I tried to upgrade my laptop to an SSD.. and failed / 2021-12-28

2021-12-28 I tried to upgrade my laptop to an SSD.. and failed
After fixing the server hardware I had some time due to the Christmas holidays to look at my laptop, a Dell. It's getting a bit aged (originally from January 2016) and especially the disk is getting slow. Due to the upgrade of SSD storage in the homeserver I still have two 240 gigabyte solid state drives. So I tried to migrate the laptop to one of those solid state drives. Which was interesting in a number of ways: there are two operating systems to migrate: Linux and Windows 10 and the harddisk is 500 gigabyte, so 240 gigabyte would need an amount of cleanup before all could be moved.

I thought the harddisk was 320 gigabyte, so the downgrade from 500 to 240 gigabyte was worse than I expected.

I did some reading on migrating Windows 10 to an SSD and found out I needed a cloning tool. Navigating between subscriptions and expensive versions I found Macrium Reflect which according to How to Copy Your Windows Installation to an SSD - PCMag should be able to do this.

I have an external USB to IDE/SATA interface which is great for this kind of work. So the SSD started in that slot.

First windows didn't want to delete the EFI partition from the GPT partition table. Since the original disk has an msdos partition table and the laptop doesn't have UEFI firmware I booted linux and created partitions as I wanted them with the right type.

After that I created the Linux swapspace and filesystem and copied all Linux data to the filesystem.

After that the Macrium Reflect tool would not copy Windows 10 partitions to existing partitions so I had to delete the two Windows 10 partitions. I have no idea why, but this laptop has a Dell partition, a windows partition named RECOVERY and a windows partition named OS. Deleting the two windows partitions on the target disk also made the linux swap and root filesystem disappear without any questions whether that was a good idea.

After that it was several hours to copy the windows filesystems. After that was done I used the windows disk and partition manager to resize the big partition to leave space for the linux installation.

I booted Linux again, created the swap partitions and root filesystem again and copied the data again. At least rsync with the right options is faster than Macrium Reflect.

After that I tried to install grub on the new disk with the right options and did the first test boot of the new disk. Open laptop underside, take out disk carrier, swap disk, put the disk carrier back in and close the laptop again.

No dice: grub stopped really early. I did more searching and found I needed to use grub-install /dev/sdb --skip-fs-probe --boot-directory=/mnt/newinstall/boot so time to remove the new drive again, revert to the old, rerun grub with those options, remove old drive, insert new drive and try again. This time the menu showed that I wanted but I got an error about accessing the disk by uuid.

After that I also tried windows on the SSD but that gave an error it needed the Windows recovery boot.

So again back to the old disk and looking at options for creating a recovery boot USB stick. The 'Create recovery disk' program was busy with disk i/o for about 15 minutes and reported the USB stick for recovery has to be at least 16 Gigabytes which I didn't have available.

At this point I gave up. This process took most of the afternoon and it started to feel frustrating.

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