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Can I just swap over the exisiting drive for the SSD, install XP, install drivers & windows updates, then install 'Toolbox' & finally 'Acronis Align Tool' & then align the SSD? Is it that simple or not?
Yes, it is that simple.
I believe that there are ways to partition the drive before installing it??
Yes, the issue with XP and earlier versions of Windows is that it starts the first partition at 32256 bytes, which is not optimal for SSDs. It works with that offset and you can install windows and such, but performance will be better by aligning it to an even binary number. It should be possible to create a properly aligned partition on the bare drive with a gparted boot CD. But you can also just align it with the tool after installing Windows.
After aligning the drive, you can check it this way: Proper ssd alignment for 330 series
Thanks for the info
Is 'creating a properly aligned partition on the bare drive with a gparted boot CD' easy to do or indeed necessary if the Acronis Align Tool will do the job afterwards?
I think with my limited knowledge, best to go for the Acronis Align Tool method unless there is a distinct benefit it using the gparted method...