Why Was This So Hard?


About the size and shape of a deck of cards, but 1/3 the thickness.

About the size and shape of a deck of cards, but 1/3 the thickness.

The other day, I got a new hard drive for my computer. It’s an SSD, or solid-state drive. These kinds of drives take far less time to access their data, and if you have your OS installed on one, as I do, it means your computer can boot up much faster than it can with a standard hard drive.

Now I had one to begin with, but it was only 120 gigs. Amazon had a flash sale the other day where you could get one that was 256 gigs for only $50. I had $50, so I said, “Yay!”, and ordered it. I planned to use it to keep my OS on, which means that I had to transfer everything from Drive 1 (as I’ll call the original), to Drive 2. Should be easy-peasy, right? Just copy and paste the drive contents over after connecting everything and formatting Drive 2. No problems.

Or, rather, problems.

Because it turns out it isn’t even remotely that easy. What I actually had to do was clone the drive (which is fancy talk for…well, copying and pasting and formatting). This required that I download special third party software, because Microsoft doesn’t offer a way to do this through Windows. I suppose that makes some slight sense, as they probably don’t want people to be able to copy over their registered copy of Windows 8.1, but it’s still a major pain.

Anyhow, the software, Clonezilla, was free. My friend and I used that (with it’s early 1990s era-style load screens), and were able to copy over the drive successfully, a process that took about eight minutes to move over 100 gigs of data. Yes, I do rather enjoy my SSDs.

Once that was done, we were faced with another problem. The new drive was an exact copy of the old, which meant that Drive 2 thought it was the same size (120 gigs), as Drive 1, instead of knowing that it was 256 gigs. To fix that should be as simple as going into disk management and expanding the volume. No, no. Instead what I had to do was download another third-party program, AOMEI Partition Assistant, and use that to clean things up. Now Drive 2 showed as being 256 gigs.

Drive 1, however, which I had put back into the computer to use as a storage drive, wasn’t showing up at all. I poked around and found it through disk management. Turns out since it’s an exact copy of Drive 2, Windows said there was a conflict and wouldn’t let me do anything with that drive. Copy? No. Paste? No. Format? No. Turns out there’s a way to fix this. Want to guess what that way is?

This whole process took over an hour. It should have taken maybe 15 – 20 minutes. Microsoft should understand that non-tech savvy people might want to install a new drive for their OS. As a result, they should have something in Windows that allows you to migrate the OS to a new drive and then clears off the old one, thus preventing someone from having two registered copies of Windows. They should also always allow you to expand, shrink, or format a volume through disk management, even if Windows doesn’t think you should.

This process should have been easy and short. It wasn’t. It’s done, though, and all seems well, so that’s a thing.

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