By Ivy / Last update November 24, 2021

Why need to clone HDD to SSD?

Generally speaking, HDD (hard disk drive) is the most basic storage disk of computer. It’s a metal platter with the magnetic coating. When it spinning, the data can be read and written.

Unlike HDD, SSD (solid state drive) is made by solid state electronic storage chip and without moving parts. It stores data on its memory chips so that there is no platter spinning while the data read or written on SSD.

In sum, SSD is much lighter, quieter, more durable, produce less heat and consume less power. So, SSD is a greater choice than HDD. 

No SATA to USB cable with newly purchased SSD

‘’Hello, I bought an SSD and to my shock, it didn't come with a USB to SATA cable and the directions clearly say I need one to get my laptop to recognize the new drive before I take out the old one (a 5400 HDD that came with the laptop).

Thus, I was wondering if it is possible to clone HDD to SSD without SATA to USB cable? Or is there any other feasible ways to copy everything from the HDD including system, installed apps, personal data etc. Any feedback is appreciated"

Clone HDD to SSD without SATA to USB Cable

The SATA to USB cable is very useful if your laptop only contains one drive bay, because it allows you to clone HDD to SSD via USB by connecting a drive to your PC externally. However, what if the newly purchased SSD does not comes along with SATA to USB cable?

How do I clone HDD to SSD without SATA to USB cable?

Cloning HDD to SSD but without SATA to USB cable is a very common question for users who want to upgrade HDD to an SSD. If you are in this situation, you must be wondering now what we should do? Below are 3 helpful methods you can use, please read them carefully and pick up one from them.

Method 1: Directly use SSD as secondary disk. Nowadays, laptops already have two drive bays built-in and it’s easy for you to add an SSD as a secondary disk so that you can directly clone HDD to SSD without SATA cable. All you need is to find a reliable disk cloning software for cloning.

Method 2: Use indirect clone method. If you do have a system image of the entire system on an external drive or other devices, you can choose to replace laptop HDD with SSD and then restore system image to new SSD. And this process requires a bootable USB to start your computer. 

Method 3: Clean install OS on SSD. If your laptop is a new one or does not have many installed programs and store any important data, you can directly install Windows 10 to SSD. And this process requires an installation disc. 

Then, which one is the easiest way to clone HDD to SSD without cable? The answer is absolutely to directly clone a hard drive to SSD if your laptop has two drive bays. It keeps all your data intact and the process is very easy.

The indirect clone method has more requirements (need an intermediate device to temporarily store the system image) and is twice the workload of cloning. The clean install method is the most heartbreaking method, it will delete everything on the HDD, leaving only a fresh version of Windows.

Step by step guide: clone HDD to SSD without SATA cable

Here I'll take the easiest way as an example and show you how to clone HDD to SSD without cable. As mentioned earlier, you need a reliable disk cloning software to complete this task. It will be ok if you don't know which one to use, I'll introduce you to the one I think works best, it's AOMEI Backupper Professional, and the reasons why I recommend it.

It supports cloning all kinds of disks, including HDD/SSD, MBR/GPT, whether it's SATA, NVMe, PCIe, M.2.
Also, it's compatible with various disk brands, such as, WD, Samsung, SanDisk, Toshiba, Hitachi, etc.
And it's capable of cloning hard drive with different size, even a smaller SSD.
In addition, it allows you to further accelerate the reading and writing speed of SSD disk.
Except for the cloning method, this software still allows you to create a bootable USB for your computer. It allows you to clone hard drive without booting Windows.

Now, you can follow the steps to clone HDD to SSD without SATA cable. Please install SSD to the extra drive bay and be sure it's recognized. And you don’t need to initialize SSD, because it will be formatted during the cloning process.

1. Download, install and launch SSD cloning software AOMEI Backupper Professional. Select “Disk Clone” under “Clone” tab.

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Choose Disk Clone

2. Select your HDD as source disk (here is disk 0), then click “Next”.

Select HDD

3. Select SSD as destination disk (here is disk 1), then click “Next” to continue.

Choose SSD Disk

4. Preview the operation and click “Start Clone” to clone HDD to SSD without SATA to USB cable. Remember to tick "SSD Alignment" to optimize the performance of the SSD. 

Clone HDD to SSD without USB Cable

❤ "Edit Partitions" is necessary to adjust the partition if the SSD is larger or you are cloning SSD to larger SSD. It has 4 options, you can choose to manually adjust partition size or simply make it fit on the new SSD. And you can convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT if your SSD disk is MBR. 
❤ “Sector by sector clone” is optional to copy all sectors of the disk to the destination disk whether in use or not, but the destination disk size must be equal to or larger than the source disk.
❤ To get the best performance, it's suggested to clone Windows 10 to NVMe SSD, because NVMe SSD has much faster transfer speed.
❤ This software is still a M.2 SSD cloner, thus you can use it to migrate Windows 10 to M.2 SSD, clone M.2 SSD to M.2 SSD, etc.

5. Wait for the process to complete and then click “Finish”. The process will take several minutes to several hours depending on the size of the source disk.

Now, you may already install SSD without SATA cable. Next, you need to switch HDD to SSD, restart your computer and press specific key (eg: F2, ESC) on the initial screen, go to the boot tab and move SSD to the first option by using “+”, then press F10 to save changes and exit.

Boot from Cloned SSD

After that, see if your computer can boot successfully. If so, you can reformat your hard drive. If not, please go to: cloned SSD won’t boot and try the given solutions.


Speaking of cloning HDD to SSD without SATA to USB cable, you have three methods, but the easiest one is to clone a hard drive to SSD using a reliable disk cloning software -  AOMEI Backupper Professional.

By using it, you can not only clone large HDD to smaller SSD, but also enjoy many useful features during the cloning process. For example, its SSD Alignment feature help you resolve the cloned SSD booting slower issue. 

In addition, it still has many useful features, such as, System Clone, Disk Backup and Restore, Create Bootable Media, Real-Time Sync, AOMEI Image Deploy, etc. To protect unlimited computers or servers,  you can select advanced version in the edition comparison page.