I aquired an SSD in order to extend my "gaming computer"'s lifespan. It's getting pretty old (5 years!) in computer terms, and the hard drive is always very active.
My plan was to clone the old drive to the new drive, because I had just reinstalled Windows and didn't want to go through the pain of finding drivers. My video card is no longer supported by ATI, and I was having problems with their legacy driver.
So I made a bootable USB flash drive with gparted.
My first problem: getting my BIOS to boot off the USB. Apparently I needed to choose "Hard Drive" > "USB Flash" instead of "USB-HDD".
My second problem: waiting for gparted to boot. I hit enter at the grub screen, and waited 5 minutes. Figuring that something had hung, I rebooted and tried a few different boot menu options. Turns out, I needed to wait 10 minutes for it to boot.
Cloning the drive was easy and took about 30 minutes to complete. Watching the "bi" and "bo" columns in vmstat while the disk cloned showed the SSD was impressively faster than the hard drive.
Next problem: windows won't boot off the cloned drive. I used the rescue DVD to reinstall the MBR and fix the boot entry.
Next problem: windows can't find itself because the drive letter changed. Microsoft has a document showing how to change the drive letter of the boot drive. I had to boot in safe mode, hit ctrl-alt-del to start task manager, and then start regedt32 from the task manager.
After all that, I rebooted and everything is now working again and is noticeably faster.