By AOMEI / Last update August 4, 2021

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About the SSD you prepare

SSD is short for Solid-State Drive and it refers to a data storage device that can be used to store data persistently by integrated circuit assemblies. According to different interfaces and form factors, SSDs can be divided into SATA( 2.5 inch format), mSATA, M.2, and PCI-Express. Which type of SSD you need to choose depends on the available ports on your motherboard.


Compared to HDD (Hard Disk Drive), it possesses better performance in reading and writing speeds as well as system security. SSDs are known for fast running speed for games and software that occupies lots of CPU. However, it is usually more expensive than HDD when it comes to the same capacity.

Many well-known SSD manufactures are available on the market, such as Samsung, Western Digital (WD), Corsair, Crucial, Intel, Toshiba, Kingston, etc. Each brand has its own distinctive features and you can choose the most suitable one for your condition by referring to this page: Best SSD in 2021.

Why transfer OS to SSD in Windows 10?

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, moving OS to SSD usually does not mean moving only C drive to SSD especially when there are many other boot-related partitions such as EFI system partition and System Reserved partition.

Some users prefer the arrangement of SSD for OS and HDD for storage to fully take advantage of each sort of hard drive. They clone OS to SSD in order to:

  • Save time and effort. For most of the users, it is a big project to migrate OS by reinstalling the operating system, system settings, updates, drivers, and some other necessary applications. By contrast, OS clone is time-saving and labor-saving.

  • 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.

Once you search on Google, you can find the best solution to transfer OS to SSD is to choose a powerful and reliable Windows 10 migration tool, which can be regarded as a time saver. This software and stepwise guide will be introduced later.

What to do before transferring OS to SSD?

In general, SSDs are smaller than HDDs, so there are some things you need to prepare before transmission. 

  • Get a SSD with correct form factor and interface. 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. 

  • 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. 

  • Ensure your SSD can be deteceted. 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. 

  • 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.

Professional software to migrate operating system to SSD - AOMEI Backupper

The comprehensive yet easy-to-use migration software - AOMEI Backupper will be highly recommended. It can help you move OS to SSD in Windows 10, 8.1/8, 7, XP and Vista while keeping the operating system, applications and settings exactly the same as they should be. What makes it stand out is that you can migrate OS to smaller SSD with secure boot. Besides, here are some advanced features for it.

  •  It supports MBR/GPT partition styles, BIOS/UEFI boot modes, 2.5"/mSATA/M.2/PCI-E SSDs. Thus, you can clone MBR disk to GPT, clone GPT disk to GPT, clone NVMe SSD, clone SATA SSD, etc.

  • It provides different versions of AOMEI Backupper, so you can free migrate OS to SSD with backup and restore method as well as move OS with system clone in the advanced version. 

  • It can accelerate the writting and reading speed of SSDs and improve its life span via "SSD Alignment".

  • It allows you to edit partitions of the target disk to be sure there is no unallocated space while cloning disk to larger disk.

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.

Way 1. Migrate 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 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Click "Backup" -> "System Backup" to create a complete system image in Windows 10. Also, this software is applicable to Windows 8/7/XP/Vista. 

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” or “Select Image File”. Here I choose “Select Task”.

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 AOMEI SSD migration.

Preview Restore To Other Location

Tip for transferring OS from HDD to SSD on a laptop:
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:
Create an image of HDD and save it to a USB drive or network shared folder -> create a bootable media -> swap HDD with SSD -> start up laptop with bootable media -> restore disk image to SSD.
However, we suggest you buy a SATA-to-USB adapter which also can be used to connect your HDD to laptop as secondary drive after the restoration process is completed.

Way 2. Move OS to SSD by System Clone [Advanced]

This way is to use “System Clone” to directly copy OS to SSD. In the beginning, you need to install, launch and register AOMEI Backupper Professional with license code. 

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.

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. At the lower left corner, you can choose the option "Sector by sector clone based on your needs. Tick the checkbox before "SSD Alignment" to optimize SSD performance. Finally, click "Start Clone".

System Clone Preview

The time of OS migration process depends on how much data you have. On completion, click "Finish" to exit. And then, restart your computer and enter BIOS to set boot order. You can still use the old hard drive as a secondary drive for SSD backup or data storage. 

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.

Beside 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.


That’s all for how to migrate OS to SSD with AOMEI Backupper in Windows 10/8/7. The two methods offered in this article can transfer OS to SSD while ensuring the cloned drive boots up successfully. Also, you can use it to copy USB to USB, replace hard drive in ASUS laptop, clone hard drive in Windows 10, etc.

The backup-and-restore method is recommended for laptop users because it avoids potential problems like cable disconnected, power shortage, and so on. Also, you can avoids driver incompatiblility issue with the help of its "Universal Restore" feature.

The OS cloning method is more straightforward and convenient for desktop users. Besides, the Professional edition supports cloning hard drive from Command Prompt, which offers a solution for unattended cloning tasks. Overall, pick one of them based on your own situation.