By Teresa / Last update August 3, 2021

Can I install an SSD without reinstalling Windows?

With the popularity of SSDs, more and more computer users would like to replace boot drives with SSDs for better performance. But at this point you might be wondering, how to install Windows 10 to SSD securely?

It may be a good idea to create an installation media and perform clean install on the SSD, but those customized user profile, system settings, personal files and installed programs won't be brought to the new SSD. Besides, the installation may not go smoothly since many users haved encountered various problems, not to mention the time spent on this whole process.

Therefore, some users would prefer to install SSD without reinstalling Windows, and this could actually be done with disk cloning software. Here's a quick guide to show you how to accomplish it.

SSD

How to install an SSD without reinstalling Windows securely?

The SSD installation process to laptop and desktop is a little different, so does to the necessary tools. For this part, you could refer to some installation tutorials of specific brands and models on Youtube.

After installing, choosing proper disk cloning software is also important. You could follow the guide to have a try, and some tips on cloned SSD won’t boot are also provided at the end.

Step 1. Connect/install SSD to your computer properly

Generally, you just need to install the SSD alongside the old hard drive. Open the main chassis after power down the machine, and then go through these steps:

  • 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. 

Note if you laptop has only one slot, you need to prepare a USB-to-SATA cable or SSD enclosure to connect the SSD as an external drive.

USB-to-SATA cable

Step 2. Clone hard drive to SSD without reinstalling Windows 10/8/7

It is time to choose a powerful disk cloning software since Windows lacks the feature, and AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free yet powerful one that you can rely on. It supports cloning entire disk or only selected partition (s), 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 SSD cloning freeware - AOMEI Backupper Stanard. Click Clone in the main console and then Disk Clone.

If you want to clone only OS to SSD, please choose System Clone (available in Professional edition).

Disk Clone

2. Select the current system drive as the source disk.

Select Source Disk

3. Select the new SSD as the destination disk.

Select Destination Disk

4. Tick SSD Alignment to accelerate the read & write speed of the target SSD if you are cloning hard drive to SSD, and click Start Clone to execute the operation.

▪ You can choose Edit Partitions (available in Professional edition) to resize partitions and assign unallocated space on a larger destination disk.
▪ If your target SSD is larger or equal-sized, you can choose Sector By Sector Clone to create an intact copy of the hard drive, including the blank and bad sectors.

Start Clone 2

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

Notes:

  • The Standard edition supports cloning all the data disks and MBR system disks. If you want to clone system disks from GPT to GPT, MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR, please upgrade to Professional edition.
  • This software is still a M.2 SSD cloner, thus you can use it to migrate Windows 10 to M.2 SSD, clone M.2 SSD to M.2 SSD, etc.

Step 3. Boot from the cloned SSD securely

For PCs with more than one slot, you don't necessarily have to remove the old hard drive right now. Just shut down the computer, keep pressing the specific key (depends on manufacturer) to enter BIOS, set the SSD as the first boot option and save the settings. If your PC successfully boot from the cloned SSD, you can choose to keep the HDD for storage, or remove and discard it completely.

For laptops with only one slot, you need to replace the hard drive with SSD physically. Shut down your laptop and try following steps:

  • 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.

Conclusion

How to install an SSD without reinstalling Windows 7/8/10? Actually, it is fairly easy so long as you follow the instruction strictly.  AOMEI Backupper enables you to migarte the entire disk or only system drive(s) to SSD with several clicks. Transferring Windows 10  to NVMe SSD is a great option, because this mode of SSD has the fastest writing and reading speed.

As a comprehensive data protection software, AOMEI Backupper also provides complete backup and restore features, like schedule backup, incremental and differential backup, restore system to different computer, etc.