Upgrading Lenovo X1 Windows 7 with a Samsung 840 SSD

June 24, 2013 – 10:47 pm

Storage I/O trends

I recently upgraded my Lenovo X1 laptop from a Samsung 830 256GB Solid State Device (SSD) drive to a new Samsung 840 512GB SSD. The following are some perspectives, comments on my experience in using the Samsung SSD over the past year, along with what was involved in the upgrade.


A little over a year ago I upgraded my then new Lenovo X1 replacing upon its arrival the factory supplied Hard Disk Drive (HDD) with a Solid State Device (SSD) drive. After setup and data migration the 2.5” 7,200 RPM 320GB Toshiba HDD was cloned to a SATA 256GB Samsung model 830 SSD. By first setting up and configuring, copying files, applications, going through Windows and other updates, when it came time to clone to the SSD, the HDD effectively became a backup.

Note that prior to using the Samsung SSD in my Lenovo X1, I was using Hybrid HDD (HHDD’s) as my primary storage to boost read performance and space capacity. These were in addition to other external SSD and HDD that I used along with NAS devices. Read more about my HHDD experiences in a series of post here.

Fast forward to the present and it is time to do yet another upgrade, not because there is anything wrong with the Samsung SSD other than I was running low on space capacity. Sure 256GB was a lot of space, however I also had become used to having a 500GB and 750GB HHDD before downsizing to the SSD. Granted some of the data I have on the SSD is more for convenience, as a cache or buffer when not connected to the network. Not to mention if you have VMware Workstation for running various Virtual Machines (VMs) you know how those VMs can add up quickly, not to mention videos and other items.

Stack of HDD, HHDD and SSDs

Over the past year, my return on investment (ROI) and return on innovation (the new ROI) was as low as three months, or worse case about six months. That was based on the amount of time I was able to not have to wait while saving data. Sure, I had some read and boot performance improvements, as well as being able to do more IOPs and other things. However those were not as significant due to having been using HHDDs vs. if had gone from HDD to SSD.

My productivity was saving 3 to 5 minutes per day when storing large files, documents, videos or other items as part of generating or working on content. Not to mention seeing faster snapshots and other copy functions for HA, BC, DR take less time enabling more productivity to occur vs. waiting.

Thus the ROI timeframe varies depends on what I value my time on or for a particular project among other things.

Sure IOPS are important, so to is simple wall clock or stop watch based timing to measure work being done or time spent waiting.

Upgrade Time

While this was replacing one SSD with another, the same things and steps would apply if going from an HDD to SSD.

Before upgrade
Free space and storage utilization before the upgrade

Make sure that you have a good full and consistent backup copy of your data.

If it is enabled, disable bit locker or other items that might interfere with the clone. Here is a post if you are interested in enabling Windows bitlocker on Windows 7 64 bit.

Run a quick cleanup, registry repair or other maintenance to make sure you have a good and consistent copy before cloning it.

Install any migration or clone software, in the past I have used Seagate Discwizard (Acronis) along with full Acronis in the past. This time I used the Samsung Data Migration powered by Clonix, which is an improvement IMHO vs. what they used to supply which was Norton Ghost.

Shutdown Time

Attach the new drive, for this upgrade I removed the existing Samsung 830 SSD from its internal bay and replaced it with the new Samsung 840. The Samsung 830 was then attached to Lenovo X1 laptop using a USB to SATA cable. Note that you could also do the opposite which is attach the new drive using the USB to SATA cable for the clone operation, then install that into the internal drive bay which would drop need for changing boot sequence.

Samsung 830, Samsung 840 and Lenovo X1

Old Samsung 830 removed, new 840 being installed

Samsung 840 goes in Lenovo X1, Samsung 830 with SATA to USB cable

Since I removed the old drive and attached that to the Lenovo X1 via a SATA to USB cable, and the new drive internal, I also had to change the boot sequence. Remember to change this boot sequence back after the upgrade is complete. On the other hand, if you leave the original drive internally and attach the new drive via a USB to SATA, or eSATA to SATA cable for the clone, you do not need to change the boot sequence.

Changing boot sequence , note one SSDs appears as USB cable being used

Before running the data migration software, I disabled my network connection to make sure the system was isolated during the upgraded and then run the data migration software tool.

Samsung Data Migration tool (powered by Clonix Ltd.) during clone operation

Unlike tools such as Seagate DiscWizard based on Acronis, the Samsung tool based on Clonix does not shutdown or performs upgrade off-line. There is a tradeoff here that I observed, the Acronis shutdown approach while being offline, seemed quicker, however that is subjective. The Samsung tool seemed longer, about 2.5 hours to clone 256G to 512G however, I was still able to do things on the PC (making screen shots).

Even though the Clonix powered Samsung data migration tool works on-line enabling things to be done, best to leave all applications shutdown.

Once the data migration tool is done and it says 100 percent complete DO NOT DO ANYTHING until you see a prompt telling you to do something.

WAIT, as there is some background things that occur after you get the 100 percent complete. When you see prompt screen, only then it will be ok to move forward.

At that point, shutdown window, remove old drive, change any setup boot sequence and reboot to verify all is ok.

Also, remember to turn bit locker back on if needed.

Post Mortem

How is the new SSD drive is running?

So far so good, as fast if not better than the old one.

About a month after the upgrade and the space is being put to use.

How about the Samsung 830?

That is now being used for various things in my test lab environment joining other SSD, HHDD and HDDs supporting various physical and virtual server activities including in some testing as part of this series (watch for more in this series soon).

Ok, nuff said.

Cheers gs

Greg Schulz – Author Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press) and Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier)
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