While trying to get my new laptop set up I used my normal procedures - namely using a USB->SATA connector to format the new drive, copy everything over, then booting a livecd with the drive in the new laptop in order to set up grub. That didn’t work so well.
Up till now I’ve been using the Finnix live cd since it was the one linode uses. However, when I try to boot the new laptop with it, it doesn’t boot up properly (namely, it didn’t detect the new SSD drive). I preferred finnix since it’s smaller than most other livecds, and it’s debian based, which matches all my linux machines.
So, after some quick searches, I found out that Knoppix is still around. All the mirrors have a really old version, but if you grab a bittorrent client, download the latest version, and then use the instructions on this page to install on a flash drive, you should be good to go.
In my case that did the trick. After booting it recognized the new SSD, I was able to run grub-install and update-grub, and then everything came up normally after a reboot.