How to speed up your old Windows laptop? Simply, install Linux and upgrade hard drive to solid state drive. First, let’s try Linux. My choice of Linux flavor is Ubuntu 18.04. It is currently installed on old HP Compaq nc6400 (https://support.hp.com/rs-en/document/c00685510). After installation of Ubuntu on laptops larger HDD (Toshiba 1TB), we can try Ubuntu for some time without spending any money on upgrade. I think that Ubuntu 18.04 is a good starting point if you are looking to switch to Linux. You can download Ubuntu 18.04 from next link https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop. So, after some time, you can determine is Ubuntu 18.04 good for you. If this distro is good for you, you can purchase new solid state drive. Now we just need to clone HDD to Smaller SSD on Linux.
To clone HDD that is inside a laptop to SSD we need SATA to USB 3.1 Adapter. With this additional hardware we can easier clone data. Link for adapter:
With this adapter we can connect SSD via USB port on our laptop without opening the laptop. Please insert new SSD drive into adapter and connect via USB to the laptop. Now, we can start the process of cloning data from SSD to HDD.
Shrinking Down HDD partition to SSD size
First thing we need to do is to shrink down HDD partition with installed Ubuntu 18.04. We cannot do this while Ubuntu partition is mounted. We need to do next process:
- Create Live USB stick with Ubuntu
- Try Ubuntu from USB stick
- Install Gparted with command sudo apt install gparted
- Shrink partition to SSD size (in this case to 110 GB) with Gparted tool
You can find the tutorial on how to try Linux distribution on your Windows 10 Laptop without loosing your data with Live USB stick on next link:
Cloning process with dd
Now we are ready to clone. First step, we need to expect both drives with command sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda, shown on the image below.
We need to compose dd cloning command. We are interested in two numbers:
- Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
- End Sector number = 225282047
Now we have our dd command sudo dd if=/dev/sda bs=2048 count=56320512 conv=noerror | pv -s 110G | sudo dd of=/dev/sdb. We need to “pipe” couple of commands to easier follow cloning process.
- sudo dd if=/dev/sda bs=2048 count=56320512 conv=noerror
- if option – defines source disk to clone from. In this case HDD.
- bs option – how many bytes are transferred at the time (4x512bytes)
- count option – how many sectors are transferred for input stream (225282047+1/4)
- pv -s 110G – monitor the progress of data through a pipe
- sudo dd of=/dev/sdb
- of option – defines target drive to clone to. In this case SSD.
This command takes a long time to process, so be patient. After the command is finished, we can swap drives. Following images show how to swap drives if you have HP Compaq nc6400 laptop.
Now we have copy of our installed Ubuntu 18.04 on our new SSD. What are the advantages?
I did some testing with and without SSD. I measured power on time with HDD and in was very slow process. Power on time was 1 minute and 20 seconds. After replacing HDD with SSD with same copy for Ubuntu, power on time was decreased to 32 seconds. Good progress!
How much faster your PC boots up? Did you manage to clone HDD to Smaller SSD on Linux with this method? Please comment down below and see you in next project. Also check out my other fun project in the links below: