By Delia / Last update May 6, 2022

Scenario: migrate operating system to new SSD

How do I move my os to my ssd

Hi, today I just got an ssd (367 gb in primary and 100gb in unlocated) to use as secondary drive and use my hdd (1tb, 333gb in use) as primary. I wanted to move the os to the ssd for a faster boot...

With the growing popularity of SSDs, such demands (migrate OS to SSD) are quite common on the Internet. And the main reasons for migrating system from old hard drive to new SSD are as following:

  • Save time and effort. For most of the users, it is a big deal to reinstall the operating system, system settings, updates, drivers, and some other necessary applications, while migration seems much easier.
  • Increase space for operating system. The low disk space error would prompt when there is insufficient space for running programs. OS migration from small partition to bigger SSD is not a bad choice.
  • Upgrade computer’s build. In general, the most prevalent reason of copying OS to SSD is to take full use of SSD and gain better performance.

Benefits of using SSD as boot drive

Why is it a good idea to migrate operating systems such as Windows 11,10, 8, 7 to SSD? Well, many people should have heard that SSD is suitable as a boot disk. To be specific, HDDs read information from the storage platter by moving a mechanical arm with read/write head, while SSDs have no moving parts and the information is stored in a microchip. This difference makes SSDs more quite, more durable, and much faster at startup & operation.

In a nutshell, SSDs can be better boot drives, especially for gamers or users who need to use CPU-intensive software. Installing SSD for OS and HDD for storage is also a good idea.

The only problem is that SSDs are usually a bit more expensive than HDDs with the same capacity. So when moving operating system to an SSD, you may run into a situation where the target SSD is smaller. But don't worry, I will also cover that in the following article.

SSD

Best software to migrate OS to SSD 

Windows Operating System (OS) refers to the environment and command structure within which we can run programs, play games, watch movies, etc, and it is installed on C drive in most cases. However, it won't work if you simply copy and paste the C drive to the new SSD - you need to also take into account those hidden system files as well as boot-related partitions (like EFI system partition and System Reserved partition). Thus, you need to best software for this operation and there are usually two different kinds of software. 

>> Use Windows built-in  backup and restore software - Backup and Restore (Windows 7). It requires a storage device to store backup images temporarily and bootable media to boot computer and perform system image recovery in the recovery environment. This looks well worth a try, but if you want to restore system image to smaller SSD, you will receive the "system image restore failed" error due to different partition layout. 

>> Use universal software for OS migration - AOMEI Backupper. It simplifies the process of system backup and restore, you can restore system image to new SSD without bootable USB or CD/DVD if it is working well. And its intelligent mode allows you to restore system image to smaller SSD without boot issue. Besides, you can use it to migrate OS to smaller SSD with cloning feature, since it's still an SSD cloning software.

In view of this info, it's not difficult to see that AOMEI Backupper is the best software. And I'll introduce you to use the best software to migrate OS to SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista.

How to migrate OS to SSD in Windows 10 or 11 with AOMEI Backupper

Here you will learn both methods to migrate OS to SSD in Windows 10 or 11, namely using system backup and restore and system clone. Well then, which one should you choose?

✍ If your computer only has one slot or it's a laptop, try backup and restore method. 
✍ If you want to use SSD on the new computer, try backup and restore method. Its Universal Restore feature is able to resolve different hardware issues between computers. 
✍ If you want an easier way, try cloning method.

By now, you may have chosen one of these methods and jumped at the chance to try it. Please make some preparations in advance to ensure the target SSD is bootable after restoration and try the following method based on your needs. 

Preparations for SSD OS migration

  • Get a compatible SSD for migration. Most laptops have 2.5-inch drive with 7or 9.5mm thickness, and different interfces, such as, SATA, IDE. Just check your laptop manual for sure. 

  • Install SSD and be sure it's detected. For desktop, you can directly install your SSD alongside existing hard drives. For a laptop with only one slot, you need a SATA-to-USB adapter or M.2 to SATA or M.2 to PCIe adapter, it depends on the disk interface. 

  • Check the used space of both HDD and SSD. You need to make sure your SSD has more space than the total amount of operating system, applications and data in C drive and other system-related drives you're migrating. 

  • Defrag and optimize your disk. This operation can make the cloning process run smoothly. Type dfrag in the search box and select Degragment and Optimize Drives, then select the drive you want to analyze and optimize.

Defrag Optimize Disk

  • Clean up disk to get more space. You can uninstall software you aren't using anymore, get rid of uncessary files via "Disk Cleanup" tool, such as, temp files and Recycle Bin data, Backup large files in the user folder like "My Videos", "My Music", "My Documents" and delete them.

Afterward, you can continue to migrate operating system to SSD. Also, these methods are applicable to migrate OS to HDD in all the Windows systems.

Way 1. Transfer OS to SSD via backup and restore (Free)

This way is to use "System Backup" and "System Restore" to indirectly migrate OS to SSD free. It is more complicated and will cost much more time than Way 2. In the first place, please download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper Standard.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

(PS: This version only works for Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista. If you are currently using server 2022/2019/2016/2012, etc, try AOMEI Backupper Server to migrate OS.)

Step 1. Click "Backup" -> "System Backup" to create a complete system image in Windows 10.

In daily use, you are still able to set schedule backup for continuous data protection. Also, you can cutomize backup method (incremental or diferential) and automatic cleanup methods in the Backup Scheme (supported by Pro version). 

System Backup

Note: If you want to backup the entire disk instead of single system, click on "Disk Backup" as instead.

Step 2. After system backup image has been created, click "Restore" and then click “Select Task”. If your backup image is saved on an external disk, use “Select Image File”. 

System Restore

Step 3.  Select the system backup task from the list and click “Next”.

Select Backup Image

Step 4. Select “Restore this system backup” and check the box before "Restore system to other location" so that you can free migrate OS to SSD. Then, click "Next".

Restore System To Other Location

Step 5. Select a partition on the SSD (here is Disk1) as the restoration destination and click "Next".

Select Destination

Step 6. On the Operation Summary window, check the box before "SSD Alignment" to improve the reading and writing speed of the destination SSD. At last, click "Start Restore" to start migrating OS to SSD with AOMEI Backupper.

If you restore system image to new hardware, the Universal Restore (supported by Pro version) feature is checked by default. It resolves the driver compatible issue between different computer.

Preview Restore To Other Location

Nowadays most laptops have extra bays for installing more than one disk. But if there is only one single drive bay in your laptop and you don't have a SATA-to-USB adapter to connect SSD to your laptop, you can try the following to transfer OS to SSD without an adapter:

However, we suggest you buy a SATA-to-USB adapter which also can be used to connect your HDD to laptop as a secondary drive after the restoration process is completed.

Way 2. Migrate OS to SSD directly by system clone (Easier)

This is the easiest way to transfer OS to SSD, it's to use the System Clone feature in AOMEI Backupper Professional. If you are currently using free version, please upgrade now and registry the professional version with license code.

 With it, you can directly clone system to SSD and boot from it after cloning, no extra devices and restoration required. And you can enjoy the following advantages. 

Its intelligent clone feature only clone used sectors of selected partitions, thus you can migrate OS to smaller SSD. Also, it is able to extend unallocated space to system partition if the target SSD is larger.
It supports cloning SSD disk with different partition style (MBR/GPT). Thus, you can clone disk between MBR or GPT disks or clone OS from MBR disk to GPT without data loss and vice versa.
It is compatible with different disk interface, including 2.5", mSATA, SATA, M.2, NVMe, PCI-E, etc.
It is capable of cloning all brands of SSD disk, migrate os to Samsung ssd, for example. 
No matter which type of SSD, you can further accelerate the writing and reading speed of SSDs and improve its life span via "SSD Alignment".

Then, I’m going to show you two ways to transfer OS to SSD with different editions of AOMEI Backupper. You can choose the one which is most suitable for you. Below is a video tutorial, you can watch it first to understand the whole process intuitively.

Video Tutorial: 

Graphic Tutorial: 

Step 1. Select "Clone" -> "System Clone".

Choose System Clone

Step 2. The source drives (OS drive and boot related drives) are selected by default, and you only need to select the SSD as destination location. Then, click Next.

Choose Destination Partition

Tip: If the SSD is not empty, the program will prompt you all partitions on SSD will be deleted. Click "OK" to continue. Make sure you have backed up important files beforehand.

Step 3. Preview the operation. Tick "SSD Alignment" to optimize SSD performance. Optionally, tick "Sector by sector clone" to clone every sector on the source partition(s) if the target SSD is larger. Finally, click "Start Clone" to move OS to SSD. 

By default, the Make full use of disk space option is checked if you are migrating OS to a larger drive. And it will automatically add unallocated space to the destination partition.

System Clone Preview

The time of OS migration process depends on how much data you have and the read & write speed of both disk. On completion, click "Finish" to exit.

And then, restart your computer and enter BIOS to set boot order, boot from it. You can still use the old hard drive as a secondary drive for SSD backup or data storage. 

Change Boot Order Bios

Besides OS migration, this software also applies to clone HDDs and SSDs, such as, clone hard drive to larger drive, migrate Windows 10 to M.2 SSD, clone M.2 SSD to M.2 SSD, clone SSD to larger SSD, etc.

Tip: No matter which way you use, the original OS won't be removed automatically after restoration or clone. You can manually delete it or reformat the hard drive after your computer successfully boots from SSD.

Verdict

That’s all for the best software to migrate OS to SSD and stepwise guide to doing so. Both methods are helpful, but the cloning method is much easier. Try this if you just want to improve the performance of current computer. And you can further accelerate the reading and writing speed of SSD disk as well as its lifespan. Its advanced edition still support cloning hard drive from Command Prompt for unattended cloning tasks.

But if your computer only has one slot or you want to use it on a new or failing computer, it's suggested to use the backup and restore method for OS migration. It avoids potential problems like cable disconnection, power shortage, and so on. And it resolves system image restore failed errors due to different hardware or partition layout. To deploy system image to multiple computers, try its image deployment tool in the technician or techplus edition. Overall, pick one of them and the correct version of backup software based on your own situation.