Posted, as my methodology in the upgrade procedure may help others when trawling the web for help!
A little while ago I purchased an Acer Aspire V Nitro laptop. One of the first things I usually do, is conduct a clean install to basic Windows. However, with Win10 on the horizon, I waited until it had been released into the wild.
My version came with a 60Gb M.2 Sata Boot SSD and a 1Tb Data Drive. With quite a few heavy pieces of software, this 60Gb drive was rather full and it took a bit of juggling to keep it from overflowing.
The task ahead then was to upgrade the SSD and perform a clean install of Windows 10…. easier said than done!
The drive was formatted with 4 partitions. 1 & 2 were system partitions, 3 was my main primary partition (the C Drive), and the last one was a 14Gb Rescue Partition.
As most modern ‘off the shelf’ systems don’t come with rescue or Operating System Media now, these Rescue partitions are initially your only way of recovering windows if you don’t create backups yourself.
The first thing I did was create an image of this physical drive, including all partitions, using Macrium. I placed the Image onto my Data drive and created a bootable USB stick so I could reload this image onto my new empty drive after the upgrade. This sounds complicated but you really just follow the instructions.
With that all done, it was time to open the laptop and perform the SSD transplant. There are quite a few walkthroughs and breakdowns on YouTube to assist in this. The problem is that you don’t just remove a backplate to gain access to all the upgradables – you have to remove the keyboard… and its a delicate procedure to avoid damaging it.
Anyway, the new larger SSD was installed and keyboard back on. Be careful reattaching the ribbon cables! Booted up using the Macrium USB and I loaded my rescue image onto new drive. Removed the USB and booted up into Windows. Perfect!
My new drive now had loads of unused space but it was not accessible. This was due to it being after the rescue partition. In order for me to use this space and merge it with my C drive, I needed to move the rescue partition to the end of the drive.
I used three different partition tools – all failed. I could move the partition, but windows would not then boot. A few different error messages appeared but the outcome is that the boot procedure is looking at the rescue partition location. If the partition is moved it fails to boot.
Each time I had to restore the working image.
My next plan was to just do a clean install on Windows 10, and at the same time wipe all the partitions. I intended to create a restore image, and a backup image, afterwards anyway so the rescue partition wasn’t really necessary – but I needed windows, and more importantly the key!
I am going to miss out all the various attempts and problems, ranging from not enough space on the C drive to complete the install, all the way to Windows not accepting the Authentication key (located using Jelly Bean).
Here is how to do it…
1. Make sure you have backed up everything on your C drive – it’s gonna be wiped!
2. Complete a factory restore of the device – Don’t worry, you get the option to select ONLY THE DRIVE WITH WINDOWS INSTALLED. After this you will now have enough space to perform the upgrade.
3. When back at factory specs, go to the Windows 10 update page and download the tool. When the media creation tool is running, select update this PC – IMPORTANT: You will not be doing a clean install at this stage. You have to update first! After about 20mins you will be on Windows 10, but your C drive partition will be nearly full and you will have yet another system partition on the actual physical drive…. and you will still have a load of empty space on the physical drive that you can’t access!
4. Now that windows 10 is on the device, your authentication key is logged with Microsoft. This means that you can now do a clean install!… and at the same time clear all the partitions, giving you access to your full drive capacity.
5. Download the Windows 10 Media Creation tool and this time create a Bootable USB. It’s important to select the version of Windows that you have installed.
6. Reboot to the USB device and follow the instructions. When you get to the formatting of the drive. You can delete them all except the first partition.
7. After Win 10 installed, You will have a nice big clean C drive and on the physical device, there are just 2 partitions. The EFI System partition and a much bigger, full capacity ‘C drive’ partition.
8. There maybe one or two Chipset drivers that needed installing from the Acer site, but most are updated automatically through Microsoft update. Some were actually more recent versions than those posted on the Acer support page.
Lastly, I created my rescue media and bootable USB.
I created 2 images, using Macrium again. The first was clean, with only the drivers installed. The second was with all software installed.
Hopefully, some of the info posted here may help others in their upgrading / updating of ‘off the shelf’ laptops.
- Create Rescue Image
- Install new SSD
- Load image onto new SSD
- Factory Restore
- Upgrade to Win 10
- Download Media Creation USB
- Do clean Install of Win 10
- Create Rescue Image / Backup
- Grab yourself a beer!