Acer Iconia W500 SSD upgrade using Macrium Reflect disk imaging software

Discussion in 'Acer (Gateway)' started by rawl747, Mar 14, 2016.

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  1. rawl747

    rawl747 Pen Pal - Newbie

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    My wife's beloved W500 was showing its age (and original design limitations) throwing up "insufficient RAM" and "failure to create swap file" errors every time she would try to use it for the most mundane tasks. I suspect this was the result of years of Microsoft updates to its 32-bit Windows 7 Professional OS using up most of the available space on the original 32 GB SSD.

    Knowing from other posts that an upgrade to the actual RAM was not a viable option and determining that the original 32 GB SSD hard drive was essentially full, I decided to embark on the road to an mSATA SSD upgrade.

    I am posting here in order to provide an update regarding disk imaging software that eliminates the need for the original recovery disks and provides an easy upgrade path for others. I am in no way intending to replace the excellent tutorial on this subject available here:

    But regarding disk cloning software, here are my 2 cents:

    It took several attempts with current disk cloning software before I found a successful path and the good news is that once I arrived there, the hardest thing became getting the case apart.

    My parts list was as follows (all from Amazon):

    Samsung 850 EVO 250 GB mSATA 2-Inch SSD (MZ-M5E250BW) - link:

    Sabrent USB 3.0 mSATA II or III/6G SSD Enclosure Adapter [Support UASP] (EC-UKMS) - link:

    Leegoal (TM) T5 T6 Philips Slotted Screwdriver Opening Tool Set for Cell Phone - link:

    Belkin High-Speed USB 2.0 7-Port Mobile Hub - link:

    Macrium Reflect Free Version: 6.1.1196 (drive cloning software) - link:

    The last item, the Macrium Reflect Free was the key to painless cloning.

    I had previously tried booting to a BartPE disk (with Drive Image XML) that I burned (as a boot-able image) to a USB stick using this software:

    Rufus v 2.7.855 - Link:

    No fault of the Rufus software as far as I can tell but the W500 tablet did not like the BartPE disk yielding a blue screen even though I have used this BartPE disk with other machines for disk upgrade cloning. I also tried a copy of the "RuntimeLiveCD" iso image burned to a flash drive. This is essentially a boot-able Linux instance with drive cloning software included but in this case I ended up after boot with a screen of pretty colored noise and a big square for the mouse pointer.

    Since I purchased a qualifying Samsung SSD I was offered the Samsung SSD cloning (Data Migration) tool here:

    Unfortunately it would only clone the system partition and I wanted to clone the entire disk including the 100 MB reserved recovery partition so I decided to try the Macrium Refect first. It worked like a champ so I never looked back.

    After installation, the first thing the Reflect software wanted to do was to create its own recovery disk and I allowed it to re-using the aforementioned 16 GB flash drive for that purpose. After the successful cloning of the original SSD disk to the new 250 GB Samsung EVO SSD disk, I did try booting to the Reflect Recovery Disk and it is a good thing to have for down the line. It actually is based on a Windows PE instance. It was created by the Reflect software based on the W500 Windows OS instance and is therefore 32 bit and includes a copy of Reflect if I ever need to go down this path again.

    Once the Reflect software finished cloning the old disk to the new one, I carefully removed the cover, swapped out the drives and put the cover back on. No additional steps to create a MSB on the new drive were required. Bringing up the Windows instance on the new drive, the first thing I had to do was go into Windows disk management and extend the drive from 32 GB to the balance of the new 256 GB drive. Reflect made an exact clone so the initial new drive partitions were 100 MB and 32 GB (less 100 MB) leaving much free space thus the need to extend the system partition.

    This appears to much simpler than the other methods mentioned that require the original recovery disks or an installation copy of the OS. All that was needed was the Reflect software (which requires an internet connection to download). BTW, I would suggest obtaining your free copy of Reflect directly from the software manufacturers site to avoid any bloatware that might be added by other sites. It always pays to go to the source.

    Once the drive swap was completed, I was able to create a swap file for the first time in many months and my wife's W500 is now better than ever. The performance gains are very noticeable. I don't know what the old drive had for specs but this new Samsung EVO SSD is VERY FAST.

    So, no RAM upgrade but the next best thing.

    For those who are interested in the hardware mentioned. I used the external powered USB hub to support a mouse, the SSD drive in the Sabrent mSATA enclosure and the USB 16 GB flash drive. The cell phone toolkit was acceptable but I did break two case tabs. I have to say that first tab is a real pain in the behind.

    I hope this helps the next person. I must say thanks to the folks who posted before and Hans for the original tutorial because they made the concept approachable.

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