By Ivy / Last update June 25, 2021

Why transfer everything from C drive to new SSD?

SSD, with no moving parts, is known for fast reading & writing and startup speed. Thus when your old hard drive is running out of space of performing poorly, you could install a new SSD as boot drive to get smoother experience or extended capacity.

But booting for new SSD requires you to install Windows 10/8/7 on it. If you want to save the hassle of reinstallation, and keep those apps and user files on the old hard drive, you may need to transfer everything from system drive (normally C drive) to SSD directly. 

How to transfer entire C drive including system files and apps?

There are usually two difficult points in transferring C drive to SSD. One is that you cannot manually copy those boot files and hidden files included in system drive; the second is that SSD is usually smaller than HDD under the same budget, so you may face the situation of migrating OS to smaller SSD.

Theoretically, you can implement C drive transfering via backup and restore. That is, backup crucial data first, create a system image, replace old hard drive with SSD, and then restore system image to the SSD (for details, please refer to restore Windows 10 to new hard drive).

This method is capable of migrating system files, but when the source drive and target SSD are of different sizes, models, partition styles, etc. the restoring is also likely to fail. You must spend some extra effort troubleshooting the problems and improving the success rate.

So, if you want to transfer everything from C drive to SSD more effeciently, I would like to introduce a simpler way - system cloning. It requires a disk clone software as prequisite.

Best system drive migration software: AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper Professional is a powerful program that supports cloning the entire C drive to SSD directly, even beetween disks of different sizes and partition styles.

It include 3 cloninig modes to meet your needs: System Clone, Partition Clone and Disk Clone (to clone hard drive to SSD or another HDD). To transfer everything from system drive, just choose the first one.

By default, the intelligent cloning technology will copy only used sectors and therefore allows you to transfer system to smaller SSD. If the target SSD is larger or you want to clone the system reserved system as well, you can sector-by-sector clone to copy all the sectors, including the blank and bad sectors.

This software supports cloning all data disks and system disks, MBR or GPT. So you can even clone MBR to GPT or vice versa directly.

Download it to have a try now (The Clone feature in the free-trial can only be demonstrated, you can upgrade to the full version to implement it):

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Steps: Transfer the entire C drive to SSD effortlessly

Note: All data on target SSD will be overwritten after cloning, so please backup important files before you start.

Step 1. Connect the SSD to your computer. To transfer entire C drive to SSD on laptop, you may need external disk enclosure.

Step 2. Open AOMEI Backupper. Head to Clone > System Clone.

Choose System Clone

Step 3. The system drive will be auto selected, you just need to select the target SSD as destination.

Choose Destination Partition

Step 4. Confirm your operations. Check SSD Alignment to improve the reading and writing speed of the target SSD. Then, click Start Clone.

System Clone Preview Align Checked

After cloning, you can shut down the PC to replace the old hard drive with SSD physically.

If you want to keep the old hard drive as a secondary storage, however, you just need to press a specific key during startup to enter BIOS, and set the cloned SSD as the first boot option. Save the changes, the PC should be able to boot from it automatically.

Change Boot Order


With the help of AOMEI Backupper, you can transfer everything from C drive to SSD in several clicks. No profound knowledge or complex operations required. To reduce the cloning time, you can make a bootable USB/CD/DVD to clone C drive without booting Windows. Other than system clone, you can also transfer files from C drive to D drive with this software.