may want to only move Windows. Since I had a 128GB SSD, I also moved all the programs that loaded at startup; Outlook, Trillian, Skype, Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. I also looked at the programs on my Start menu, to find the ones I use most often. Since Word and Excel were on the list I moved all of Office. I also moved Photoshop, my web browsers, Lastpass, and some applications I use for work. While I moved my Windows user profiles, I didn’t move any documents, pictures, videos, or downloads.
Then it was time to sit back and wait. Even with a fast HDD and SSD, migrating many gigabytes of data takes some time.
Success! I think the entire process took a couple hours. Most of the time was spent waiting for the data to move, and didn’t require sitting in front of the computer.
How do I like my new SSD? It’s the best upgrade I’ve made in years. I used to rarely turn my computer off because it simply took too long to start. Now it starts faster than it used to resume from hybernation. Programs I use a lot start almost instantly, and the overall system is much snappier. If you haven’t mailed your letter to Santa yet, request an SSD, and Paragon Migrate OS to SSD.
Appearance = 5
Quality = 5
Ease-of-use = 4
Features = 4
Performance = 5
Value = 5
Overall 4.5 stars
Paragon Migrate OS to SSD is simply a great compliment to your new SSD. If you want to save the time and effort of reinstalling Windows, there isn’t an easier way. However, I rated ease-of-use and features a 4 because I think there’s still room for improvement. It would be nice if the program recommended applications that load at startup, and those most frequently used. It would also be nice feature if shortcuts were moved intelligently based on selections made. Windows 7 makes it easy to change shortcuts, and makes recommendations, but it could be even easier.