Easiest Way to Clone Hard Drive to SSD without Reinstalling

HDD to SSD cloning offers a convenient way to upgrade your Windows 11/10 PC without having to reinstall the operating system from scratch. Valuable tips & tricks included.


By Teresa / Updated on August 18, 2023

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Top 2 Benefits of Cloning Hard Drive to SSD

Have you ever considered cloning your hard drive to an SSD instead of a larger capacity HDD? There are two primary reasons why an SSD may be a better option:

● Improved Performance

If you are doing hard drive clone just to increase storage capacity, you may encounter problems in the long run. As data accumulates, your computer's performance may slow down.

Cloning to an SSD provides a better user experience due to its faster speeds, quieter operation, cooler temperatures, durability, and low power consumption.

● Affordability

SSDs have become much more affordable due to advancements in manufacturing techniques and increased supply.

There are several options available on the market, such as PCI-Express, mSATA, M.2, and regular SATA SSDs. Popular SSDs like Samsung 970 EVO, Samsung M.2, WD Blue, Mushkin Reactor, and PNY are widely available on platforms like Amazon and Scan.com.

Hdd Ssd Better

How Can You Prepare for Hard Drive Cloning?

To prepare for cloning a hard drive to an SSD, you should:

  1. Ensure that the old HDD has an operating system (OS) installed and fix any bad sectors on it. Without an OS, you won't be able to boot your computer, and if the cloned SSD contains bad sectors from the original drive, it may not boot either.

  2. Purchase a new SSD that is compatible with your computer's form factor and has enough space to receive your data. However, with the method provided in this post, it's acceptable if the new SSD is not initialized.

  3. Create a backup of the disk if you want to keep your personal data safe. This backup can be used to restore your computer to its previous state if something unexpected happens during the transfer process.

  4. Disconnect any external peripheral devices, such as USB storage devices, external displays, and printers, to ensure that files are transferred from the hard drive to the SSD correctly.

  5. Download and install professional hard drive clone software that is effective and user-friendly. Choosing the right software is crucial, and AOMEI Backupper is recommended in this post.

  6. Obtain a USB-to-SATA adapter if your laptop has only one hard drive bay and you need to connect the new SSD. This is essential for the cloning process.

Professional HDD to SSD Cloning Software - AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper Professional edition is a powerful disk clone software recommended for copying HDD to SSD with a range of advanced features and options. It is fully compatible with the latest version of Windows 11.

💡 Intelligent cloning

It only copy the used sectors by default, which is very convenient to clone to smaller SSD. If your target SSD has sufficient space, you can also choose Sector By Sector Clone to copy all the sectors including the unused space.

🚀 SSD Alignment 

As SSDs have different structures than HDDs, partition alignment along the SSD block boundaries is crucial during the cloning process. AOMEI Backupper takes care of this task and ensures that your SSD's performance is optimized and its lifespan is extended.

⚙ Flexible cloning options

In addition to cloning disks, AOMEI Backupper also provides options for system cloning, allowing users to migrate only the operating system to the target disk, and partition cloning, which is useful when moving data partitions to a new disk.

📃 VSS service

With this advanced technology, you can perform a "Hot Clone", which means that the cloning process can be carried out without interrupting your work.

In addition, this hard drive cloner is compatible with all the leading brands of HDDs and SSDs, including Samsung EVO series, WD SSDs, Crucial SSDs, and more. It has gained widespread recognition from users around the world. So why not give it a try today?

Effortlessly Transfer HDD to SSD in Windows 11/10 -  Youtube Tutorial

You have two options to connect the SSD to your PC - install it in the second drive bay or use a USB-to-SATA adapter. Make sure the capacity of the SSD is sufficient to hold all the data from the source disk. Once you have ensured this, you can proceed to learn how to clone Windows 10 to SSD step by step.

◆ Video Tutorial

This YouTube video can help you gain a better understanding of the cloning process and make it easier for you to follow along when you start the cloning process on your own computer.


◆ Graphic Tutorial 

Take a look at the step-by-step instructions for HDD clone below and give it a try yourself. This method is suitable for cloning a hard disk to a smaller or larger SSD, as well as for cloning a laptop hard drive to an SSD.

1. Download and install the disk cloning software and connect the new SSD.  

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

2. Start it and go to Clone -> Disk Clone option.

Disk Clone

3. Select the hard drive as the source disk. 

Select Source Disk

▶  If you have a dynamic disk, you can find guidance on how to clone dynamic disk on Windows here.

4. Choose the larger or smaller SSD as the destination disk.

Please note that during the cloning process, all data on the destination SSD will be overwritten. Therefore, it is important to create a backup of critical data before proceeding.

Select Destination Disk

5. Tick SSD Alignment to accelerate the reading and writing speed of the SSD disk. Then, click on Start Clone to clone hard drive to SSD.

Start Clone

It is important not to format the old HDD until you can confirm that the new SSD is able to boot successfully.
This software enables you to easily clone SSD to another SSD, regardless of the partition size or disk brand.

Troubleshooting Boot Issues After Cloning Operating System

In the event that your SSD is unable to boot after cloning an operating system, there may be several reasons for this.

  • Incorrect boot order

To fix this, restart the computer, enter the BIOS, set the SSD as the priority in the boot order, and save the changes.

  • GPT/MBR conflict

That may occur if the partition structures of the source disk and target SSD are different or if the boot mode is set incorrectly. To resolve this, ensure that the partition structures are the same on both disks and set the correct boot mode. 

In essence, Legacy boot mode is required for MBR partition style, while EFI/UEFI mode is necessary for GPT. If needed, refer to the instructions on how to switch from Legacy to UEFI.

  • The cloned SSD was installed on a computer with incorrect hardware

You can try restoring a disk image or system image with ‘Universal Restore’ to realize PC to PC cloning

If the cloned SSD was installed on a new computer, activation of the Windows Operating System may be required using the original product key or consulting Microsoft for assistance.

  • The cloning process encountered issues

It is recommended to retry the process.

Answered! FAQs on Windows Hard Drive Cloning

📔 1. What to do when cloned SSD shows wrong size?

If the SSD disk is larger than the original hard drive, the cloned SSD may show the wrong size because the software makes an exact copy of the hard drive and leaves the extra space as unallocated space unless you adjust the partition size.

To fix this, the software offers three practical options in Edit Partitions: Copy without resizing partitions, Add unused space to all partitions, and Manually adjust partition size.

Add Unused Space

📔 2. How do you check if a disk is MBR or GPT partition style?

AOMEI Backupper converts disk types while cloning to avoid booting issues caused by different partition styles.

You can check the partition style of a disk in Disk Management by pressing Win + R to open the Run window, typing diskmgmt.msc, and hitting OK. Then, right-click on the disk you want to clone and select Properties to view the partition style under the Volume tab.

Disk Partition Style

📔 3. How do you boot from cloned SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7?

To boot from the cloned SSD, you can either change the boot order in the BIOS and set the SSD as the primary boot device and then restart the computer, or remove the original hard drive and install the cloned SSD. Afterward, you can set the boot order and boot mode in the BIOS and boot from the cloned SSD.

Change Boot Order

📔 4. How do you clone a hard drive to new PC?

AOMEI Backupper provides a Universal Restore feature that enables operating system transfers to new PCs, even with dissimilar hardware. For instance, you can move Windows 10 to a new computer to upgrade the hardware.

Disk Backup

📔 5. Does a hard drive cloning migrate Windows OS?

Yes, when you copy one hard drive to another, it transfers everything from the source disk, such as the Windows operating system, installed programs, personal files, partition structure, file system, and settings, to the target disk. This process ensures that the cloned operating system is bootable.

📔 6. Does Windows have hard drive cloning software?

Microsoft Windows does not offer disk cloning software, so if you want to clone a hard drive, you will need to use third-party software such as AOMEI Backupper, Clonezilla, or Acronis True Image.


Hard drive to SSD cloning is a convenient and efficient method of migrating your data from a traditional hard drive to a solid-state drive (SSD) without reinstalling the operating system and applications. 

This process allows you to enjoy the benefits of an SSD, such as faster performance, quicker boot times, improved durability, and energy efficiency.

This article has covered the process of cloning a hard drive to SSD on Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7, using AOMEI Backupper. 

AOMEI Backupper offers several advanced features, such as system, disk, partition, and file backup and recovery. It also provides full, incremental, differential, and automatic backups, ensuring efficient backups to protect against data loss.

Additionally, AOMEI Backupper allows for creating a bootable rescue USB or CD/DVD in case of complete system failure. IT technicians can use AOMEI Backupper Technician or Technician Plus to create a portable version for cloning hard drives on any computer.

Teresa · Editor
Joined AOMEI in 2015, Teresa has become an expert in the areas of data backup and migration. She shares her insights on setting up full protection for a Windows PC/Server and performing hard drive cloning. With a sharp focus on the latest technological trends, she ensures that the information shared is consistently aligned with the ever-evolving developments in the industry.