Solid State Drivers (SSDs) are not only faster than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) but also last longer. While many new PCs that are available in the market today come with SSDs, most of the PCs that have been purchased in the past couple of years can also be upgraded to SSDs to improve the overall system performance.
Installing Windows 8/8.1 on a Solid State Drive is relatively easier and users who have previously installed any version of Windows on a hard disk drive (HDD) should be able to install Windows 8/8.1 on SSD without any issues. If you have recently installed SSD on your PC and want to install Windows 8.1 on that drive, you can do so by following the given below instructions.
Step 1: First step is to prepare Windows 8.1 bootable media. If you already have Windows 8.1 DVD or USB, you can skip to the next step. If you don’t have a bootable media and have an ISO file instead, you can follow our how to prepare Windows 8.1 bootable USB drive from ISO file guide or use free tools like Microsoft USB/DVD Download Tool or Rufus to prepare the bootable media.
And if your PC supports UEFI (see how to check if your PC supports UEFI), you need to follow instructions in our how to install Windows 8.1 from USB drive guide to prepare UEFI compatible bootable USB.
Step 2: If you have connected two or more Hard Disk Drives or Solid State Drives, if possible, we suggest you disconnect all other drives except the one that you would like to use for Windows 8.1 install. That is, for instance, if you have connected one Solid State Drive and another Hard Disk Drive, we recommend you disconnect the hard drive to avid Windows from creating any partition on that drive.
And if you don’t want to disconnect, you can still go ahead and install Windows 8.1 on SSD without having to disconnect the hard drive but be sure to backup all data from your drives before proceeding further.
Step 3: Turn on your PC, press the appropriate key to get into BIOS/UEFI. Here, you need to enable AHCI under advanced settings. Once you’re in UEFI/BIOS, look for any entry named SATA Mode Selection and change it to AHCI. Every BIOS/UEFI’s layout is different, so we advise you read your PC’s or motherboard’s manual for instructions to get into BIOS/UEFI and change the SATA mode to AHCI.
Also, when you’re in the BIOS/UEFI, re-arrange the boot priority to enable boot from USB or boot from CD/DVD (again, you need to read the manual for instructions).
Step 4: If there is any data on your SSD, you must backup all data as we need to partition the SSD to create a dedicated partition for Windows 8.1 installation. If your PC is unbootable, you can follow our how to backup data from an unbootable PC guide to backup all data to a USB drive without installing or booting into Windows. And if the SSD is new, you can safely skip this step.
Step 5: Connect or insert the bootable Windows 8.1 media, restart your PC, press any key if you’re asked to do so to begin loading all necessary installation files. When you see the following screen, select your language, time and currency format, and keyboard method.
Click Next button to proceed to the next step.
Step 6: Click Install now button to continue.
Step 7: Next, you’ll be asked to enter the product key or license key. Type in the 25-character product key and click Next button to continue. And if you want to recover the product key from a previous Windows 8/8.1 install on your HDD/SSD, you can refer to our how to recover Windows 8.1 product key from unbootable PC.
Step 8: Accept the license agreement by checking the box titled I accept the license terms. Click Next button.
Step 9: When you see “Which type of installation do you want?” click the second option titled Custom: Install Windows only (advanced) to continue.
Step 10: On the drive selection screen, you need to create a new partition for Windows 8.1 with at least 20 GB of space. We recommend you allocate at least 30 GB of space for Windows 8.1 drive to avoid running out of disk space in near future.
Select the unallocated space of your SSD, click New option, enter the size in MB and then apply button to create a new partition for Windows 8.1. Users who have connected two or more drives must carefully select the drive and create a new partition as formatting a drive will erase all data.
Select the newly created partition for Windows 8.1 and then click Next button and then click OK button when you see the following dialog box.
Finally, select the newly created partition for Windows 8.1 and then click Next button to begin installing Windows 8.1. That’s it! From here on, you can follow the simple on-screen instructions or our instructions in our how to perform clean install of Windows 8.1 guide to complete the installation.
Step 11: Once Windows 8.1 is installed, install all necessary drivers for your video card, sound card and other hardware. Most SSD manufactures offer free tool(s) to check for new firmware and update the same. We advise you visit your SSD manufacturer’s website and download the appropriate tool and then follow our how to update SSD firmware to check for firmware updates and update to the latest one, if available.
For those who are curious, TRIM is enabled by default for SSDs in Windows 8/8.1 and the Defragment and optimize tool in Windows 8/8.1 doesn’t defrag when the drive is SSD. It sends the TRIM command to the SSD instead. So, you don’t need to use those tweaking tools to enable or send the TRIM command to the SSD in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
To manually optimize your SSD, type Defrag and optimize when you’re in the Start screen, change search filter to Settings and then press enter key to open the Optimize window. Good luck!