Best Way to Clone Only OS Partition to SSD in Windows 11, 10

This page shows how to easily clone only OS partition to SSD (even smaller) in Windows 11/10/8/7 with secure boot. And you don’t need to reinstall Windows. Please read on to learn more details.


By Lily Updated on August 18, 2023

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The need to clone only OS to SSD


How do I clone just my OS to an SSD?

I recently bought a new SSD drive and want it to be my Windows 7 system drive where I just save all my Windows installation and some programs & games, so that my boot speed and app running speed are faster. The SSD is 120 GB and the system partition is 150GB, but only 50GB are used, so there is plenty of space. I don't know if it's safe to clone this partition to SSD, or if it's possible to clone only OS partition but not whole HDD?

- Question from Microsoft Community

Answer: Cloning is the easiest way to migrate OS to SSD including the operating system, system customized settings, personal files and installed programs on the system drive, thus you don't need to reinstall all of them. And a reliable disk cloning software can ensure your computer boot from the cloned SSD successfully.

Free backup software or reliable disk cloning software?

It's disappointing that Windows does not provide any cloning software, so there are two options you can choose from to clone OS:

Option 1: Use Windows built-in "Backup and Restore" to backup system and then restore it to new SSD.

But you have to know, before you restore system image, you need a place to temporarily save the system image file and this place should not be small in size. That's to say, you will move all the items in the system partition twice, which is time-consuming and boring. If you do not mind, you can choose this method. Please refer to how to restore Windows image to new hard drive for the detailed steps.

Option 2: Clone only Windows to SSD directly with third-party software. 

If you don't want to waste time on these tasks, you can directly use a reliable disk cloning software to clone only C drive to SSD. AOMEI Backupper Professional, designed for Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista, is such software you can rely on.

  • By using it, you can clone only OS to SSD easily without boot issues.
  • Also, you don't need to reinstall Windows and applications.
  • In addition, it solves the insufficient disk space issue of SSD disk by cloning only used sectors on the system partition.
  • More surprising, it is capable of further improving the performance of SSD disk and prolonging its lifespan.

It has a user-friendly interface, so you can complete the cloning job easily within a few clicks. Download and install it on your computer to have a try! It has 30-day free trial, but the clone function can only be demonstrated unless you upgrade to the full version. 

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

How to clone only Windows 10/11 to SSD with AOMEI Backupper

Below will take how to migrate only Windows 10/11 to SSD as an example and show you the detailed steps. Before that, you need to connect the target SSD disk and be sure it can be detected. You should also uninstall programs that are no longer needed to clean up disk space if the new SSD does not have enough space to hold all data on the original disk.

Video Tutorial:

Graphic Tutorial:

Step 1. Start AOMEI Backupper, and click Clone option in the left part of the main interface. Then, select System Clone to copy system.

Choose System Clone

Step 2. System drive and related drives have been selected by default. Select the destination partition where you want to clone your OS partition on and then click the Next to continue.

Select Destination Partition

Note: If the newly selected location is a partition, AOMEI Backupper will automatically pop up a window, prompting you the partition will be deleted or overwritten and inquiring that "Are you sure to continue the operation?". Click "OK" to go on. If there is important data on this partition, we suggest you click "Cancel" to quit current operation and backup files firstly.

Step 3. Now you can see the following interface. Tick SSD Alignment to further accelerate the reading and writing speed of SSD disk and then click Start Clone to go on.

Click Start Clone

>> Make full use of disk space: This option is available if the destination partition is larger than the original C drive. It can help you automatically add unallocated space to the target system drive.
>> Sector By Sector Clone: This option will clone every sector on the source partition(s) whether it is used or not, which will take more time and storage space.

Step 4. When the system clone progress reaches 100%, click Finish to exit the interface. Now your system clone is completed.

System Clone Progress

Step 5. After cloning, you can enter into BIOS and set the new SSD as the first boot disk. Or just replace the old hard drive with the new one. Then boot computer from the cloned SSD.

Besides System Clone, this software still supports cloning the entire disk with Disk Clone feature. And it applies to all kinds of disk cloning tasks, such as clone Windows 10 to new hard drive and clone M.2 SSD to M.2 SSD, etc.


That’s all for how to clone only OS to SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7, which can help you protect system and data on the system partition. But if you want to make an exact copy of all contents on the disk, cloning hard drive to SSD or another HDD with Disk Clone would be a better choice.

 Besides cloning, AOMEI Backupper software is also the perfect way to protect and manage your system, disk, partition and any important data. You can use it to backup Windows 10 to NAS and backup external hard drive to another drive, etc.

Whether you have one computer or multiple computers, AOMEI software is the best solution for you.  For personal use, AOMEI Backupper Professional is good enough to protect data. For business use, you could consider using AOMEI Backupper Technician. It supports unlimited PCs within one company and you can create a portable version of this software to removable device to take it everywhere. You can download this software to discover more useful features.

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.