By Delia / Last update November 17, 2021

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 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.


Common ways of transferring 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).

Therefore, to transfer OS to SSD and make sure it is bootable, there are usually 2 approaches:

▶ Create a full system image onto external drive or network location, and restore it to new SSD.

▶ Perform a disk clone to migrate the entire operating of the hard drive directly to the SSD.

Both methods can be achieved by powerful and reliable Windows 10 migration tool

Professional software to migrate operating system to SSD

The comprehensive yet easy-to-use migration software - AOMEI Backupper will be highly recommended. It can help you move OS to SSD in Windows 11, 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 writing 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.

What to do before transferring OS to SSD

To ensure the target SSD is bootable after restoration, there are some preparations better be done before you start.

  • 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.

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

Step 1. Click "Backup" -> "System Backup" to create a complete system image in Windows 10. Also, this software is applicable to Windows 11/8/7/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. Migrate OS to SSD directly 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, tick the checkbox before "SSD Alignment" to optimize SSD performance. Finally, click "Start Clone".

System Clone Preview

◑ Make full use of disk space: this option is available if you are migrating OS to a larger drive. It will automatically add unallocated space to the destination partition.
◑ Sector by sector clone: this option will clone every sector on the source partition(s) whether it is used or not, which will take more time and storage space.

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.

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.


That’s all for how to migrate OS to SSD with AOMEI Backupper in Windows 11/10/8/7. 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 avoid driver incompatibility 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.