How to Move Windows Boot Manager to Another Drive

You can learn how to use two methods in how to move Windows boot manager to another drive including using CMD and a third-party software.


By Miya Updated on November 21, 2023

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User Case: Can I Move My Boot Drive to Another Drive?

“Hey folks! So, I'm using a Windows 10 PC, and I've got this situation where I need to move the Windows Boot Manager to a different drive. Has anyone here dealt with this before? Could you give me a step-by-step guide on how to do it? I really appreciate any help you can provide. Oh, and just to clarify, I'm not looking to clone the entire OS, just the Boot Manager. Thanks in advance!” 

The Master Boot Record (MBR) is a crucial data structure found at the start of a storage device like a hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD). It's responsible for kickstarting the operating system. Now, if you want to move the MBR to another disk, it usually means transferring the partition table and bootloader (or the whole boot drive).

There are a few situations where this might be handy: upgrading to a new disk, cloning or imaging a disk, or fixing boot problems. Keep in mind that newer systems lean towards UEFI and GPT methods, so moving the MBR might not always work. In those cases, check out "How to move MBR to GPT disk" instead. Next, we will explore two effective methods on how to move Windows boot manager to another drive.


How to Move Windows Boot Manager to Another Drive

In this section, we will use two methods to show you how to move Windows boot manager to another drive, please read carefully!

1. Use CMD

To move boot manager to different drive in Windows, you can utilize the bootsect command. It's important to handle the MBR with care since it contains specific disk information, including the volume label, which isn't interchangeable. Before proceeding, it's recommended to back up your important data.

Follow these steps to move the MBR:

Step 1. Start by clicking on the Start menu and searching for command prompt. Right-click on the Command Prompt program and select Run as administrator.

Step 2. In the Command Prompt window, type diskpart and press Enter. Then, enter list disk to identify the disk numbers of the source and destination disks. Double-check to avoid any accidental data loss.

Step 3. Now, use the bcdboot command to copy the BOOTMGR and BCD to the target disk. Replace Y with the disk number of your target disk.

  • Example: bcdboot C:\Windows /s Y:

Note: If your Windows installation is on a different drive, make sure to replace "C:\Windows" with the appropriate path.


Step 4. In some cases, Windows may have already initialized empty disks with the correct MBR boot code, so installing it may not be necessary. However, you can use the following command to double-check and confirm. Replace Y with the disk number of the destination disk.

  • bootsect /nt60 Y: /mbr

*The /nt60 parameter ensures that the MBR code is updated to the latest version.

Step 5. Once you've copied the MBR, it's a good idea to restart your computer to ensure that the changes take effect. If you've moved the hard drive but it still doesn't boot successfully, you can also try fixing the MBR.

This is all about using the command line to learn how to move boot manager to another drive.

Keep in mind that modifying the MBR carries some risks, so proceed with caution and make sure you have backups in case anything goes wrong. If you're not familiar with disk management and partitioning, it's advisable to seek assistance from reliable and user-friendly tools.

2. Use Safe Third-Party Tool

How to move Windows boot manager to another drive? If you don't want to use a complicated command line, then you can also use specialized third-party software to achieve this goal! AOMEI Backupper Professional is a comprehensive cloning software that enables you to securely move the MBR to various destinations such as SSDs, new hard drives, or USB flash drives. It supports Windows 11/10/8/8.1/Vista/XP operating systems with secure boot.

◉It provides options to either move only the operating system (including MBR and boot-related files) to another drive or clone the entire boot drive for a complete transfer.
◉Not only can it move MBR to MBR disks, but it also supports moving between MBR and GPT partition styles. Ensure that the partition style is compatible with the boot mode (MBR for Legacy BIOS and GPT for UEFI).
◉It offers intelligent clone and sector-by-sector clone methods for different scenarios. The intelligent clone is useful for cloning larger drives to smaller ones, while the sector-by-sector clone requires equal or larger disk capacity.

To demonstrate how to move the MBR to a new hard drive:

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Backupper Professional on your computer. Connect the new hard drive to your machine and ensure that it is detected.

Download Free TrialWin11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Important: Keep in mind that the cloning process will overwrite all data on the target drive. If there are any important files on it, please navigate to the Backup tab and create a backup before proceeding.

Step 2. Launch AOMEI Backupper Professional and click on the Clone option, followed by System Clone.

Note: If your boot drive and system drive are on separate disks, it is recommended to choose Partition Clone instead. You can manually select the source partition in this case.

System Clone

Step 3. By default, all the necessary boot-related drives, including the MBR boot drive, should be selected. At this point, you only need to choose the new hard drive as the destination disk.

Choose Destination Disk

Step 4. Preview the operations and confirm your choices. You have the option to perform a Sector By Sector Clone and SSD Alignment to optimize the target SSD (if you're moving the MBR to an SSD using this method). Once you're ready, click on Start Clone to begin the process.

Clone to New SSD

Step 5. Wait for the process to complete. Once finished, you have two options: either change the boot priority to the new drive in the BIOS settings or replace the current disk with the new hard drive when necessary.

1. If you want to clone an entire MBR partitioned disk to an SSD, you may need to use the Disk Clone feature.
2. The Sector By Sector Clone option will copy every sector, including unused and logically bad ones. If you have a hidden recovery partition on the source drive and want it to function on the target drive, please select this option.


In different situations, you may require different methods to learn how to move Windows boot manager to another drive. To ensure a secure boot from the target SSD or USB flash drive, it is recommended to use AOMEI Backupper Professional. If you are working with Windows Server 2003, 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2), or 2016, you will need the AOMEI Backupper Server edition to move the MBR. Additionally, apart from moving the MBR to another drive, you can perform similar operations to clone a UEFI disk.

Miya · Editor
Miya has an excellent insight and receives professional and systematic technical training since joining AOMEI. She has a comprehensive understanding of computer issues, aiming at helping users troubleshoot all kinds of problems. A lot of computer users around the world have found her articles very helpful!