HDD dying on laptop. I'm replacing it with an SSD clean install. Best DIY guide/resource?

Yes, like you, I am absolutely a HUGE fan of cloning!

Note, however, when moving from an HDD to SSD, the one big problem that I find many people encounter, is that the main partition size on the HDD is far larger than the space available on the SSD (since SSD's for now, tend to be much smaller than HDD).

If you try to use the "proportional" feature on many cloning programs, in order to reduce the main partition size automatically, on the target drive, then afterwards Windows will hate that, and crash quite badly.

So I always want to keep the partitions "as is" rather than "proportional" when making the clone.

But leaving the partitions "as is" means they won't fit on the target SSD.

So what to do?

Well, the only solution I've found so far, is to use a good partition resizing program, to first resize the main partition on my source HDD.

And then, I can clone it over to the target SSD, and voila, everything works perfectly!

And of course as a side note, many people will accidentally confuse "CLONE" with "IMAGE", which is understandable, as I also did that at first.

But... a clone, as I understand it, is PRECISE sector by sector (bit by bit) map of one drive (source), onto another drive (target).

Whereas an IMAGE is a very different process, in that often the imaging program often runs within the OS, and as to try to copy the current STATE of your OS (while your OS is running and changing), and then account for those changes... and then compress the final image into a single massive file...

Making an image usually takes FAR LONGER than making a CLONE.

And so again... usually I just prefer the nice, neat, quick, zippy clone, as you mentioned, rather than an "image".

(But of course in some instances, images are needed and better... but for generally moving an OS from one hard drive to another, once in a while cloning, for me, is the way to go.)

And finally: cloning can be an amazing tool to keep your friends/family's computers running for years and years in a fast clean state, especially if they tend to keep getting themselves infected with malware frequently!

Simply get your friend/family to get their computer into a "perfect state" they like, with their needed programs installed and everything working nicely.

Then clone their harddrive onto another drive (which now becomes the "backup" OS).

Once the clone is done, take that backup OS drive, put it back in the box, and tell them to put it on the TOP SHELF of their closet and forget about it.

And then when they call you with an insanely nasty infection, you just have to recopy the clone back onto the main drive (only takes a few minutes) and they are back in business!

And of course before you clone in that situation you want to try to rescue their current files if you can, to put it back onto the reclone.

/r/techsupport Thread