By Lily / Last update October 12, 2021

Honestly, replacing HDD with SSD is the best way to upgrade an old disk, gain better performance, avoid reinstalling Windows from scratch, and prevent data loss from hard drive failure, system crash, unexpected deletion, laptop stolen, etc. 

In the first place, you need to be aware that SSDs are better than HDDs, regardless of its constructions or working expression. Its faster running speed and quieter working environment give users a better user experience. Therefore, SSDs are a great replacement for HDDs. 

Next, mirroring hard drive to SSD can keep your Windows, previous installed programs and saved data in the new SSD, but reinstalling Windows will erase all applications and data, and will only give you a fresh copy of Windows. Moreover, you still need to configure your preference settings.

Then, let's have a glance at this article and learn how to clone HDD to SSD in Windows 7/8/10/11 effortlessly. 

What you will need to do

Mirroring hard drive to SSD is to make an exact copy from hard drive to SSD and the cloned SSD can be used to boot your computer successfully. Probably you have also heard that the cloned SSD won't boot issue in Windows 7/8/10/11. It may be caused by cloning failure, wrong partition style, boot mode, boot order, etc. Therefore, before you start to clone disk to SSD, you need to get something important and make preparations. 

  • Make sure your SSD has enough space for HDD to SSD cloning. Only when SSD has enough space to hold everything on the old disk, the cloning can succeed. To make it, please delete useless files with "Disk cleanup" or uninstall the programs that are no longer in use. In addition, you can choose to sync local folder to network drive, cloud storage, or external devices, then delete the original copy on your disk.

  • Check the partition style of both HDD and SSD. Type diskmgmt.msc in the search box and hit Enter to access Disk Management, right-click a disk and select Properties, then navigate to Volumes tab and you will see the similar word like "Partition style: Master Boot Record (MBR)".

  • Prepare a USB-to-SATA adapter if your computer is a laptop. Most laptops only have one slot for disk, so you can only connect SSD externally.

  • Backup important data on SSD, because SSD will be overwritten completely during the cloning process.

  • Set right boot mode after cloning. MBR disk only boots from Legacy BIOS while GPT disk starts from UEFI, so please change boot mode before you boot from the cloned SSD.

  • Change the first boot option from HDD to SSD. Please change boot order to the cloned SSD, otherwise your Windows will boot from the original hard disk. 

Free HDD to SSD cloning software

Except for above info, you still need a free but professional disk cloning software like AOMEI Backupper Standard, which can help you clone a hard drive to SSD in Windows 7/8/10/11 effortlessly and boot from it successfully. Why should you use it? Here are some features that you may be interested in, you may wish to take a look before deciding.

  • Ensure secure boot when cloning disk.

  • Support cloning all branded SSDs regardless of its interface (ie: SATA, NVMe, PCIe), such as, WD SSD, Samsung SSD, Sandisk SSD, etc.

  • Clone large HDD to smaller SSD with intelligent clone. 

  • Improve the performance of SSDs and extend its lifespan with "SSD Alignment" feature.

  • Clone all sectors with "Sector by sector clone" feature. 

Is it the software you want? If so, please download AOMEI Backupper Standard and install it on your computer for HDD to SSD cloning.

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

How to mirror hard drive to SSD in simple steps

Disk cloning software AOMEI Backupper Standard can make a big favor for you when you migrate Windows 10/11 to SSD, for example. Before start, please install SSD into an extra drive bay or connect with a USB-to-SATA adapter. 

Then, you can clone boot drive to SSD with the following steps. 

Step 1. Launch this software and click Clone and Disk Clone to put Windows 10/11 on SSD from HDD. 

Disk Clone

Step 2. Then, select the hard drive as the source disk and click Next.

Select Source Disk

Step 3. Then, choose the SSD as the destination disk and click Next.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. In the operation summary window, tick SSD Alignment and it will keep your SSD in the best status, such as, writing/reading speed, lifespan. Finally, click Start Clone to submit the task.

Clone HDD to SSD Windows 10

◒ Don't tick Sector by sector clone if your target disk is smaller, otherwise the cloning process will fail.
◒ The free version AOMEI Backupper only supports cloning system disk from MBR to MBR. If you want to clone GPT system disk to GPT disk, clone MBR system disk to GPT disk and vice versa, you can at least upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional.
◒ If your SSD does not have enough space to hold everything on HDD, you can choose to clone C drive to SSD with System Clone feature (available on AOMEI Backupper Professional). 

How to change boot drive to SSD

Successfully cloning Windows 10/11 from HDD to SSD is only half done. After that, you still need to change boot order and boot mode, then start your computer from the cloned SSD and see if it works. Please don't boot your computer from an externally connected disk, because SATA-to-USB adapter does not provide enough power supply for boot.

Step 1. Open the back cover of your computer, and remove the screws holding hard drive and keep it in a box.

Step 2. Take out the existing hard disk, then install SSD on Windows 10/11 and secure it with mounting screw removed earlier. 

Install SSD on Windows 10

Step 3. Replace the back panel and connect the power cable.

Step 4. Start your computer and press the specific key at the initial boot screen. Usually, it's F1, F2, F12, ESC, etc.

Step 5. Go to the Boot tab and move the cloned SSD to the first boot option.

Step 6 (optional).  Find Legacy/UEFI boot mode configuration and change Legacy BIOS to UEFI or vice versa. 

Step 7. At last, press F10 to save changes and start your computer from the cloned SSD.

Over to you

That's all for how to mirror hard drive to SSD without reinstalling Windows. Please make enough preprations before cloning and then change boot order or boot mode (if needed) after cloning. Also, you can use it to move OS to new SSD (on AOMEI Backupper Professional) or clone partition.

In addition, it's still a Windows backup utility, so you can use it to create system image backup, perform disk image, create incremental/differential backup, restore computer to earlier date, even with dissimilar hardware, create bootable media, etc. It is far beyond those features, and trust me, it is the most powerful software for you to secure your Windows computer and data. Why not give it a try right now?