How to Replace/Upgrade/Change C Drive with SSD in Windows

Find your computer works slower and slower and want to replace C drive in your computer? Get a quick guide to complete the task from this page.


By Lily Updated on June 18, 2024

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Need of replacing C drive in Windows 11/10/8/7

In general, C drive is the main hard disk partition which contains the operating system and the related system files. It is also used to store applications and their related files. You see the importance of C drive and you may need to replace C drive in the following situations:

  • Your current drive has experienced a hardware failure and you can’t fix it.

  • Your C drive is on an HDD and you want to upgrade hard drive to SSD to speed up your computer.

  • Your C drive is running out of space and you need to replace C drive with a larger drive to get more capacity.

Then, how to change C drive to another drive efficiently? Please read on.

👉 Preparations for upgrading C drive in Windows 7/8/10/11
👉 How to replace/upgrade C drive to SSD (5 steps)🔥
👉 FAQs about replacing C drive

Preparations for upgrading C drive in Windows 7/8/10/11

Surely you can replace the current drive with a new drive directly and do clean installation of Windows. However, the whole process is time-consuming and you will need to reinstall all the applications and transfer important data from the old drive to the new drive before you can use your computer as usual.

To avoid system and application reinstallation and finish data transfer simultaneously, you can choose to clone C drive to another drive. There are several essential steps to complete before initiating the upgrade.

✅Connect target SSD

Connect the target SSD to your computer and make sure it is detected. You can connect it internally in an extra drive bay or connect it externally via a SATA-to-USB cable.

USB-to-SATA cable

✅Backup files

Backup files on the destination SSD, because it will be overwritten during the cloning process.

backup to external hard drive

✅Pick C drive cloning software

AOMEI Backupper Professional is the best disk cloning software for Windows. You can benefit a lot from its powerful functions:

✦ It supports all Windows PC operating systems including Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP.
✦ It offers the Disk Clone feature which enables you to transfer the operating system, applications and personal files from the old hard drive to a new HDD or SSD.
✦ It is embedded with the System Clone feature to help you transfer only OS to another drive.
✦ It provides the Partition Clone feature. You are able to copy a specific partition to another drive using this feature.
✦ The cloning process will run in the background, so you can work on the computer during the process.

Download AOMEI Backupper now and install it on your PC.

AOMEI Backupper

Easiest hard drive clone software for Windows PC.

How to replace/upgrade C drive to SSD (5 steps)

For more and more people choose SSDs as their main hard drives, I’ll show you how to replace C drive with SSD using AOMEI Backupper below.

Step 1. Choose Disk Clone in AOMEI Backupper.

Run AOMEI Backupper. Click “Clone” on the left pane and select “Disk Clone”.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Choose system disk (C drive).

Select the current system disk as the source disk and click “Next”.

Source Disk

Step 3. Choose destination disk.

Select the destination SSD you have connected to your PC and click “Next”.

Destination Disk

Step 4. Launch the cloning process.

Tick “SSD Alignment” to improve the performance of the target SSD. Confirm the operation and click “Start Clone”.

Start Clone

Step 5. Boot from the cloned drive.

After the cloning process is finished, you can either change boot order in BIOS or replace the current drive with the target SSD to boot from the target drive.

✍ Notes:

  • If you are replacing C drive with a larger drive, you can click Edit Partitions > Add unused space to all partitions in Step 4 to extend partitions on the target drive automatically.

Add Unused Space

  • If you are replacing C drive with a smaller SSD, you can clone only C partition and system-related partitions to the target drive using System Clone

  • If you are cloning hard drives in different partition types (MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR), you should then change boot mode in BIOS to boot from the cloned drive.

🎬Video guide

If you want a more intuitive how-to guide, watch the video below.

FAQs about replacing C drive

1. Will replacing the C drive erase all my data?
No, it will not erase your data if you use specialized cloning software like AOMEI Backupper to clone your C drive.
2. How long does it take to replace the C drive?
The time it takes can vary depending on factors like your computer's hardware, the size of data you need to transfer, and the method you choose (cloning or fresh install). Generally, it could take anywhere from an hour to several hours for the whole process.
3. How do I know if my C drive is bad?
The primary indicators of a failing hard drive include an overheating computer, strange noises (like clicking or whirring sounds), and data or file corruption.


Whether you want to replace C drive with an SSD or a larger HDD, AOMEI Backupper can meet your demands perfectly. And it applies to all kinds of HDDs and SSDs. You are able to clone Windows 10 to new hard drive, clone Intel SSD to another, migrate Windows 10 to M.2 SSD, clone NVMe SSD, etc.

Apart from the clone feature, AOMEI Backupper owns the functions of backup and restore. You can use it to create image backups for the system, disk, partition or even selective files, and you can restore them whenever it is needed. If you want to backup files in Windows Server 2019, you may try AOMEI Backupper Server. Go for this tool right now!

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.