Yesterday, my laptop’s Lenovo system health software warned me that my hard drive had failed a test back in late June, and that I should replace the hard drive “as soon as possible.” Why I didn’t see this notification back in late June, I’d sure like to know.
I have a spare drive laying around, an SSD, which I would like to move my files to, only it seems I can’t do it. I am trying to use a tool from Paragon Software called Migrate OS to SSD 3.0, which I got for free through a Giveaway of the Day special some time ago.
Now that I’m trying to work with it, it seems that the file migration doesn’t result in a bootable volume. Something is wrong with the boot manager, apparently. Paragon’s documentation recommends running a WinPE tool to build a WinPE USB drive, which can repair problems. But due to a change in the way Microsoft licenses the tools that their WinPE builder puts on disk, they no longer offer the tool. Supposedly they have replaced it with something else called Boot Media Builder, but as far as I can tell it’s not available on their web site either, although they have a download page where you can download a PDF of the manual.
This has taken 12+ hours and counting, and I’m still not out of the woods. I have a few more options to try, but it’s getting frustrating, and wasted a huge chunk of my dev time for the Summer Jam project, so I’m not too happy right now.
I’m now running on a Crucial M4 256GB SSD, and successfully migrated the OS on my old, failing HDD over to the new SSD. Paragon Migrate OS to SSD utility worked, except for the crucial bit where it sets up the volume as a bootable system partition. Why it does this, I don’t know exactly, because it’s damn inconvenient of it not to do that. But it might have to do with the way Microsoft licenses their Windows PE technologies.
I previously had Ubuntu Linux installed on the SSD, and ran it for a while, and then found that I could not boot it from the ultrabay adapter for some reason, so pulled it out and continued to run Windows from the main hard drive bay. As a result, I got a clue from the first attempt when I put the SSD in to the main bay to boot from it, and got a grub prompt telling me that it couldn’t boot anything. That told me enough to know that the Windows 7 boot loader wasn’t present, and it was still using the Linux grub utility to try to boot the system, which, of course, wouldn’t work. I eventually fixed the problem by using my Windows 7 installation disc to install Windows to the SSD, and then re-migrating the OS from the old drive to the SSD, which now had the Win7 boot loader on it, and then was able to boot as expected.
I’m very happy with the performance of the system now that it’s on a SSD. Chrome launches instantaneously, and everything is much snappier than previously. I’m not sure how much of that to attribute to the hard drive being a hard drive, and how much of it to attribute to it being a failing hard drive, but full or failing hard disks definitely hurt performance in Windows. No longer having 10-30 second delays to launch apps is kindof exciting.
Unfortunately, I lost the entire day to this, and now have pretty much given up hope of finishing my game for the Cleveland Game Devs Summer Jam. After being sick and missing Global Game Jam 2013, and then basically blowing off Ludum Dare 26, I’ve lost 3 good opportunities to make a new game. :-/