A friend recently asked my advice on updating the hard drive on their computer.

They were out of space on their drive and wanted to upgrade to a larger solid-state drive.

Traditional hard drives use spinning metal disks to hold your data. The data is read by a reading head that looks like the needle from a record player, but hard drive platters spin thousands of times per minute.

Solid-state drives use memory chips instead of spinning platters, so there are no moving parts to wear out. And because data can be read faster from memory chips, your computer will work much faster. You’ll be amazed.

The question was about how to move the data from the old drive to the new drive.

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The process is called cloning the drive and I’ve done plenty.

The first thing you’ll need is a way to plug the new SSD into your computer via USB.

My recommendation is to buy a hard drive docking station, which I call my hard drive toaster, because the drives sit vertically like a piece of bread sticking out of a toaster.

You plug the dock into a USB drive on your Mac or PC and then insert the new drive and turn it on.

You can buy the hard drive docking station from Amazon starting at around $20.

The drive should appear for you to use, although you may have to format the drive using Disk Management on Windows or Disk Utility on Mac.

When the drive is formatted, you can launch an app to clone the data from the old drive to the new drive.

On the Mac, I use an app called Carbon Copy Cloner from developer Mike Bombich. You can download CCC from bombich.com. The app is free to try for 30 days, and during that month you can clone all the drives you like without restriction. To see an instructional video of the process, go to youtube.com/c/Bombich/videos.

If you decide to pay for the software (and you should), a personal use license is $39.95.

On Windows, I use Macrium Reflect, which is free for personal use. You can download it at www.macrium.com/reflectfree. To see a video of this process from Macrium, go to youtube.com/watch?v=LClr3FPg4_4.

For either app, just launch it and follow the directions. There are wizards on each app to walk you through the setup. When the cloning is done, you can then open the computer and replace the old drive with the new drive. If you’ve done everything right, it should just work.

Good luck.

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