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How-to: copy HDD to SSD with correct 4k alignment

Prevent performance loss!

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Introduction

When you copy the contents of a hard disk from a PC or laptop to an SSD you have to make sure that the placement of the partitions corresponds to the underlying hardware structure. The same is true for the latest generation of hard disks. Today we'll discuss what this so-called '4k alignment' really means and what you can do in order to prevent a decrease in performance.


You might have read on forums that people warn for a significant drop in performance when the partitions on a SSD or hard disk are not properly 4k aligned. Unlike many other things you read online, this actually happens to be true. When you do a fresh install of one the recent operating systems such as Windows 7 or Windows 8 on a new hard disk or SSD, you don't have anything to worry about. Things get more complex when you want to transfer an existing installation of an OS with partitions on the disk, and especially with older operating systems such as Windows XP. In those cases you could run into a situation of the disks not being aligned, resulting in poor performance of the new HDD or SSD.

In this how-to guide we'll show you how to check the 4k alignment of your partitions, how to solve problems with free software and what to do in order to ensure you won't run into problems when you migrate from a hard disk to an SSD. But first some background info behind this alignment problem...


When you copy the contents from a hard disk to an SSD you have to pay attention to the alignment of the partitions.


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