The first step to installing a solid-state drive in your computer is to clone the existing hard drive. If you don’t do that, you end up with a computer that has no operating system and no software – nothing but a glorified thumb drive. That means moving the operating system and all the other bits of code – the registry, BIOS, drivers, etc. – that make the box work onto the new drive. If you’re gonna do that, here’s how: an Apricorn USB SATA Wire Upgrade Kit.
The kit consists of a piece of hardware. You get a cable with a male SATA connector on one end and a USB plug on the other and a CD-ROM containing a software package called EX Gig. You first plug the SATA end into the new drive – it’s compatible with any 2½” drive (it doesn’t have to be solid-state – you can also use this to copy one conventional hard drive to another); then you run the EZ Gig software from the CD-ROM. EZ Gig lets you either clone the entire drive or omit files you don’t wish to copy. Be prepared for a small workspace, though: the cable is about nine inches end-to-end, but about five inches between the plugs. It's also pretty stiff.
The result of cloning is a completely new, bootable hard drive. All you need to do now is swap out the new drive for the old one. If you have enough room, you can also add the second drive for additional space. In that case, you’ll need to monkey with the setup – see the instructions for your device.
Apricorn’s adapter cable is USB 3.0-compliant (a USB 3.0 port usually has a blue divider) and backwards-compatible to USB 2.0. The software is a bit crude-looking, but works quite well – you probably don’t want lots of shiny graphics and pretty images if you’re running it from a CD-ROM. Speaking of shiny graphics, the CD-ROM also contains a Mac version called ShirtPocket SuperDuper! Lite; though I cannot comment on how or how well it works.
The included software supports Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 on PC systems and OS X 10.2 or later on Apple systems. Either application requires a CD-ROM and a USB port.
Planning on upgrading that hard drive in your laptop or desktop computer? Get an Apricorn USB 3.0 SATA Upgrade Kit before you start.