Question Upgrading laptop from HDD to SSD - with USB not working

Nov 27, 2020
Please bear with me, this will be quite lengthy. I have a 3 (maybe even 4?) year old Asus F54U1 laptop. Pentium i7, 8GB RAM. It gradually slowed down (significantly). I eliminated bloatware and bloat processes. This brought some improvement in terms of boot time but it still gets slow and the laptop tends to get more and more blue screen crashes.
I double checked and triple checked, and comcluded it must be because the HDD has worn down and is "dying". Since the CPU and RAM are OK, I decided to upgrade to SSD, and since the warranty is no more valid I decided to do it myself. More so because tech support which is not covered by warranty is expensive and unreliable where I live. Warranty-covered support is very good but unfortunately I am not covered anymore.
I looked up tutorials and decided on the following process
  1. Create a bootable USB 'just in case'
  2. Backup all media files to external HDD - optional because I will still be cloning the original HDD
  3. Hook up the replacement SSD to the laptop via a SATA-to-USB cable (bought already)
  4. Clone the HDD (it only has 1 partition) to the replacement SSD (bought already) via cloning software
  5. Open the laptop case and replace the old HDD with the new, cloned SSD.
This all looked fine, I thought it should work. Then I found that none of the 2 USB slots work, which means my process is not feasible. I checked power management settings (which sometimes allow to disable USB ports). I uninstalled and reinstalled the drivers. All the USB drivers from a software POV seem to be fine and up to date. After multiple restarts, none of the solutions worked and the USB drives are all but dead.
My first question is - before I dismantle Laptop 1, how do I work around this? I have another laptop as well, let's call it Laptop 2. Both laptops run Windows 10. What adjustments can I make to the process?
Would cloning work like this:
  1. Buy another USB-to-SATA cable
  2. Open Laptop 1 and remove old HDD
  3. Create bootable USB using Laptop 2 (with either download from MS website or old HDD as source)
  4. Hook up old HDD and new SSD to Laptop 2 via USB-to-SATA
  5. Clone using old HDD to new SSD running cloning software on Laptop 2 and connecting both disks via USB?
Let's assume this process works. My other question is about the dead USB drives on Laptop 1, because even if I clone the HDD successfully, I might still later need to use USB, right? This is something I absolutely do not have experience with. Is that a hardware issue? Maybe the drives have somehow physically disconnected from the motherboard? How can I know this?

Many thanks in advance.


Jan 12, 2011

Personally, I don't like cloning storage drives. I prefer to move personal documents, files, etc. to an external storage device and/or upload to cloud storage, then do a clean Windows install.,36160.html

Try posting on Tom's Hardware Forum.
You might get more solutions there than here. Good luck.
Reactions: martinsk
Nov 27, 2020
Thank you for your suggestion. I will try to figure out how to make it work, looks as if it might be even simpler than my approach.
The dead USB drives on Laptop 1 (which only has a working DVD drive now) and the lack of a DVD on Laptop 2 (which has working USB) have really let me down here. And thanks for the link to the hardware forum.


Jul 7, 2020
Tough problem. Here's something you might try. Run BelArc advisor and save the results. This will give you a list of installed programs and any keys you may need later. Make a copy of your data files (hopefully these can fit on a few DVDs). Create a Win10 DVD windows installation using the tools on the Microsoft site. Do a clean reinstall of Windows 10 (keep in mind this will delete all your data and programs you installed). With a little luck, this may fix your USB issue. If not, you now know you have broken hardware. I would get that fixed at a shop before I went any further.

Alternatively, you can pull the HDD and do a backup to the other laptop if that is easier. If you open the laptop, make sure you follow good ESD (anti-static) precautions. Ditto for any handling of the HDD or SDD. After doing the backup, reinstall the HDD and proceed with the clean reinstall.
Nov 27, 2020
Thank you for your reply AlHuneke, much appreciated.
So after a bit more fiddling, I now have some follow-up to share.

It turns out that USB drive on Laptop 1 recognized my external HDD - so I fortunately could back up the data without doing additional steps and additional headache. However, it still does not recognize any of the multiple flash drives I have.

I have downloaded a Win10 .iso installation file to Laptop 2. I can transfer it to Laptop 1 via the external HDD and burn it to a DVD which I still need to buy.

I know I need to be cautious with static. Is it suffiecient if I touch a metal surface to release any built-up static before I open the case, and then put on latex gloves? We have no carpet.
Nov 27, 2020
In the end, I had to go the cloning route.
I could not get Laptop 1 to recognize any of my flash drives and interestingly, my DVDs of 4,3 GB were too small for the Windows 10 ISO image which turned out to be 4,5 GB (I thought it was said to be smaller on the MS website).
Oddly enough, the USB ports still recognized disk drives, both my external storage via USB-to-USB and the replacement SSD via USB-to-SATA.
Cloning and replacement went completely smooth, new SSD is up and running.
Reactions: omegadoom13
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