By Teresa / Last Updated December 9, 2020

Need to install an SSD without reinstalling Windows

An increasing number of computer users realize the advantage of using SSD and would like to upgrade their disk from HDD to SSD. Comparing to fresh install or clean install, they prefer changing a hard drive without reinstalling Windows. In general, two main factors may account for that phenomenon.

  • Fresh install loses personal configurations and some certain programs. Some customized user profile and system settings need to be reconfigured, and everything personal in the system drive will be lost. In addition, some certain programs for specific industry are hard to install the second time.

  • Fresh install is more complicated and error-prone for most PC users. Virtually all of the programs and applications need to be reinstalled after the system installation. You would understand that it is not always as simple as it might sound, if you have experienced installing piles of software once. And the installation of operating system might not smoothly sometimes since many users encounter the install Windows on GPT partition style error.

Surely, other factors could also be the reason. For example, creating bootable media and downloading ISO file are time-consuming when there is no installation disc around. Surely, some users are fond of clean install. Here is a brief guide on how to install Windows 10 to SSD that might be helpful.

Anyway, it is more important to know how to install an SSD without installing Windows now.

How to install an SSD without reinstalling Windows 7 securely?

The SSD installation process to laptop and desktop is a little different, so does to the necessary tools. After installing, choosing proper disk cloning software is also vital. Some tips on cloned SSD won’t boot normally are provided at the end. Let’s get to know them one by one.

Step 1. Connect/install SSD to your computer properly

To realize the task that installs an SSD in laptop without reinstalling Windows, you need to prepare a USB-to-SATA cable or SSD enclosure to connect SSD drive to laptop.

USB-to-SATA cable

To install SSD to desktop, you need to open the main chassis after power down the machine. Then, follow these steps below.

  • Find the SSD power input interface which is flat type.

  • Find the SSD data input/output interface, i.e. SATA cable. It is narrower than hard disk power cord and also flat type.

  • Connect these two to the corresponding interface and the installation is almost done. Put SSD inside the chassis and close it.

Power up the computer and see whether the SSD has been detected by Windows. If no, disconnect it and retry. If yes, let’s move to the next part.

Step 2. Clone hard drive to SSD without reinstalling Windows

It is time to choose a powerful disk cloning software since Windows misses the feature. AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free disk cloning tool that you can rely on. It supports cloning entire disk and only a single partition, and allows you to clone larger drive to smaller one as long as the space is sufficient for used space.

The software is user-friendly and suitable for both professionals and beginners. Free download it to your computer and have a try.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

1. Install and run AOMEI Backupper. Click Clone in the main console and then Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

2. Select the hard drive as the source disk.

Select Source Disk

3. Select the SSD as the destination disk.

Select Destination Disk

4. Tick SSD Alignment in the lower left side and click Start Clone.

Start Clone 2

5. Wait for the process completes and shut down your PC.


  • You have choices to edit partitions on SSD if you click on Edit partitions on the destination disk.

  • Sector by sector clone requires the destination disk is equal or larger than the source disk. That is to say, the SSD should be equal to the hard drive at least.

  • AOMEI Backupper is also free bootable disk clone software which helps you clone hard drive without booting Windows.

  • To clone from/to GPT disk, please turn to AOMEI Backupper Professional. Command line clone is also available in that edition.

Step 3. Boot from cloned SSD securely

You need to do some changes when the cloning completes. It is simpler for desktop because all works have been done at the beginning. You can shut down computer, keep pressing Del key to enter BIOS, change boot priority to the SSD there and restart your computer. However, it is suggested to remove the old hard drive to perform a thoroughly test.

Please follow these steps in laptops. Shut down your laptop in the first place.

  • Disconnect the SSD carefully. Disconnect all other external connections and remove the battery.

  • Open back cover of laptop. You may need the help of a screwdriver.

  • Find the hard drive and uninstall it with the screwdriver. Remove it then.

Remove hard drive in laptop

  • Install SSD to that place and connect each interface accordingly. It should be easy to match since the interface is quite different.

  • Close the back cover, re-connect other devices and reboot your PC.

If everything works fine, you can reformat the hard drive for other purposes. What worth mentioning is that above steps also apply to replacing a hard drive without reinstalling in Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

What if cloned SSD won’t boot successfully?

In a few cases, the cloned SSD won’t boot up normally. In a nutshell, there are several possible causes to explain.

  • Cloned SSD is not the boot device. Change the boot order in BIOS to solve.

  • Boot with the wrong boot mode. Please change Legacy to UEFI if you cloned to a GPT disk.

  • The source disk contains bad sectors which may be cloned to the SSD. Please run CHKDSK to check.

There may be other reasons on the boot up failure. For more information, please refer to cloned hard drive won’t boot.


How to install an SSD without reinstalling Windows 7/8/10? Actually, it is fairly easy so long as you follow the instruction strictly. To clone only system drive(s) to SSD, please upgrade to the advanced version.

AOMEI Backupper is also comprehensive backup and restore solution that provides incremental and differential backup in schedule mode. Keep it installed for another layer of protection.