To clone, or to re-install my operating system on a new SSD?

I just bought an Acer Aspire from Amazon for dirt cheap. I was also able to get a really good deal on a 256GB Sandisk SSD, so I’m going to go ahead and replace the hard drive. I want to run the laptop as a duel boot Windows/Ubuntu machine. I’ve been doing research online and I’m getting a lot of conflicting opinions about how I should accomplish this. Should I clone the hard-drive onto the SSD and then install Linux from a disk? Should I just re-install Windows with the back-up disk and then download the drivers from Acer? If I install Ubuntu first, will it auto-detect the drivers? A lot of people online disagree. I don’t want to turn this into a 80 hour learning process where I end up with a semi-functioning laptop. I would rather just have someone with some experience swapping hard drives drop some knowledge on me.

Hi Greg4662, and welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

OK, your best bet would be to clone the drive with something like the Clonezilla LiveCD to clone the HDD to the SSD.

Once that’s done, disconnect and put the HDD aside, just in case.

Boot to Windows to test the cloning went well, and run chkdsk … and a defrag

Boot to your chosen Linux distributions LiveCD, and select “Try <distribution_name>”, NOT “Install <distribution_name>”.

Once at the desktop, open Gparted, and use it to resize the Windows partition, leaving it at the beginning of the drive, with empty (unpartitioned) space after it for the Linux install.

REBOOT to the Linux LiveCD (to make sure no partitions are mounted).

Install Linux … which should now offer to install alongside Windows in the free space.

If on the other hand, you decide to do a fresh install of Windows … Put Windows on the SSD FIRST … if you install Linux first then Windows, the Windows installation will overwrite the Linux bootloader leaving only Windows bootable (the Windows bootloader cannot boot Linux) … if you install Linux LAST, the Linux GRUB bootloader will overwrite the Windows bootloader, but GRUB can boot both Linux AND Windows.

If you do it the other way round, it IS possible to reinstall the GRUB bootloader, but it’s just easier to install Windows FIRST :slight_smile:

If you have any questions … feel free to ask :slight_smile: … I’m on here most evenings.