Guide | Ghost Clone Hard Drive to SSD in 3 Steps

It’s not difficult to ghost hard drive to SSD, and this article will introduce the best ghost clone software as well as the approach to do it step by step.


By Delia Updated on March 1, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

Why ghost hard drive to SSD?

When a hard drive has constant problems or is running out of storage space, you may want to replace it with an SSD to get larger capacity and better performance. But what about the operating system and all the personal files?

If you don't want to reinstall Windows and have a brand new start, the best idea is to ghost hard drive to SSD, which means migrating OS and data directly. Thus you can use the new SSD just as using the old hard drive, but with faster startup and operation speed.

👉 Can you use Norton Ghost to clone hard drive to SSD?
👉 Best ghost clone software for Windows 11/10/8/7 PCs
👉 Steps | How to ghost clone hard drive to SSD easily🔥

Can you use Norton Ghost to clone hard drive to SSD?

The word "Ghost" here comes from a clone and backup tool named Norton Ghost. It provided options including Partition to Partition, Disk to Disk, Partition to Image, Disk to Image, Image to Partition and Image to Disk. That is, you can clone hard drive to SSD, or create a disk image and restore it to another disk.

Norton Ghost used to be so popular that till today many people still refer to clone hard drive or image hard drive as “ghost” disk to disk. But unfortunately, it was discontinued since 2013, because it couldn't keep up with the times. Though you can still download Norton Ghost 15 from the internet (it offers 30-day free trial), it may not work well with the latest OS and device. If you are okay with it, here is how to use Norton Ghost.

Norton Ghost

But for users who need an efficient and up-to-date solution, the following software would be a better choice.

Best ghost clone software for Windows 11/10/8/7 PCs

If you simply want to ghost hard drive as a backup, then you can use a built-in or 3rd party backup utility. But to ghost hard drive to SSD or another HDD, the most efficient way is to use disk clone software.

Among the dazzling array of options, AOMEI Backupper Professional is a remarkable one due to its compatibility and usability. It brings the following advantages to help you ghost disk to disk.

It works on Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista to transfer data between any branded HDDs and SSDs.

You can choose the entire disk or selected partitions to ghost. It's also viable to clone only operating system.

In most cases, the target disk may not be equally large as the source disk and that’s okay because AOMEI Backupper copies only used sectors by default, which allows you to clone larger HDD to smaller SSD. And you can copy hard drive bit by bit with its sector-by-sector clone mode optionally.

As for image backup, this software supports File Backup, Partition Backup, System Backup and Disk Backup. Besides, you can schedule automatic backup to implement the task daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

Steps | How to ghost hard drive to SSD easily 

Before ghosting hard drive, please prepare the following:

💻 Download and install the best ghost clone software. For server users, please try AOMEI Backupper Server.

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

*Clone features in free trial can only be demonstrated. Please upgrade for full functionality.

💾 Install the SSD alongside your hard drive: If there’s only one slot on your laptop, use a SATA-to-USB adapter or SSD enclousure to connect it. Make sure the SSD can be detected normally.

📑Note: AOMEI Backupper supports cloning data disks and system disks of all brands and partition styles, allowing you to ghost MBR to MBR/MBR to GPT or GPT to GPT/GPT to MBR directly. But you still need to ensure the partition style of the target disk is compatible with your boot mode (MBR for legacy BIOS and GPT for UEFI).

How to ghost HDD to SSD:

1. Open the software, go to Clone tab and choose Disk Clone. If you want to ghost OS only, choose System Clone.

Disk Clone

✎If you want to clone dynamic disk, you can ghost system volume via System Clone, and data volumes via Partition Clone separately. 

2. Select the source hard drive and click Next. Then specify the target SSD and click Next to continue.

Select Disk

3. Tick SSD Alignment to accelerate the reading & writing speed of the target SSD, and click Start Clone to implement the hard drive ghosting.

Select Destination Disk

Other disk ghosting feature: 
✔ Sector By Sector Clone: Copy all the sectors including empty sectors and bad sectors and therefore create an intact copy of the hard drive. It applies to cloning disk to larger or equal-sized disk.
✔ Edit Partition: Clone and resize hard drive to prevent cloned drive not show full capacity after cloning disk to larger disk, either HDD or SSD. If the source and destination disk has different partition style, you can still use it to convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT or vice versa. 

After the completion, you can shut down the computer, replace the HDD with the cloned SSD and boot from it.

Alternatively, you can use SSD for OS and HDD for storage. This doesn’t require you to replace the hard drive physically, just restart the PC, press the required key to enter BIOS and set the SSD as the first boot option.

Change Boot Order

After booting from the SSD successfully, you could wipe hard drive for reuse to free up more storage space. Just switch to Tools tab and select Disk Wipe to proceed.

Disk Wipe


To ghost hard drive to SSD on laptop or desktop, the easiest solution is using the best ghost clone software like AOMEI Backupper. Its powerful clone feature allows you to ghost larger HDD to smaller SSD, or SSD to larger SSD.

You can enjoy more advanced features: edit partitions, create portable version of this software and ghost hard drive on unlimited PCs or servers. 

In addition to cloning, you can use the backup features of AOMEI Backupper to image partition, OS or the entire disk. With it, you can transfer system image to new hard drive or even another computer with secure boot.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.