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Vaio Duo 11 – 1TB SDD Upgrade

So, the latest in my Sony collection is a Vaio Duo 11. This 'convertible' tablet is a charm... I really love the form factor, resolution and horsepower. I had bought it with the intent to upgrade the 256gb SSD to a 1TB Samsung EVO 840 for for AUD$500.

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Step 1: Duplicate your current disk to the new disk

The goal from this entire upgrade is to have more space, not change the OS or existing data. The first step is therefore to clone the source drive (existing 256gb internal SSD) to the newly acquired Samsung 1TB SSD. To do this, you'll need to have them both plugged in at once. The Vaio Duo 11 only has one internal slot for the SSD, so an external enclosure was required.

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Do be careful with the enclosure purchased. It turns out that there are warnings across the web indicating that SSD are liable to overheat inside these tiny airtight boxes. This is exacerbated when doing a full drive clone as you're trying to read/write as quickly as you can.

As for the cloning, there's quite a few methods available, all with their own quirks. My goal was to do an exact 1:1 copy to ensure that the recovery and boot partitions was all intact. The first thought was something like gparted. Instead I stumbled across Samsung's own 'Data Migration Tool' which promised to do exactly what I wanted. This was a 4-click process and the copying started. After it completed, I checked out the disk in drive management and all was not as it should have been. The partitions didn't look 1:1... but I still then tried a reboot with the USB as the boot disk. Windows still booted and so I went with this.

Step 2: Get the new disk into the new hardware

Sony are usually pretty tricky when it comes to internal product design. They're not as 'closed' as Apple when it comes to making products as un-openable as possible, but they're not far off. There was nothing short of 20 overly-difficult screws in the bottom of this unit to remove!

NOTE: The speaker grills need to be taken off. These consist of a mesh grill with a layer of sticky gunk that's also of grill-design. You cannot remove these without ruining them. Note that you also have to take off all of the rubber feet and the 'locking areas' for the extra battery. I'm still trying to find double-sided tape to put all these back in. I might just use glue.

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In the second and last pics above you can see the slot where the SSD sits. I happened to take the photo of the unit after I'd spent about an hour trying to remove the SSD. All other sites say to remove the screws nearest the SSD and then simply pop it out. Turns out it's not this simple... that blue patch you see is a chunk of sticky spongy rubber that acts as a support for the SSD. The stickiness actually makes it VERY difficult to remove. As I'd had this unit for all of 1 day, I had no intention of breaking it and so was very gentle when tinkering with the internals. Either way, after a little more prying I realised that I had to lift the SSD off the support and then it came out. To anyone trying this at home: be careful, don't apply too much force and, if possible, find a thin utensil to slide under the SSD and release it from the gunk!

After this the new SSD slotted in very easily and all screws went back in place quite easily. As stated, I'll update again when I find a tidy solution for putting the feet and grills back.

Step 3: Booting up the copied disk...

Well, it booted straight into windows and looked good. I then went into the disk management studio and realised that I was in trouble. There were partitions directly after my main partition which meant that there was no clean way to expand it! I therefore considered and attempted to 'restore' windows. Doing this inside windows should have been easy until it told me that it couldn't find the recovery partition! I then rebooted with the assist key and it also said the recovery partition was missing! Thanks to the Samsung Data Migration Tool, all of my partitions were out of whack.

Step 4: The Samsung Data Migration Tool sucks...

I had no intention of removing the SSD again... so I decided to do this copy in reverse. The old disk was in the external enclosure and then new one internal. I downloaded clonezilla and attempted a copy but it failed miserably telling me that it couldn't determine the partition table type... meh... probably to do with UEFI?

So the next step was to go all low-level. 'dd' is the tool and it will byte-by-byte copying _everything_ from the given source to the given destination. I'd known my device names thanks to the menu options in the clonezilla attempt, so I entered the following command:

dd if=/dev/sdc of=/dev/sda

It started going... I went to make a coffee, got back and found it had prematurely stopped. I checked that the USB was still mounted, all good. Then I went to pick up the USB and nearly burnt a hole in my palm! The thing was red hot. It turns out that this Toshiba drive does not bode well in this external enclosure. It's all over the web... should've checked.

Anyway, I left it to cool for a few hours then came back with a plan.

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My jug'o'water heatsink-cooler worked perfectly and the copy completed... I even had the running progress meter:

dd if=/dev/sdc bs=1024M | pv | dd of=/dev/sda bs=1024M

After a reboot, all partitions looked good and recovery started, but I didn't run through with it. I'd google'd a little in the meantime and realised that windows creates a recovery partition every bloody time you upgrade significantly. In this case it was from Windows 8.0 to 8.1. If I then removed a partition I'd kill my ability to recover.

Instead I just created a new partition in the space at the end of the drive and called it D:

Step 5: Actually getting that disk space back...

So, a little more googling indicated that there was indeed a way around the recovery partitions. The purchase of an 32gb (MUST BE THIS BIG) thumb drive allowed me to copy the recovery partition onto it and then remove them from the disk. I could then expand my main drive without too much screwing around.