Replacing a hard disk

I have a Dell Optiplex 780, which I bought used from the Box Shop some years ago for about $250. The date of the BIOS is 2008, so it is quite ancient. However it is a 64 bit system, with 4GB RAM, and virtualization support. It must have been considered a fine machine in its day. It still works. I have installed Windows 10 on it, even that OS is not officially supported on it, and before that two varieties of Linux. It is no longer my primary system, but I am not yet ready to part with it. Hence How to Copy Your Windows Installation to an SSD caught my eye, since replacing a hard drive by an SSD is a good way to speed up an old system.

What to buy? I was thoroughly bewildered by the choices at Micro Center, but the nice sales rep there said all their choices were good. So I picked an Inland 256GB SSD for about $30. She pointed me to a $9 SATA/USB2 cable with no housing. No point in getting USB3 since the Optiplex did not support it. I also bought an adapter so the 2.5″ drive could go into the 3.5″ drive space on the Optiplex. I remember working with 5.25″ hard disks (and floppies)….

As recommended by How to Copy Your Windows Installation to an SSD, I used Macrium Reflect Free to clone the Optiplex hard drive onto the SSD. This worked well, and faster than I expected with a USB2 connection.

Then came the hard part: physically replacing the drive. Getting the SSD into the adapter was finicky: Four small screws. The first time I put the SSD in upside down, so I had to unscrew it and repeat the process.

Getting the old drive out was a little tricky. My system did not look like the pictures in the manual. Adding the new drive in its 3.5″ slot also did not go by the book: My adapter did not snap into place in the slot and I had to bolt it in place through a couple holes that were not intended for this.

After this kludge I was seriously worried about whether the thing would work at all. But I turned it on and the Windows logo quickly appeared. I then logged on to a working system.

EDIT: Looking through my records I found I had run the ChrisPC Win Experience Index on this system with the old hard drive. On a 10 point scale the Primary hard drive index was 5.9. I reran it with the SSD and got a score of 7.3. I have no idea how good this index is but it does seem to show a significant improvement using the SSD.

1 thought on “Replacing a hard disk

  1. Pingback: Replacing another hard disk | From Hilbert Space to Dilbert Space, and beyond

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