As is traditional while staying with relatives at Christmas, I did some PC upgrades. I was much happier with the slightly venerable Lenovo desktop running Windows 8 once I'd swapped out its rather noisy/crunchy 1TB hard disk for a 250GB SSD I happened to have spare.
Either I'm getting better as I get older, or the tools are improving. Five minutes on Google suggested using ddrescue from SystemRescueCD, and I simply deleted the references to recovery partitions which were beyond the end of the original disk. By far the longest part of the job was taking a backup first.
I'll do a separate post on how that backup was done, as it was also the fiddliest part of the operation.
Credit where credit's due to Microsoft: although Windows refused to boot after the transplant ("A required device is inaccessible"), it did offer me safe mode, and rebooting from there restored normal service. No need for CDs or suchlike faff.