A couple of years ago my wife bought a HP pavillion gaming notebook. It has an Intel I7 with 16 gigabytes of ram and a one terabyte hard drive. Despite having windows 10 as the operating system it has been a great notebook. Everything has been just fine for gaming and photo editing but lately she has been complaining that her program cannot open up images to be edited. Well, it turned out that she was having space problems. It turned out that the windows partition was on its own 128gb m.2 drive which was full, and not a little full but virtually completely full with about 1 gigabyte free.
First attempted rescue
Back in the good ol’days the solution would be to get a larger disk drive and to clone the old disk onto the new disk. I downloaded clonezilla which would have been a great help. You had to be careful of which drive or partitions needed to be copied but the entire process could easily be done in a couple of hours.
I didn’t think the situation through and so I tried to fix my problem just like the olden days – well it didn’t work. I received a windows error and a blue screen. Despite all my efforts I was not able to boot the newly imaged drive with the old partitions.
I did some further investigating on the internet and came up with a second possible solution.
The good news is that I am not dealing with a dead hard disk. Microsoft actually created a backup tool to create a system image of the entire computer. This is really cool for a computer that has just been recently setup, even better when the computer has a single drive with a single partition. Some of the videos I saw on the internet suggested you can select which partitions can be backed up using Microsoft’s system image backup.
The notebook still worked fine so it was just a matter of backing up the operating system image and restoring it to a new hard disk.
- Disassemble notebook
- Disconnect data disk
- Backup system image
- Create recovery usb stick
- Swap old M.2 with new M.2 SSD
- Boot recovery usb stick
- Restore system image
- Reconnect data disk
- Reassemble notebook
However, as simple as this process sounds has a lot of steps a casual user wouldn’t feel comfortable doing.
I think having a SSD as the operating system disk makes for a really fast pc but it boggles the mind how most non-technical people deal with this type of partition full issue. My wife, initially couldn’t believe she had about 900MB free but her computer was “full”.
She is very hands on person but the video describes how to take the entire bottom off of the laptop. Not only is taking the bottom off your laptop too much for most people in this case it also involves tools that a lot of people don’t own. Consumer friendly laptops have a small door to access memory or hard disks or other laptops while others, such as the XMG Apex 15, have a easy to remove bottom.
Upgrades are not necessarily a technical challenge but between how most laptops are built and the process of installing or migrating Windows is too much for most people.