Can't Install Windows 11 on SSD: Fix It with 6 Ways

Installing Windows 11 on SSD can help you improve boot-up time and PC performance. But what if encounter error - can't install Windows 11 on SSD? Here are 6 quick fixes.


By Jonna Updated on May 6, 2024

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Can I Install Windows 11 on External SSD?


I've been using Windows 11 for a while, and when the time arrived to switch to a new PC all was good until I tried to run my PC through an external SSD. I want to install Windows 11 on the new SSD, but Windows was very adamant about not supporting installation on it. Why would this happen? Is there any way I can actually fully install the Windows OS onto SSD?

Of course, you can install Windows 11 on external SSD. However, if you find that you can’t install Windows 11 on SSD, don't worry; you're not alone. Many users face difficulties during the installation process, but there are several solutions to overcome these challenges. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore why you might be unable to install Windows 11 on your SSD and provide six effective methods to resolve the issue.

Why Can't I Install Windows on My SSD?

Several factors can result in the Windows won't install on SSD issue. Common reasons include:

❗ SSD not detected: The SSD may not be recognized by the system during the installation process.
BIOS settings: Incorrect BIOS settings or outdated firmware can cause compatibility issues with the SSD.
Driver issues: Missing or outdated SSD drivers can prevent Windows from recognizing the drive.
Hardware faults: Physical damage or hardware defects in the SSD or motherboard may interfere with the installation.

How to Fix Can't Install Windows 11 on SSD in 6 Ways

Now, let's explore 6 effective methods to address the can't install Windows 11 on new SSD issue and learn how to install Windows 11 on your SSD successfully.

Case 1. SSD Not Detected When Installing Windows 11

SSD not detected on Windows 11 or SSD not showing up on Windows 11 installation is the primary reason for you cannot install Windows on SSD. In such a case, you could try the following 4 solutions to get rid of this problem.

Method 1. Check SSD Connection

Ensure that your SSD is properly connected to your system. Loose connections can prevent detection during the installation process.

Step 1. Power off your computer, then restart it. When the PC logo appears, repeatedly press the BIOS key (e.g., Esc, Delete, F1, F2, F10, F11, or F12) to access BIOS. The BIOS key will be indicated at the bottom of the screen upon booting up.

Step 2. Enter your computer's BIOS settings and verify if the SSD is detected.

Step 3. Ensure that the SATA port is activated in the BIOS settings, typically found under Storage Configuration settings.

Method 2. Switch Boot Mode

If your SSD is connected correctly, try switching the boot mode in your BIOS settings may be helpful to solve the problem of can't install Windows 11 on SSD.

>> Access the BIOS settings and switch the boot mode from Legacy to UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) or vice versa.

>> UEFI mode is recommended for modern systems and provides better support for SSDs.


Method 3. Update SSD Driver

Outdated or incompatible SSD drivers can cause installation failures. Updating your SSD driver to the latest version may resolve the issue.

Step 1. Open the Run dialog by pressing the Win + R keys, then type devmgmt.msc to open Device Manager.

Step 2. Expand Disk drives and locate your SSD. Right-click on it, and select Update driver.

Update Driver

Step 3. Select Search automatically for updated driver software and follow the guides to complete the update.

Method 4. Update BIOS

An outdated BIOS can also hinder the installation process. Updating your BIOS to the latest version can potentially fix compatibility issues and improve system stability.

Step 1. Check for BIOS updates on the motherboard manufacturer's website. Then, download the latest BIOS file.

Step 2. Reboot your device and access the BIOS setup.

Step 3. Under Advanced Menu Mode, locate the update menu, choose the downloaded BIOS file, and click Yes.

Case 2. SSD Not Recognized by BIOS

If the SSD is detected in SSD, you can try the following two solutions to fix issues like NVME SSD not showing up in Windows 11 install or Dell SSD not detected when installing Windows 11.

Method 1. Clean Your SSD

You can follow the steps below to clean the SSD with Diskpart command:

Step 1. Input CMD in the Windows search box and choose Run as administrator.

Step 2. Type the following commands one by one:

  • diskpart
  • list disk
  • select disk x (replace x with your SSD drive number)
  • clean all

Diskpart Clean All Command

Step 3. When you see DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk, type exit to close the windows.

Method 2. Format the SSD

Formatting the SSD can be an effective way to solve various problems caused by corrupted files or improperly installed applications, and problems like can't install Windows 11 on SSD.

Step 1. Right-click Start and select Disk Management.

Step 2. Find the SSD, right-click on a blank area, and select Format.

Format SSD

Step 3. On the pop-up screen, it is recommended to choose NTFS for File system and uncheck the Perform a quick format checkbox. Then, click OK.

SSD Formatting Setting

Error-Free Way to Install Windows 11 on SSD without Reinstalling

Looking for a way to install Windows 11 on a new SSD without reinstalling? You can rely on the professional cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Professional.

✨ It offers Disk Clone to copy entire drive as well as System Clone to copy only OS to a new SSD.
✨ Its Intelligent Clone allows you to clone only the used sectors, which is useful when cloning to a smaller disk.
✨ It supports the cloning of all GPT/MBR systems and data disks.
✨ Its SSD Alignment can help you accelerate the writing and reading speed of the target SSD, and prolong its lifespan.

Supported on Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, XP, and Vista, you can get it downloaded on your computer and start the Windows 11 installation on SSD right now.

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download
Install your SSD and make sure it is detected on your PC correctly.
If there is only one slot, you can connect the SSD via a SATA-to-USB adapter. Or, you can rely on the System Backup function of AOMEI Backupper to create a system image and restore it to the SSD for system migration.

Step 1. Run the AOMEI Backupper Professional software, and select Clone > System Clone.

System Clone

Step 2. It will select all system-related partitions as the cloning source automatically, just choose the connected SSD as the destination. Then click Next.

Choose Destination Partition

Step 3. Tick SSD Alignment, and click on Start Clone to move Windows 11 to SSD easily.

System Clone Preview Align Checked

Useful Tip: The Sector By Sector Clone function is used to copy all sectors from the source disk, which requires the target disk to be equal to or larger than the source disk.

When the cloning process is finished, to boot from the cloned SSD error-free, you can shut down the computer to replace your old drive with the cloned SSD, then reboot. Access the BIOS settings, and specify the cloned SSD as the first boot option.

Change Boot Order


Encountering can’t install Windows 11 on SSD can be frustrating, but it's not insurmountable. By following the 6 methods outlined in this guide, you can troubleshoot and resolve the issue effectively.

Don’t forget that the AOMEI Backupper easy-to-use cloning software can help you do Windows 11 migration to a new SSD with a few simple clicks. Besides, it allows you to create Windows 11 backup to external drive, and various locations, and perform automatic backup in Windows 11 daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

Jonna · Editor
Jonna joined AOMEI in 2021 and has become a professional in the areas of computer backup and restoration, disk cloning, file synchronization, etc. She maintains a keen eye for the latest technology trends, ensuring that the information provided is always in step with industry developments.