How to Fix Common SSD Installation Problems

I recently bought and installed a Samsung 840 Evo SSD to replace my aging and failing traditional HDD.  I ran in to a few problems but apparently these are common to everyone. So learn from my mistakes and do – or don’t do – the following:

  1. Don’t change any settings until the SDD is installed: While researching SDD installation I read that you needed to run it in AHCI mode, so right after I physically installed it and ran the migration software to clone my old drive I rebooted and changed the drive settings to AHCI in the BIOS. But when I booted into Windows 7 it would immediately crash. I panicked a bit but after I changed the settings back and booted everything was OK. Turns out that it needs to boot up in regular SATA mode first to install drivers and so on.
  2. Back up your Windows installation if you’re cloning: Even if you’re cloning your drive, you should create a disk image in case things go south. In Windows 7 go to Control Panel > Backup and Restore and then Create a System Image on the right hand column. Back up your image to an external or another hard drive.
  3. Make sure you’re booting to your new drive: This is an easy one to miss. If Windows can’t boot because it can’t find an installation, check to make sure the BIOS is booting to your new SDD first if you have Windows installed on it. What you think may be a corrupted MBR could just be a much simpler issue.
  4. Hack the registry: The following hack may also help when your SSD won’t work in AHCI mode:
      1. Startup “Regedit With Administrator rights
      2. Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SYSTEM / CurrentControlset / Services
      3. Open msahci
      4. In the right field left click on “start” and go to Modify
      5. In the value Data field enter “0” and click “ok”
      6. exit “Regedit”
      7. Reboot and enter BIOS (hold “Delete” key while Booting
  5. Don’t panic: I was installing this SSD alongside a large HDD that I use for file storage, and after I finally got Windows running in AHCI mode and booting properly off the SDD it wouldn’t find the HDD.  Most of the articles I read weren’t helpful, but after running Windows Update a new driver was found and after installing that and rebooting it found it fine. It turns out that I needed to reboot the system several times before everything was operating properly. This was a bit beyond what the instructions indicated, so at first I thought there was something wrong with my system. You may be tempted to go nuclear and wipe out your cloned drive and go for a clean install, but from my experience this was unnecessary.

After everything was up and working I rebooted a few times just to make sure everything was clear. I have to say that this thing is wonderful. I was so used to my old, slow, clattering hard drive that I didn’t realize how quiet and fast my computer could be. I had upgraded every other part on this thing – CPU, memory, motherboard – with nominal benefit. It turns out the failing hard drive was slowing everything down. My boot time went from over 3 minutes to nearly instant. This was by far the best upgrade in terms of performance I’ve done in a long time.


Posted on November 2, 2014, in How To, Microsoft Windows. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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