By Lily / Last update December 13, 2021

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Need help: how to transfer operating system to new drive without reinstalling

"I have an old 120GB hard disk drive, and now I want to upgrade hard disk by transferring operating system to another hard drive without reinstalling everything because I am tired of the low disk space problem. It makes storing new data and installing new applications impossible. The most unbearable point is that the computer works at a very low speed. So is it possible to transfer OS to another or new hard drive without reinstalling?"

Transfer OS to Another Hard Drive

Of course, the answer is Yes, you can definitely migrate OS to new drive without reinstalling Windows and application you will use in the near future. But Windows won't make this process simple, so you need to turn to third-party software for help. The simplest way is to clone entire OS to a new hard drive or SSD to gain big capacity or better performance.

Many users have reported the disk won't boot after clone, and this isn't the only case you may encounter during the process. Thus, to transfer OS to new hard drive while ensuring secure boot, you need a professional OS migration software, here I strongly recommend you AOMEI Backupper Professional. For details, please keep reading to learn more. 

Why transfer OS to new hard drive?

Speaking of why transfer OS to another hard drive, there are two main reasons.

1. The system partition or entire disk is out of space. This is a very common reason for all computer users. In general, the disk comes along with your computer is very smaller. In addition, you may install many new programs and add a larger number of new files to your computer. At last, you will get a low disk warning message.

2. The computer runs slowly and you want to get better performance. After using a computer for a period of time, you may find that your computer does not run smoothly as before. Then, you may want to transfer operating system to new drive or directly move OS to SSD.

Best OS migration software to clone OS to new drive

AOMEI Backupper Professional has been regarded as one of the best system clone software to help you clone OS to another hard drive in Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista and resolve problems for cloning. It is widely used by 50+ million users, so please feel free to use it. It provides two ways for successfully cloning OS, System Clone and Disk Clone. You can choose the way as per your needs.

  • System Clone: It lets you transfer only OS to new drive. All system-related drives like system reserved partition or UEFI partition will be cloned simultaneously. Furthermore, system customized settings, personal files and installed programs on the system drive will be copied to the target drive as well. Thus, you could get a similar Windows operating environment.
  • Disk Clone: It allows you to move OS to new drive by cloning entire disk. It uses "intelligent clone" feature by default to help you clone large hard drive to smaller drive, as long as the target space is sufficient for copied stuff. If you want to copy every sector of the selected system drive (usually C: drive) to the target, you can specify a sector-by-sector clone.

In addition, if the target disk is larger, you can easily make full of disk space or clone and resize hard drive without leaving unallocated space at the end of disk. And you are allowed to convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT (if you clone entire disk). With the help of such a powerful cloning tool, you can accomplish the OS moving task effortlessly. Then, let's see the entire steps to move OS to new drive.

Connect your new hard drive for cloning

Before you start to move OS to new drive or SSD, you need to install or connect the target hard drive to your computer obviously and make sure it is detected. 

If the computer is a desktop computer, you can install it internally using the extra slot. But if your computer is a laptop, you will need a USB cable, adapter or enclosure to connect the target drive for cloning.

In most cases, the hard drive uses a SATA slot, but it is safe to check before getting a new hard drive. Because there are other disk interfaces, such as, M.2, PCIe, IDE, SCSI, etc.

Transfer OS to another hard drive in Windows 10, 11 | 3 steps

Here you will use professional disk cloning software to move OS to another drive in Windows 10/11. And it also applies to other Windows systems, such as, Windows 7, Windows 8, etc. Below are the detailed steps:

Step 1. Click the download button below to download AOMEI Backupper Professional and install it. Then, launch this software, select Clone and System Clone in order.

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

System Clone

♥ The "System Clone" feature in the free trial software can only be demonstrated. To make the cloning process proceed, you need to upgrade to the full version of AOMEI Backupper Professional. 
♥ If the target disk has enough space, you could consider cloning hard drive to SSD with Disk Clone feature. It will include OS and all the installed programs and personal data on the non-system partitions.

Step 2. The program will automatically select source partitions including OS drive and other boot required partitions. Therefore, you just need to select another hard drive as destination location (here is Disk1), and then click Next.

Destination Disk

Note: If the destination disk is partitioned, a window will pop up to prompt that this partition will be deleted or overwritten. Therefore, if there is any important data, please backup files in advance.

Step 3. On the Operation Summary window, you can preview the operation (source partitions and target hard drive) and set customized settings. If there is no problem, click Start Clone to clone OS to new drive. When it’s completed, click Finish.

>> Please tick Make full use of disk space if you are currently cloning OS to larger hard drive. It can extend the size of your system partition by using adjacent unallocated space.
>> It's suggested to tick SSD Alignment if you are migrating operating system to SSD. It can improve SSD’s performance and prolong its lifespan.
>> The Sector By Sector Clone mode will copy all the sectors no matter used or not. If you want to migrate OS to new drive with only used sectors copied, just keep the default intelligent mode.

Make Full Use of Disk Space

Note: If you want to know how to transfer operating system from one computer to another with dissimilar hardware, please refer to clone old PC to a new one.

★ Tip on migrating OS to new drive or SSD in Windows 10/11 for free:

Honestly, cloning is the easiest way to move OS to new drive or SSD. However, some users want a free way to complete this process. In this case, you need to use another way - Backup and Restore. It's available in the free version of AOMEI Backupper. To move OS from one hard drive to another on the same computer, the entire process should be:

1. Download and install AOMEI Backupper Standard. Then, go to the Backup tab and select System Backup to create a system image by following its on-screen instruction. 

2. Go to Tools and select Create Bootable Media to create a bootable media. It can help you boot your computer when it's unbootable.

3. Boot your computer from the bootable media or just start it normally. Open this software, select Restore and Select Task or Select Image File to find the backup image and restore it to another hard drive.

Boot from the new hard drive

Step 1. Shut down your computer completely.

Step 2. Install the new hard drive at the location of the original drive using screwdrivers.

Step 3. Then, replace the computer back cover and connect the power cable. 

Step 4. Start your computer and press the specific key to enter BIOS, you will see it at the initial screen.

Step 5. Go to the Boot tab and change boot order for the new hard drive. After that, save changes and restart to see if it boots from the new drive.

Boot from the Cloned Hard Drive


That’s all for moving OS to another drive. AOMEI Backupper Professional is a powerful OS cloning tool which makes OS or disk transferring easier for common users. It still provides users with many helpful features, such as, Make full use of disk space, SSD Alignment, Sector by sector clone, etc. And it ensure that you can successfully boot your computer from the cloned hard drive. Also, it still works for moving system reserved partition to another drive.

For advanced users, the software also provides command line clone, i.e. clone hard drive from command prompt, to complete unattended task. For administrators of companies, the Server edition is capable of OS migration to new drive on Windows Server operating systems. Go for it and enjoy your new journey.