Using Clonezilla to Upgrade the SSD in a New Computer

Upgrading a new computer for my sister with a 1TB WD SN850X NVMe SSD.

This is also my first real foray into vertical video, and was kinda a test run for shooting, editing, and general workflow. So if it looks a bit odd, my apologies.

It’s an HP Envy TE01-2275xt with an i7-11700 8-core 2.5GHz CPU and 16GB RAM. I originally purchased it during the height of the video card crunch, because it came with an RTX3060 at a reasonable price. I didn’t end up using the computer itself, and though it’s really not a “gaming” PC (that’s how they sold it), it should be well more than sufficient for home productivity use.

Especially with a real snappy SSD.

I never even configured the OS on that disk, so it has a factory fresh Windows install. Hence why I’m not using Windows software to do the upgrade (WD provides Acronis True Image free of charge).

Here’s the full Google-transposed “script” for posterity:

Hi everybody, I’m Scott and in this video we’re going to be swapping SSDs in this HP Envy low to mid-range “gaming computer”.

It was sold as a gaming computer — I’m not buying it — It’s real cheap inside but it’s going to be a solid desktop for my sister who just needs it for basic productivity stuff.

The only problem is it has a 256 gig SSD which is not going to be that performant either, so we will be upgrading that with a Western Digital sn850x one terabyte NVMe SSD, which is I guess arguably one of the best you can get nowadays for performance — though not for size.

So for this project what we’re going to need is of course the SSD itself that we’re going to be putting in the computer. I always recommend having a precision screwdriver set handy. You can get these very cheaply off of Amazon/eBay/banggood/wherever.

I particularly like this one I got off Amazon. It was cheap, it’s a no-name brand ,and and it’s been very good for the last few years.

One thing you might not have handy is an NVMe external reader because this computer, as with many of its class, only has one NVMe slot. A lot of actual gaming computers and high-end computers will have multiple in which case you can just stick your new SSD into the computer and clone it directly.

This does not so this is a USB-C to NVMe adapter. I think you get a decent quality one for less than 20 bucks and it just takes the drive right here and then plugs into USB here.

So here’s the inside: This is the entire computer right here. The motherboard the only other component we really have is the power supply down here. This is the CPU with the big spinny fan, two sticks of RAM for 16 gigs total — which is a decent amount for a non-gaming, non-video-editing, non-CAD/CAM computer nowadays.

And here is what we’re really after: That is the NVMe SSD.

There are two ways you can do this: You can either put the new SSD into the computer first and then copy over the old one with the old one in the external enclosure, or you can put the new one in the external enclosure copy the date over and then pop that in there. Doesn’t matter which way you go really. I’m going to put the new one in the external enclosure I should note another benefit of this Western Digital black SSD rather than a lot of others on the market is that this comes with a five year warranty. It’s not the only one to do so but that’s always a plus, so this case has a very easy installation. It’s labeled one terabyte from a drive I had in there before but this happens to fit.

You just line it up like that leave it at a little bit of an angle push it straight down so it seats. You’ll notice the pins disappear you can’t see the gold pins there anymore, and then this one doesn’t even need a screw it has a little rubber thingy that just secures it in place and then of course the case really secures it in. The way it slides in there’s not much clearance there so this can’t pop up and can’t disconnect and then.. voila! And oh yeah one other thing you’ll need is a USB cable. A lot of computers only will only have USB type A connectors (that’s the sort of chunkier standard size USB connector). Others will have at least one type C. This one has a bunch of type As on the front and back and one type c USB port in the front. I would recommend making sure you have the right cable because sometimes these enclosures may only come with a USB C to C cable or C to A.

So aside from our two SSDs what we need is of course some way to copy them over, and for that I’m going to be using Clonezilla. This is just a USB stick that I imaged, and this is free software (you can download it from there — just search for Clonezilla you’ll find it pretty quickly). There are many other cloning softwares available out there. In fact I think Western Digital does have a cloning software available on their website if you’re using a Western Dig drive.

Now one important thing is that your computer may not boot directly off a USB flash drive or any kind of USB storage if it’s not configured to. Depends on the manufacturer of the computer, but it will be a different key for many of them to get into the boot menu. In order to boot off of a USB drive on this computer it happens to be Escape. You can easily look it up: Just Google the model of your computer and “BIOS boot menu”. Sometimes you have to be very quick, so up here I am going to hit the power button and then right after I hit the power button I’m going to slowly tap the Escape key which is the appropriate key for this computer. And why slowly? Because if you hit it too fast sometimes the computer doesn’t like that and it completely ignores it. If you hit it too slow or just on occasion you might miss the brief window where the BIOS is actually looking for that key, so you can’t enter the boot menu and sometimes if your computer just goes straight into Windows even though you’re pressing the key just turn off turn it back on try again.

But in this case hitting Escape has proved fruitful as we now have the startup menu, and what we want in this case is the boot menu and that is F9. And here are the options. Well, the first option is pretty clear Windows boot manager that’s going to boot into Windows and you can see the SSD that came to the system as an SK Hynix model blah blah General UDisk 5.0 is what this USB stick comes up as, and so we just use the arrow keys to get down to that and hit Enter.

Here is a problem that we have to resolve — and I purposefully didn’t change this BIOS setting in advance so I could show you what’s up with that — it’s saying that the verification of the boot image failed. All it means is that we have to shut off the computer and and do this all over again but this time go into the BIOS settings and I’ll show you where it is on this machine. If you don’t have an HP or don’t have an HP of this vintage your BIOS might be different, the settings might be different, but you can always look it up by keywords that I’ll show you right now. And we’re back to this menu again. Now rather than going F9 for the boot menu we’re going to go F10 for BIOS setup: It brings up a screen like this.

This has an HP logo but it’s probably going to be a similar format for a lot of different models and manufacturers and we’re going to go over to boot options: And you can see secure boot is enabled and if we read the help it actually kind of describes what the deal is with that but we’re simply going to hit enter change it to disabled. Hit enter again and then go to exit and save changes. Now you can see we got this option a whole lot of stuff to read but basically it says type 0360 and then hit enter to complete the change. There’s no text box or anything that shows you what you’re typing but oh three six oh and then hit enter so now we’re going to do exactly we did before, but we’ll get different results.

I’ll hit F9 for the boot menu. I will go down to our general udisk 5.0 which is where Clonezilla is, and this time it goes into the Clonezilla startup menu. The first option is going to work fine for almost all cases. A few moments later it’s just going to ask which language you prefer: Hit enter, keyboard layout hit enter, if you’re a English speaker in the United States the default should be fine and that asks you if you want to enter Clonezilla or the command line you want to just and start Clonezilla and then we have a bunch of options here.

To put it simply we’re just cloning from device to device. Here it’s asking if we want to do it as a beginner or an expert we actually want to use expert mode. Don’t let that intimidate you. It’s really just so we can select one particular option that’s not available in the beginner mode. We want to do a partition to local partition. If we do disk to local disk that’s going to clone the entire disk and leave us with a 256 gig OS partition on the new one terabyte drive. We want to clone the disk yes but also scale the partition proportionally so that we end up with a full one terabyte OS partition on the new drive.

As with any cloning software this is where you want to be especially careful, because if you get your Source disk and destination disk reversed you’ll end up copying a completely blank disk onto your existing user data. Don’t get me started on backups; You should be backing up your stuff anyway just in case something like that does happen, but just be really careful and make sure you select the correct source, and the only remaining disk in the system is the Western Digital one terabyte drive which is exactly we want as our destination. But again even at this stage there’s only one option. Just be very careful make sure that is definitely the new SSD — the blank SSD. At the stage that you’re going to copy your data onto as it says all data on the entire disk will be lost and replaced now we see a lot of options here none of these are relevant to us so we’re just going to skip it. I’m going to hit tab to go to the OK button and then hit enter and we do not have to check the file system after copying. Now here is what we do want: We do want to create the partition table proportionally, which is the third option and then it’s going to ask what you want to do after it’s finished: You have a computer automatically shut down because this process might take a while. I, however, do like to not have it reboot or shut down automatically because I want to see the results of the cloning.

Clonezilla is not the most user friendly of the cloning software. You can see down the bottom here it’s giving you a message which you can ignore for all intents and purposes, but it is saying “hit enter to continue”. If you don’t hit enter it’s just going to sit here forever and you might not notice that, so just be aware. And now it’s going to give you warnings, and it’s just going to make sure that you’re overriding the correct drive. Again it’s saying that that all existing data will be lost on SDA, and then it’s showing you that SDA is a 1000 gigabyte Western Digital Black which is what we want, and then it asks you again just to make absolutely sure.

This may seem comical but believe me if you screw this up you will be sorry, so you really do want to be absolutely sure and double check it every time. And I hit yes and enter again and as you can see it spit back a bunch of messages but now it is doing its thing.. and you can see there it completed and then went to another cycle. I believe it was just copying one of the earlier boot or recovery partitions. It’ll take a while once it gets into the main data partition, which is now because you can see it says device size 255.2 gigabytes which is a 256 gig drive that’s about right. Okay, and there we go!

No errors — no real information either — which kind of annoys me but you know at least we know what completed. If the computer just shut down at the end of it you wouldn’t really know what happened; You just know the computer is not on anymore. So at least this way we know there were no errors and so it completed successfully even though I would love a summary screen showing what it did and how long it took. A lot of other cloning software does do that, but anyway this is pretty bare bones yet highly functional. \

And we will power off. Okay, so the copy is done. There are two ways to check whether it’s been successful. Really quickly I want to show you what to expect if you take this and plug it into another computer. Again, this is the new drive that we just copied all of this computer’s data onto, so if you want to check it before we take the SSD out of here or mess with this computer in any way this is what you do: You just take this and hook it up to — in this case it’s going to be a Windows 10 machine. I’m going to plug it in and it should be detected as a disk. Open the folder to view files and we see we have a Windows installation.

Next if we click on the Start menu and type “disk man” you’ll see “create and format hard disk partitions”. That will be the one. Sometimes it’ll just say “Disk Management” and this will show you all of the disks attached to your system. Now by the way the two disks that are actually in this computer are both one terabyte SSDs but we do know since it just detected this one as the D drive that corresponds to the Disk 2 here which it has a 929 gig (better part of one terabyte) Windows partition, so it seems like the copy was successful.

Because it looks like that was a success let’s take the SSD out of here and put it into here. The only thing you need a tool for here is that one screw that holds it in and just so happens that this is a relatively large screw and so I could use a standard screwdriver with a small Phillips head on it. But like I said you may need to use a precision screwdriver. A lot of times these screws are tiny with extremely tiny heads. Once you take the screw off it will almost always pop off unless you have very good magnetic screwdriver. It landed right there and the SSD sort of pings up as soon as the screw is released. All you have to do is grasp it and pull it straight out should come out very easily. And this enclosure: Taking it out is just as easy as when it went in. Just move that little rubber thingy aside and again it pops up just like the other SSD and just gently pull it until it comes out, and then this goes in the same way the old one came out. Hold it at a slight angle — maybe 30 degrees off the motherboard — and just press it gently in. It shouldn’t require much force at all, and then you can check to make sure it’s seated all the way. Usually you won’t be able to see the gold contacts there anymore and that screw hole should line up with the little half-moon indent at the end of the SSD.

And then this is where a magnetic screwdriver comes in real handy, but I’m going to use these snips anyway just to grab the screw. And it can be a little fiddly putting these screws back in because oftentimes the heads are tiny. The screws themselves are tiny but just grasp it with one finger like that push it down and you don’t want to like torque it down with a huge amount of force. You know you’re not driving a screw into a stud in your wall, you’re just trying to gently and be it firmly tighten the screw and, yeah, there we go.

That’s all there is to it. And we’re done!

Final step is of course to close up the case.

Alright, so reconnect the HDMI and power and let’s see what it looks like on boot up. This is a good sign: This is Windows right here saying just a moment, so that means that the disk is working. And it did boot into Windows — okay and that is exactly what we want to see — this is a virgin install of Windows, so it’s not even set up yet. But if this was your computer and you just cloned your disk over, your operating system should be there and you should be able to log in and everything’s fine. Then of course you have the old SSD still sitting around.

You could repurpose this; Use it in another computer, you could pop it in the external enclosure and use it as an external drive. That’s just fine the only thing is I would just hang on to it. Put it in a safe place preferably protected from static — if you have a static bag laying around throw it in there — and just in case the new drive fails early on (because drives tend to fail either very early in life or very late in life; in the middle not so much) just for safety sake I would a make sure I had backups anyway, but also just make sure this drive is thoroughly working and that you don’t have any issues with it. If you do you can worst case always pop this back in and then go back to using your computer as normal.

But yeah so that’s all there is to it. Thanks for watching, I’ve been Scott and.. goodbye.

About Scott

I'm a computer guy with a new house and a love of DIY projects. I like ranting, and long drives on your lawn. I don't post everything I do, but when I do, I post it here. Maybe.
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