[2 Ways] How to Clone Windows to Another Drive Easily

This article covers two methods to help you clone Windows to another drive and provides detailed steps on how to clone the operating system to a new drive.


By Jonna Updated on June 27, 2024

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Can I Clone Windows to Another Drive?


How do I copy my Windows 10 to new SSD?

I have bought a larger SSD for my Windows 10 machine and plan to copy the content of the Windows 10 system onto the new SSD and eventually replace the system disk with this new SSD. Do any allow the cloning of Windows OS to a new SSD? If so, are the instructions easy to understand & follow?

Sure, you are able to copy Windows to another drive. When you need to migrate your operating system to a new SSD or upgrade your hard drive, knowing how to migrate Windows to another drive is essential. This process ensures that all your files, settings, and applications are transferred seamlessly, without the need to reinstall everything from scratch. On this page, we will present two solutions for you to clone Windows 11/10 to another drive without reinstalling.

Clone Windows to Another Drive

How to Clone Windows to Another Drive Easily in 2 Methods

To copy Windows to another SSD or hard drive seamlessly, you can try Windows clone software or utilize a backup & restore solution. Both of the two save you the difficulty of reinstalling the Windows operating system, installed programs, or personal files/folders. Let's get into business now.

Way 1. Copy Windows OS to Another Drive via Cloning Software - Easy & Quick

Using specialized cloning software is the easiest and most efficient way to clone Windows to another drive. It mainly covers 3 steps: connect a new disk to computer >> clone Windows to the new drive >> boot from the new drive. One highly recommended tool for this purpose is AOMEI Backupper. It is embedded with various cloning and backup & restore features like:

AOMEI Backupper
Easy Hard Drive and SSD Cloning Software
  • It offers Disk Clone for copying entire disk, including the operating system, applications, and all data, System Clone specifically designed for cloning only the Windows OS, and Partition Cloning for specific partition migration to new drive.
  • It utilizes Intelligent Clone to copy only used sectors by default, useful for cloning larger drive to smaller SSD; Sector by Sector Clone is available as well.
  • It provides complete backup options like system backup, disk backup, partition backup, and file backup for quick restore, and allows you to create Windows bootable USB to boot your PC when it is crashed.

For how to copy boot drive to new drive or migrate only the Windows OS to new disk using AOMEI Backupper, you could download and install this software on your computer and follow the guidelines below:

Step 1. Connect New Drive to Computer

If your computer has more than one slot, install the new drive alongside the old drive; if there is only one slot, connect it using a USB to SATA adapter. Please make sure it is detectable.

Note: As all data on the new drive will be overwrought after cloning, please backup the disk in advance if there are crucial data.

Step 2. Clone Windows to a New Drive

  • Run AOMEI Backupper, and go to Clone. If you want to copy entire Windows disk, choose Disk Clone. To transfer only Windows OS to new hard drive/SSD, opt for System Clone instead. (here we take Disk Clone as an example).

Choose Disk Clone

  • Select the old disk on Windows 11/10 as the source disk and tap on Next. Then, choose the new drive as the destination disk and click Next.

Choose Destination Partitioned HDD

  • If the new drive is an SSD, tick SSD Alignment to optimize its performance and extend its lifetime. Then, click on Start Clone.

Disk Clone Preview

Step 3. Boot Computer from the Cloned Drive

When the cloning process is finished, you can shut your computer > remove the old hard drive and install new hard drive on the drive bay > reboot computer and enter BIOS to set boot priority to the new drive under the Boot tab.

Change Boot Order Bios

Way 2. Migrate Windows to Another Drive with System Restore - Free

Is it possible to clone Windows to SSD without third-party software? Yes, you can rely on the in-built Windows Backup and Restore utility for Windows migration from old drive to new drive. It needs to operate at least 5 steps to complete Windows migration to new drive: create a Windows image >> create a system recovery drive >> connect the new drive to computer >> boot PC from repair disc and restore system image >> restart your computer.

You can follow the steps below to learn how to copy Windows to another drive free:

Step 1. Open Control Panel, go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7), click Create a system image on the left, and choose a path to save the system image (an external hard drive is suggested).

Create a System Image

Step 2. To move Windows to a new SSD or HDD successfully, you need to boot the computer into Windows advanced options for System Image Recovery using a Windows recovery media or repair disc. To get this, you can use Create a recovery drive or Create a system repair disc.

Step 3. Replace your old hard drive with the new drive. Connect the bootable media and external disk containing system image. Then, boot your computer from the repair disc or USB.

Step 4. Then select Repair your computer > Troubleshoot > Advanced options > System Image Recovery subsequently.

System Image Recovery

Step 5. On the Re-image your computer screen, check Use the latest available system image and click on Next.

Use The Latest Available System Image

Step 6. Select Format and repartition disks, and click Next > Finish > Yes to restore Windows installation to target drive.

Format Repartition Disks

Benefits of Cloning Windows to New Drive/SSD

Directly cloning Windows to a new drive offers several benefits:

  • Seamless transition: Cloning ensures all your settings, applications, and files remain intact, avoiding the hassle of reinstalling everything.
  • Improved performance: Upgrading to an SSD significantly boosts system speed, reducing boot times and improving overall performance.
  • Increased storage space: Moving to a larger drive provides more room for applications, files, and data.
  • Data safety: Cloning is a reliable way to back up your system and safeguard against drive failures.

FAQs about Copying Windows to Another Drive

#1. Can you just clone Windows 10 to SSD?

Yes, you can directly clone Windows 10 OS to an SSD using cloning software like AOMEI Backupper with its System Clone function. This ensures all your system files, applications, and settings are transferred without reinstalling the operating system.

#2. Does Windows 10/11 have a cloning tool?

Windows 10/11 does not have a built-in cloning tool. However, it offers system image backup and restore, which can be used to migrate your system to a new drive.

#3. Is it safe to clone Windows from HDD to SSD?

Yes, it is safe to clone Windows from an HDD to an SSD. Cloning software ensures data integrity and creates an exact replica of your system, making the SSD bootable without data loss.

#4. Does cloning a hard drive copy everything?

Yes, cloning a hard drive copies everything, including the operating system, applications, system settings, and data. This process creates a copy of the source drive on the destination drive, which makes it ready for immediate use.

#5. Is it better to clone or fresh install Windows?

Cloning is quicker and retains all your files and settings, while a fresh install provides a clean start but requires reinstalling all applications and restoring files from backups. The best choice depends on your specific needs.

Final Thoughts

Cloning Windows to another drive is an effective way to upgrade your computer's storage while maintaining all your data and system settings.

However, whether you choose to use dedicated cloning software like AOMEI Backupper or the built-in system restore feature, both offer reliable ways to migrate your system. But cloning ensures a seamless transition. Besides, this software offers other powerful functions like backing up Windows files to external hard drive, network drive, and other locations.

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.