Why Clone Hard Disk to SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7?
Many people would like to clone hard drive to a larger disk for sufficient storage space, but what's the point to clone hard drive to SSD? How is it superior to HDD? If you are not sure about it, here are 2 main reasons about replacing hard disk with an SSD.
● To get better performance.
If you clone the hard drive to another just for larger capacity, you are very likely to encounter a series of problems in future use. And with the accumulation of data, your computer will gradually slow down as well.
To enjoy a good use experience in a relatively long time, it's recommended to clone your hard drive to an SSD, which is generally faster, quieter, cooler, more durable, and consumes far less power than HDD.
● SSDs are relatively affordable nowadays.
Back in the old days, when you bought an SSD you need to consider whether the benefits outweighed the high price. But now, SSD are much more affordable due to the improvements in manufacturing techniques and increase in supply.
There are variety of options you can choose such as PCI-Express, mSATA, and M.2 SSDs as well as regular SATA SSDs. Many popular SSDs like the Samsung 970 EVO, the Samsung M.2, WD Blue SSDs, Mushkin Reactor SSDs, PNY SSDs, are available on Amazon, Scan.com, etc.
What Do You Need for Hard Drive Cloning?
To copy an HDD to an SSD you will need to do the following things:
1. Make sure the old HDD has OS installed and fix bad sectors on it.
You can only boot your computer from a disk with OS installed. If the operating system is damaged or deleted, you will not be able to boot the computer without a bootable USB (or CD/DVD). The cloned SSD may not boot if the cloned SSD contains bad sectors from the original hard drive.
2. Get a new SSD to transfer the OS to.
Make sure it has right form factor and owns enough space to receive your data. With the method provided in this post, it’s ok if the new SSD is not initialed.
3. Create a backup of the disk.
If you don't want to lose any personal data, make a backup at first. Thus even when something unexpected happens during the transfer process, the backup allows you to restore the computer to its previous state.
4. Disconnect all external connected peripheral devices.
Disassemble devices like USB storage device, external displays, and printers to make sure you can transfer files from hard drive to SSD correctly.
5. Download and install professional disk cloning software.
Effective disk cloning software is the most important part in this tutorial. Pick a right one, the process will be quick and straightforward. Here we recommend you AOMEI Backupper since it's professional and easy to use.
6. USB-to-SATA adapter.
To connect the new SSD with your laptop which has only one hard drive bay, this is a necessity.
Powerful Hard Drive Cloning Software for Windows
AOMEI Backupper, compatible with Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista, is mighty software to clone hard drive to SSD with many brilliant features and options.
★ Intelligent cloning - It only copy the used sectors by default, which is very convenient to clone larger HDD 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 - SSDs have different structures to HDDs so the partitions will need to be aligned along the SSD block boundaries during the cloning process. With this option, AOMEI Backupper will take over the job, and improve SSD's performance as well as prolong its lifespan.
★ Flexible cloning options - Except for disk cloning, you may also perform system cloning to migrate only operating system to the target disk. Partition cloning is also available when moving data partitions.
★ Volume shadow copy service (VSS) - With this fantastic technology, you can do a "Hot Clone", i.e. the cloning process won't interrupt your work at all.
Besides, this software also supports all popular HDDs and SSDs, such as Samsung EVO series, WD SSDs, Crucial SSDs, etc. It enjoys a good reputation among global users. Why not try it now?
How to Easily Clone HDD to SSD in Windows 11/10 (Video & Graphic)
You can either install the SSD in the second drive bay or connect it to your PC with a USB-to-SATA adapter. As long as the space on the SSD is large enough to hold all of the data on the source disk, you can learn how to clone hard drive to SSD in Windows 10 or other systems below.
You may view the YouTube tutorial to get an intuitive understanding.
See the step-by-step guide to HDD to SSD clone below and try it yourself. It is suitable for cloning hard disk to smaller SSD and larger SSD (eg: Western Digital clone hard drive to SSD) as well as cloning laptop hard drive to SSD.
1. Download and install the disk clone software and connect the new SSD. We recommend you use AOMEI Backupper.
2. Run the program and go to Clone -> Disk Clone option.
3. Select the original hard drive as the source disk that you want to clone, and then click on Next.
- All the hard disks that can be recognized by your computer will be shown in the program.
- If you own a dynamic disk, learn how to clone a dynamic disk here.
4. Choose the larger/smaller SSD as the destination disk, and then click on Next.
◆ Note that all the data (if there is any) on the destination SSD will be deleted after cloning, you may need to create a backup for critical data if you don’t want to lose it.
5. Tick SSD Alignment. This option will accelerate the reading and writing speed of the SSD disk. Then, click on Start Clone to clone hard drive to SSD.
- Don't format the old HDD until you can successfully boot from the new SSD.
- You can use it to clone SSD to another SSD, regardless of partition size or disk brand. Cloning SSD to larger SSD or smaller one are both supported.
- This guide is also suitable for hard drive cloning in Windows 7/8/8.1/XP.
📔 Important: cloned SSD shows wrong size?
You may find the cloned SSD shows wrong size if the SSD disk is larger, since this software will make an exact copy of hard drive and leave the extra space as unallocated unless you adjust the partition size of it.
In this software, you could consider cloning and resizing hard drive with the following 3 practical options in Edit Partitions.
👉 Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
👉 Add unused space to all partitions: It will reallocate the unallocated space to each partition of the target disk, appropriate for the disk size.
👉 Manually adjust partition size: It allows you to extend unallocated space to any partition on the destination disk you want.
📔 Important: how to check if a disk is MBR or GPT
AOMEI Backupper helps to convert MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR while cloning, so as to avoid booting issues caused by different partition styles.
MBR and GPT are two different disk types for data storage. And you can check disk properties in Disk Management. The overall steps are below:
- Press Win + R to open the Run window. Then, type diskmgmt.msc and hit OK to open Disk Management.
- Then, right-click the disk you want to clone and select Properties in the expanded menu.
- In the Properties window, select the Volume tab and confirm the partition style. It can be MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table).
📔 Important: how to boot from cloned SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7
Change the boot order to set the cloned SSD as the first boot device, and boot your computer; or remove the original hard drive out and install the cloned SSD, set the boot order and boot mode, then boot from it.
📔 Important: clone hard drive to new PC?
AOMEI Backupper is also professional backup software which helps you protect important data on Windows. Its Universal Restore features also allows you to perform a system transfer to new PC, for example, to move Windows 10 to new computer to upgrade hardware.
What if Cloned Disk Cannot Boot?
Some users find that their SSD won't boot after cloning an operating system. Here are the reasons and how you can fix the issues.
The boot order is incorrect
Fix: Restart your computer, press the prompted key to enter the BIOS, set the SSD as the priority in the boot order, then hit F10 to save the changes.
Fix: it means that the partition structure of the source disk and target SSD is different or the boot mode is set incorrectly. You may get this conflict and could not boot your computer if you’re trying to clone GPT to MBR disk or clone MBR to GPT disk.
Ensure the partition structures are the same on source and target disk. Besides, MBR disk can only boot from Legacy mode in the BIOS while GPT boots from UEFI mode. Set the right boot mode to boot normally. Change Legacy to UEFI boot mode if you are cloning MBR to GPT.
You installed the cloned SSD on a computer with the incorrect hardware.
Fix: If you have a disk image or system image, you can try to restore the image to the SSD with ‘Universal Restore’.
The cloning process ran into issues.
Fix: The cloning process experienced some unexpected issues; therefore, we would recommend you retry the process to see if the error has been fixed.
Besides, if you installed the cloned SSD on a new computer, you need to activate your Windows Operating System with your original product key. Or, you have to consult Microsoft for help.
Frequently Asked Questions on Cloning
1. Can I clone a hard drive to smaller SSD?
It's easy for you to clone a hard drive to a smaller SSD/HDD as long as the SSD/HDD is enough to hold all the data from the source disk, no technical skill required.
2. Does a hard drive cloning migrate Windows OS?
Definitely. Cloning a hard drive is able to migrate everything from the source disk, including Windows operating system, installed program, personal files, partition structure, file system, settings, etc. Besides, the process ensures the cloned OS is bootable.
3. Does Windows have hard drive cloning software?
Microsoft Windows does not provide any disk cloning software. If you want to clone a hard drive, please try the third party hard drive cloning software, like AOMEI Backupper, Clonezilla, Acronis True Image, etc.
4. What should I prepare to clone hard drive to SSD?
An SSD that meets your requirement in capacity and performance; One professional hard drive cloning software; USB-to-SATA adapter (if one slot); A screwdriver (replace disks);
That's all about how to clone a hard drive to SSD in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7. Additionally, AOMEI Backupper has many advanced features, including system backup, disk backup, partition backup, and file backup and recovery.
AOMEI Backupper also supports full backup, incremental backup, differential backup, and automatic (scheduled) backups, which can help you create backups in an efficient manner ensuring that your system is never unprotected and is always against the threat of data loss.
In case of complete system failure, you can choose to create a bootable rescue USB or CD/DVD to boot the system from the Windows PE environment.
If you're an IT technician and want to clone hard drive on any computer portably, you may try AOMEI Backupper Technician or Technician Plus to create portable version.