By Ivy / Last Updated April 26, 2021

Quick navigation:

Can I replace laptop HDD with SSD?

"There are different types of SSDs, with different connectors, sizes, thickness, interfaces. I don’t know which kind of SSD could be used on my Laptop. Is it even possible to replace a hard drive with SSD in Windows 10 laptop without reinstalling Windows? Any suggestion will be appreciated!"


Surely you can! You just need to choose an SSD and the SATA to USB adapter. Most laptops will almost certainly use a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive unless you have an Ultraportable Notebook which may use a smaller 1.8-inch drive. As well, SSDs also have different thicknesses (either 7mm or 9.5 mm) and different interfaces (either SATA or IDE). Before you go out to buy an SSD drive for laptop, please check the manual or drive that’s already in the drive bay. 

Is it worth replacing HDD with an SSD in a laptop?

Definitely, you can find many ways to improve the performance of a lower laptop, but you may find that changing laptop HDD to an SSD is the easiest and fastest of all methods. Making the change will, in most cases, dramatically reduce the time to boot Windows, load programs, edit videos, play games, transfer large amount of files etc. Here are some obvious advantages can explain why SSD is the best choice for laptop hard drive replacement.

  • Faster speed: SSD disks offer much faster speeds than traditional HDDs. When you upgrade hard drive in laptop to SSD, you will experience faster boot times and response times when loading your files or folders.

  • Rugged data protection: SSD disks are much better at protecting your data from accidental damage caused by knocking or dropping the drive. This is because SSDs do not contain any movable parts like traditional HDDs which contain many.

On top of this, SSDs are lighter, quieter, more durable, produce less heat, and consume less power.

Common methods to upgrade laptop hard drive to SSD

Speaking of putting an SSD in my laptop, there are a variety of different methods you can use. Here we will show you two of the most common methods.

Method 1: Replace laptop hard drive with SSD and reinstall operating system

The very first way is to freshly install an SSD into the laptop with a new Windows installation. This method requires a Windows installation disk, or bootable USB. And, after reinstalling Windows, you need to install your favorite applications one by one.

A fresh install is very easy to complete and doesn’t take much effort (although it does take a lot of time). You simply need to insert the installation disk, change the boot order in BIOS, boot from the installation disk, and finally follow the on-screen instructions.

Method 2: Clone laptop hard drive to SSD directly

Many users will be put off by Method 1 due to the trouble of having to find or creating an installation disk, and the reinstallation is time-consuming. How to upgrade laptop hard drive to ssd without reinstalling windows and applications? Luckily, there is another way to install SSD as primary drive without reinstalling Windows or your applications. 

You can clone HDD to SSD via USB to SATA cloning cable with specialist disk cloning software. After the cloning process is completed, you simply swap out the old drive and put an SSD in old laptop, saving you both time and effort. Following will introduce this way in detail.

Trust and reliable HDD to SSD cloning software

Beside the basic preparations, you still need a free disk cloning software, which is the core of replacing hard drive with SSD in Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista.  But how to choose a proper ssd cloning software? You can check the following criteria and use it as filter.

  • Ensure secure boot. If you clone laptop HDD to SSD including system, you can sucessfully boot your computer from the cloned SSD without any trouble.
  • Support cloning laptop HDD to smaller SSD with the same partition style. As known, SSDs are smaller, so cloning larger HDD to smaller SSD is an essential feature of a disk cloning software. 
  • Work well in cloning all branded SSDs, such as, HP, ASUS, Samsung, Sandisk, etc. Therefore, you can replace Toshiba laptop hard drive with SSD, clone SSD to larger SSD Samsung, etc. 
  • Increase the performance of SSD with 4k alignment technology. In this way, you don't need to worry about the reading & writting speed of SSD after cloning.
  • ...

According to the given criteria, I highly recommend you AOMEI Backupper Standard to replace hard drive with SSD. It fully meets the above requirements and its professional version has more advanced features, such as, adjust partition size of destination disk with "Edit Partitions", clone MBR disk to GPT and vice versa, transfer only Windows 10 to SSD with "System Clone", etc.

How to clone HDD to SSD in laptop without reinstalling Windows?

Here are two tutorials to install SSD in laptop without reinstalling Windows, you could see the video tutorial for quick understand and then get details from the graphic tutorial.

Note: If you have done a deep research online, you may find that there are many example bout cloned SSD won't boot. So, please create a system image or disk backup in case unexpected system failure.

Video Tutorial:

Graphic Tutorial:

In order to clearly show you the entire process to replace/clone HDD with SSD in Windows 7/8/10, we divide it in 4 steps, from preparations to secure boot. 

Step 1: What you will need  

Before you start, it is suggested to run through our quick checklist below to make sure you can successfully and smoothly clone a laptop hard drive to an SSD. 

Prepare for laptop computer:

  • If your laptop computer is under the waranty, changing HDD to SSD is considered an unauthorized change, please take it into seriously consideration.
  • Be sure your laptop has a removable panel, so you can easily take out your disk or swap hard drive in laptop. 
  • Prepare a SATA-to-USB cable or adapter to connect SSD externally for cloning. Compared with USB 2.0 and 1.0, the USB 3.0 version has faster transfer speed. 

Disk Encloser

Prepare for the disk:

  • Prepare a screwdriver. You can use it to open removable panel, take out old hard drive or install new SSD in laptop after cloning laptop HDD to SSD.
  • Please check the thickness and interface of hard drive in laptop, so you can get a proper SSD for upgrading laptop hard drive. If it's not initialed, please initialize the disk in the disk management.
  • In order to clone hard disk to smaller SSD successully without any obstacle, you need to uninstall the programs no longer in use, clean up temperary files or non-system files with "Disk Cleanup", or transfer larger files (eg: documents and videos) to another drive etc to get more space. 

Step 2: Clone HDD to SSD in a laptop directly

Follow the steps below to clone laptop HDD to SSD with disk clone software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. It is also applicable to replace hard drive in ASUS laptop, migrating Windows 10 to M2 SSD, cloning Samsung SSD to larger SSD, cloning Dell hard drive to SSD etc. Please backup files in advance, because the target disk will be overwritten finally. 

1. Connect the new SSD to your laptop using SATA-to-USB cable or adapter. Be sure it can be detected, otherwise you cannot use it as backup destination. 

2. Download AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition, a specialist free disk cloning software, then install and launch it. In the main window, select "Clone" and then "Disk Clone"  in order.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Disk Clone

•  The free version SSD cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Standard only supports cloning MBR system disk to MBR disk. If you want to clone GPT to GPT, MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR, you need to upgrade to Professional edition.
•  To check partition style between hard drive and target SSD. You could go to disk management, right click the hard disk or the SSD, choose Properties -> Volume -> Partition Style, then you will see its partition style, either MBR or GPT.

3. Select your existing HDD as source disk, then click Next.

Select Source Disk

 4. Select the connected SSD as destination disk, then click Next.

Select Destination Disk

5. Check the operation summary and click "Start Clone" to clone laptop hard drive to SSD without reinstalling. Remember to tick "SSD Alignment" to increase the read and write speed of your SSD. 

Start Clone

Notes ✎...
• "Sector by sector clone": This feature will clone all sectors of your old drive including the unused sectors to target disk, here is a new SSD. But if it does not have enough space to hold everything, the cloning process will fail. 
• "Edit Partitions": This feature is to resize partition size when cloning disk to larger disk, so the target disk will show full capacity.
• Please Don't format HDD until you can successfully boot your computer from cloned SSD. 

Tips ✎...
• It's good idea to use SSD for OS and HDD for storage if the HDD is still in a good state. Therefore, you cannot only enjoy greater performance of SSD, but also get bigger capacity to store programs or data. 
• Except for cloning, you still can use backup and restore method to achieve the same effect of upgrading HDD to SSD. It's suggested to backup Windows to NAS and then restore it using a bootable media. 

Step 3: Swap laptop hard drive with SSD after cloning

1. Prepare your laptop for hard drive swap. Turn off your computer completely, disconnect the power cable and any other cables, then remove the hard disk bay cover with a screwdriver.

2. Find the screws holding the hard drive into place and unscrew them. Keep the screws in a box so that you can find them easily and quickly later.

Unscrew Drive

3. Pull your existing hard drive out. Please note that the angle is 30 or 45 degrees.

Remove Drive

4. Change HDD to SSD in your laptop. Install SSD In the empty drive bay and secure it with the previously removed screws, and then replace the back panel. 

Step 4: Boot from the cloned SSD disk

Now, SSD is lying on your laptop, but the matter is not over yet. You still need to check if the SSD is successfully cloned, and all the previously installed applications and store data is kept intact. 

To make it, restart your computer and press the prompted BIOS key on the first screen, it's usually ESC, Dell, F1, F2, F12 etc, then go to the Boot tab and set the cloned SSD as the first option, press F10 to reboot Windows. If your computer boot normal and all the programs and data are there (except much faster), you've done this operation successully. 



That's all for how to easily replace laptop HDD with SSD in Windows 10/8/7 without reinstalling Windows and your application. Also, you can use it to replace HDD with SSD in desktop. Moreover, its "SSD Alignment" makes full use of 4k alignment technology to achieve the best performance of SSD. And you may find that your computer will run much faster after adding an SSD to laptop, that's a brand-new experence. Don't hesitate and upgrade HDD to SSD and install SSD as primary drive in a laptop. 

Meanwhile, it's suggested to keep AOMEI Backupper installed on your computer to protect data and system continously. It supports full backup and restore solutions, such as, file backup, disk backup, system backup, incremental/differential backup, create bootable disc, universal restore etc.