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jeli2657
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎08-15-2011
Location: Michigan
0

Options in running Windows from an mSATA drive

I recently ordered an x220 and expect to receive it this week. I also ordered an mSATA drive that I would like to install. Once I have it installed, I am not sure the best method to install Windows to the new drive and would appreciate some feedback.

 

I don't really like the idea of cloning the HDD to the mSATA because of solid-state disk alignment issues and degredaded performance. Also, I believe Windows 7 will correctly configure itself to utilize a solid-state when it goes through the installation process, and simply cloning the HDD will not give Windows an opprotunity to perform the configurations.

 

I could install Windows from scratch.  I like that this option will ensure Windows will configure itself for solid-state drives. I am concerned, however, that I will not be able to reinstall all of the Lenovo drivers and applications as correctly as they should. I reviewed the User Guide for my x220 (available here) under the section of installing a new OS, and it points to registry patches to update Windows and mentions downloading various drivers from the Lenovo site. If Lenovo integrates into Windows to the degree that it requires manual registry edits, I'm not sure I want to attempt to manually place the Lenovo software on top of a plain Windows installation.

 

The third choice I see, although I'm not sure it will work, is burning the backup recovery media and using this to install the Lenovo configured OS onto the mSATA drive. I question if this will work because if the recovery process is only dumping flat files into the partition, it will not configure Windows properly to utilize a solid-state disk. If, however, the recovery process is a true Windows installation, it should determine that I am utilizing a solid-state and should adjust its configuration accordingly. Does anyone know how the recovery process works?

 

If you were in my shoes, how would you proceed with getting Windows onto the new mSATA drive? Looking forward to any replies, thanks.

 

Jesse

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HiVolt
Posts: 500
Registered: ‎03-20-2011
Location: Toronto, Canada
0

Re: Options in running Windows from an mSATA drive

I straight up cloned the original hard drive to a SSD before even starting my X220... Not a mSata drive but a standard SSD (OCZ Vertex2).

I havent had any ill effects its been a couple months and the performance is still as good as it was.
---------------------
| X220 i7-2620M | 12.5" IPS | Intel 520 Series 180GB Main SSD | Mushkin 120GB mSATA SSD | 8GB RAM | Intel 6205 WiFi | BT | Win7 Pro 64 SP1 |
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jeli2657
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎08-15-2011
Location: Michigan

Re: Options in running Windows from an mSATA drive

I could do that, but I would suffer write performance loss due to the SSD partition being out of alignment. I found this helpful article that describes what alignment is, and why it is important.

 

I think you are probably running your SSD at less than full performance capacity. Since you cloned the original HDD to the SSD, you probably didn't even notice your SSD could be performing faster. You can check you alignment by following this.

 

Additionally, if you don't let WIndows detect that it is being installed on a solid state disk, it won't optimize itself for that disk. I am referring to things like disk defragmentation, indexing services, or prefetching. These tasks really only apply to traditional spinning disks, and should not be enabled on a solid state. There are other things that are enabled that could be turned off, such as hibernation. With solid states, it is just as fast or faster to completely shut down the computer rather than hibernate, so why waste the disk space?

 

What are other people doing when they install solid states in their lenovos?

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HiVolt
Posts: 500
Registered: ‎03-20-2011
Location: Toronto, Canada
0

Re: Options in running Windows from an mSATA drive

[ Edited ]

Interesting. I ran what you suggested, and it appears that either I've gotten lucky or somehow by cloning the drive before even starting up the computer with the original hard drive, Windows has adjusted the alignment during the initial Lenovo preload stage?

 

http://img695.imageshack.us/img695/662/ssdalignment.jpg

 

The two partitions listed there both seem divisible by 4096. I dont really know what the 1GB one is for, but I did remove the recovery partition after creating the recovery media to free up space, and that's what's left.

---------------------
| X220 i7-2620M | 12.5" IPS | Intel 520 Series 180GB Main SSD | Mushkin 120GB mSATA SSD | 8GB RAM | Intel 6205 WiFi | BT | Win7 Pro 64 SP1 |
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jeli2657
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎08-15-2011
Location: Michigan
0

Re: Options in running Windows from an mSATA drive

It looks like you lucked out with the alignment, but might still face some of the configuration issues.

 

I still wonder, does the Lenovo recovery process simply dump flat file information to the hard disk, or does it dynamically go through the Windows installation process? If I restore my Lenovo computer to a SSD when it originally shipped with an HDD, will Windows configure itself correctly?

802.11n
RichardW
Posts: 262
Registered: ‎05-31-2011
Location: San Francisco
0

Re: Options in running Windows from an mSATA drive


HiVolt wrote:
I straight up cloned the original hard drive to a SSD before even starting my X220... Not a mSata drive but a standard SSD (OCZ Vertex2).

I havent had any ill effects its been a couple months and the performance is still as good as it was.

I did the same with an Intel 320 SSD (cloned the hard drive before even starting up the X220), using Intel's cloning tool (by Acronis). No problem at all. I didn't "luck out". It's working as designed.

 

If you are using a cloning tool provided by the SSD manufacturer, I'd be shocked if it doesn't set up correct partition alignments. The manufacturer is motivated to do it right and they don't want people reporting subpar performance with their drive or calling their support line. Frankly, it's not rocket science and it would indicate total incompetence if they do it wrong.

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HiVolt
Posts: 500
Registered: ‎03-20-2011
Location: Toronto, Canada
0

Re: Options in running Windows from an mSATA drive

I used Acronis True Image myself, not OEM branded but a full version.

 

Perhaps it detects a SSD and does the partition offset when cloning.

---------------------
| X220 i7-2620M | 12.5" IPS | Intel 520 Series 180GB Main SSD | Mushkin 120GB mSATA SSD | 8GB RAM | Intel 6205 WiFi | BT | Win7 Pro 64 SP1 |
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jeli2657
Posts: 23
Registered: ‎08-15-2011
Location: Michigan
0

Re: Options in running Windows from an mSATA drive

I received the X220 yesterday and decided to wipe it and start over. I followed the Lenovo Support article that explains how to install a new OS and most of it went O.K.

So far I am very happy with my new X220.
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NeuroKnight
Posts: 31
Registered: ‎06-14-2011
Location: United States
0

Re: Options in running Windows from an mSATA drive

The restore option works great, aligns and optimizes for SSD.

Upside Windows handles all this for you.

Downside you just formatted your computer.

802.11n
JNavas
Posts: 573
Registered: ‎08-07-2010
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
0

Re: Options in running Windows from an mSATA drive

[ Edited ]

I purchased an X220 with HDD (320GB 7200RPM) and upgraded it myself with mSATA SSD (80GB Intel 310).

I took the approach of creating recovery media from HDD, loading and installing on mSATA SSD (C),

and changing the drive letter of the HDD (D) for data, pointing all my user Special Folders there,

and finished by moving the Windows paging file to HDD. All went well, and the X220 is running great.

 

There are, however, some drawbacks to this approach:

  1. Hibernation file will be located on SSD and cannot be moved to HDD. [6.2GB]
  2. Lenovo Recovery Partition will be located on SSD, and Lenovo hasn't provided any information AFAIK on how to point the blue ThinkVantage button to HDD instead of SSD. [9GB]

The result is that 15GB of precious SSD space is wasted, a huge percentage of remaining space after installing Windows and programs. As a result, I'm now thinking that it makes more sense (if possible) to use HDD (not SSD) as boot drive, with Windows (and programs) partition (C) on SSD, which should allow hibernation file and Lenovo Recovery Partition to be on HDD, freeing up 15GB of precious SSD space.

 

I think all I need to do is move boot files from SSD to HDD, making HDD bootable and SSD not bootable, but as always, the devil is in the details. :smileywink: I plan to use EasyBCD:

  1. Change boot drive to D:
  2. Make sure boot menu is Windows C:
   HDD
 +-------------------------------------------------+-----------+
 | D: user data                                    | Recovery  |
 |                                                 | Partition |
 +-------------------------------------------------+-----------+

   SSD (mSATA)
 +-------------------+
 | C: Windows +      |
 |    Programs       |
 +-------------------+

 

Anyone does this? Any other thoughts?

Hope that helps,
John
ThinkPad T420s [ i7-2640M CPU | 8GB RAM | 1TB SSD | Bay Battery | BT | Webcam | FR | Win7Pro64 ]