SSDs were the future about 10 years ago so it makes sense that only now have I switched my desktop NetBSD machine from a spinning hard drive; Just over two years ago my main machine was still a Pentium III laptop; I’m all for progression - just slowly.

Some notes on how I switched over:

  • I bought a Crucial BX500 128GB SSD for about £22. It’s not their latest model, but it’s £22! The 160GB spinning (and failing) hard drive this replaces was £12 for a refurb; I probably only need about 20GB.
  • I bought a Startech SATA power splitter for about £3. I had no real intention of copying data across and was just going to install from scratch, but then realised I’d lost my NetBSD install DVD so needed an alternative plan.
  • Plugged in the SSD to the optical drive connector. The drive is that small it fits between the top of the optical drive and the casing (Optiplex 745 SFF).
  • Booted up my existing NetBSD install.
  • sudo sysinst.
  • Did a fresh install to the wd1 device.
  • Shutdown (should have edited fstab first, but did it messily on the next boot).
  • Switched cables around so the ssd became wd0 and the spinning hard drive became wd1.
  • It failed to boot because I’d forgotten about fstab, but managed to mount manually and fix fstab during boot.
  • Mounted the old drives as: mount /dev/wd1a /oldroot and mount /dev/wd1e /oldhome, etc.
  • Copied my home directory across, fixed permissions, etc.
  • Pretty much it. Of course there are the things I always forget about:
  • And this time round I decided to enable xdm as I’ve gotten bored of typing startx on my Desktop which meant a brief confusing moment as it dropped me into twm and not dwm, until I’d re-installed dwm and symlinked .xsession to my existing .xinitrc.
  • I haven’t yet unplugged and removed the spinning hard drive. Will do soon (just remembered I need to copy across my npf settings first). Don’t ever bother with a case/adaptor, etc for the ssd. Just tuck it in somewhere.

With the £60 21.5” monitor I got last month I now have a pretty awesome desktop NetBSD machine: 5GB RAM; 2x 3.4GHz Pentium D cpus. Nice.