QUESTION The 2TB hard drive in my relatively new PC is both slow and noisy. There's nothing wrong with it – it's designed to be eco-friendly. I want to add a 256GB SSD, on to which I will install Windows 7, Office and a few games. I'll probably retain the hard drive for media storage. How do I do this and what parts do I need to buy other than the SSD and an external enclosure for my HDD? Ivesy
HELPROOM ANSWER Drive manufacturers appreciate that there are many people in your situation, so they often bundle their SSDs with a cable and some data-migration software to help you transfer the data from your HDD to SSD.
Kingston's SSDNow Upgrade kit will provide all you need to perform the transfer, including a mounting bracket, cables, software and an external USB enclosure. You can use the software to clone your existing drive on to the SSD via the USB cable, then physically swap over the drives. You can then use your old hard disk as a handy external USB drive.
Apricorn makes a selection of SSD upgrade kits for both desktop PCs and laptops, and you'll find such a kit bundled with a Crucial M4 SSD; otherwise, you can buy the basic kit for use with your own choice of drive. (See also: How to upgrade your laptop hard disk to an SSD.)
If you're using a laptop then you'll need to use a drive enclosure (or caddy) to continue using the HDD. If you're using a desktop PC, however, there may be space inside the case to install both HDD and SSD. This way, you can clone the system partition from the hard drive on to the SSD, then switch the boot order in the Bios to boot from the SSD. All you'll need to do this is a SATA cable for your SSD – make sure you get a SATA 3 cable if you're intending to use it on a SATA 3 motherboard connection.
If your chosen SSD doesn't come with drive-cloning software, you can copy the partition using a tool such as MiniTool Parition Wizard (partitionwizard.com).
Your 2TB hard drive holds far more data than a 256GB SSD, so make sure you have enough space to copy over all your files. You may find you need to reorganise your data somewhat before you begin.