I just got a new XPS 8700 with Windows 8. I have an SSD drive from the Windows 7 system that it is replacing that I want to use as the boot and C drive of the system. The XPS 8700 is new, so I don't need to preserve any data on it.
I made a set of recovery DVDs. I disconnected the hard disk and installed the SSD. I followed the instructions on the youtube video "Windows 8 Restoring From Dell Recovery Media ." I choose the factory refresh option (only restores system partition) when it appeared. It went through the entire restore process and appeared to work. It took a long time, no errors were reported and it said recovery completed. When I rebooted, the system was running Windows 7 from the old system the SSD came from.
There are only two partitions on the SSD, a 100 MB boot partition and a 80 something GB system partition. If it didn't put Windows 8 on the SSD, what was it doing all the time it said it was "preparing your hard drive", restoring your system" and "finalizing"?
I then booted from a Partition Wizard bootable DVD and deleted all the partitions on the SSD and wiped it (overwrite the disk with 0's). I tried the recovery process and this time it did not give me the choice of factory refresh or factory recovery. It just says "your drive size is not supported for this process. Please use a hard drive of at least 931 GB in size." Why on earth does it need such a large disk size to recover?
How do I get my SSD set up? This has to be a pretty common upgrade.
You need a migration tool, not a recovery one. Example: http://www.paragon-software.com/technologies/components/migrate-OS-to-SSD/.
I don't have any data to migrate, so I was thinking an install or recovery would be better. If I do a migration, then what are my recovery steps if I ever need to recover?
I think you could use the Windows tools, or, much better, you could image regularly your installation to an external or internal disk, using any of the common imaging tools (from Macrium, Paragon or Terabyte). In this case, to recover you restore one of the backup images and then update the system.
I'm not really a fan of imaging as a backup strategy - It has its advantages, of course, but it takes a lot of space. There are pros and cons and I don't want to turn this thread into a discussion of backup alternatives. Because of that, I don't have imaging software. I suppose I could get some and use it just to make one image that I could go back to and then restore my apps and data, but I'd really rather not do that.
I always want a way to get back to square one and then install apps and restore data. So do many people, I think because Dell and others provide a way to make an image and restore it. I think if I use migration software to get the SSD set up, then if I ever need to get back to square one, I'll have to really go back to the beginning and restore to a large disk, migrate again to SSD and then go from there. That seems unnecessarily complex.
Is there really such an unnecessarily limit to the Dell restore, that it has to restore to a 931 GB or greater disk? Can anyone answer my question in my original post about what happened the first time I tried to restore to the SSD when it had Window 7 on it? It seemed like it was going to work, but then it ended up booting into Windows 7. It seems like there might be a way to use that path to get Windows 8 restored to the SSD.