at Lena / Last update July 28, 2021

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The need to transfer system image to new hard drive

As time goes by, your hard drive space may become too small so it runs slower and slower. To get rid of this situation, you are planning to upgrade to a larger hard drive to make computer perform better. Many users will choose to re-install the operating system on the new hard drive. But system reinstallation is a time-consuming job. What’s more, some users may can’t find the installation CD anymore.

As is known to all, Windows allows users to create a system image backup that contains data and applications required for Windows to run. It includes Windows and your system settings, programs, and files. When your hard drive fails, you can restore your computer with the system image to get everything back to normal. Then an idea appears in your mind: is it possible to directly transfer system image to new hard drive? Well, the answer is Yes.

Generally, you can copy system image to new hard drive with the built-in tool of Windows. For Windows 10/8 users, you can create a recovery drive with your USB and then use it to restore Windows 10 image to on new hard drive. But for Windows 7 users, you need to prepare a CD or DVD. Because you should create a system repair disc that will be used to boot your computer normally. Or if your computer has no optical drive, one third-party software can also help you finish the job. Just refer to Method 2 to get it.

Method 1. Transfer system image to new hard drive with built-in tool

Generally, to move system image to new hard drive, you should first create a system image of your old hard drive and then restore windows system image to new hard drive.

Step 1. Search Backup and Restore in the search bar and click it. Click Create a system image on the left side. Choose the destination to save the backup. You can choose to save the system image to the DVD if you have one. Or you can save it on one external hard drive. Then click Next to continue.

System Image Backup

Step 2. Confirm the backup settings and click Start backup to start. When the process completes, you will be asked if you want to create a system repair disc that can help to boot your computer. Please click Yes to make one if you have a CD/DVD. Or you can create bootable disc with your USB.

Step 3. Shutdown the computer and replace the old hard drive with the new one and boot computer from the system repair disc. Follow the guide to restore system image to new hard drive.

As you can see, it’s kind of complicated to copy system image to new hard drive with the built-in tool. If you don’t mind the trouble, it’s a workable way worth trying. 

In fact, you can use more flexible software like AOMEI Backupper Professional to help you copy windows system image to another drive. It provides users two solutions to migrate system, including backup & restore options, directly clone and boot from the new hard drive.  

The first method similar to the built-in tool, but it has more useful features and less restrictions, such as, transfer disk image to new hard drive, backup to network drive with all versions, differential backup to backup only changed data, USB plug in to backup data when connected etc. The second method is much simpler, because the cloned disk can be directly used to boot your computer without restoring. If you are interested in, just keep reading to get the method.

Method 2. Backup and restore windows system image to new hard drive

AOMEI Backupper has a simple and easy-to-use GUI, so anyone, even non-technical users, can move system image to new hard drive without effort. Here are some advantages of it.

  • It supports all Windows system, including Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista. 
  • It supports different backup and restore solutions, you can choose to backup system or disk. Also, you can backup files or partition per your needs.
  • It supports multiple backup options, so you can schedule backup system/disk/partition/files at daily/weekly/monthly, or enjoy advanced feature, such as USB plug in or Event triggers. Also, you can backup only changed files with incremental or differential backup.
  • It supports all the branded storage device, such as, external hard drive, USB drive, network drive, NAS, cloud drive like Google Drive, etc.

Now install AOMEI Backupper Pro on your computer and prepare a new disk to store backup image. Then, follow the steps below to copy system image to new hard drive in a few clicks, here take Windows 10 as an example.

Download Free Trial Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper. First create a system image and then create a bootable media for booting your computer.

System Backup

Step 2. Insert the bootable media and enter the BIOS mode to select where to boot from. And then you will get into the interface of AOMEI Backupper.


Step 3. Click Restore and Select Image File to find your backup image and select it. 

Select Image File Winpe

Step 4. Tick Restore this system backup to restore to original location and click Next.

Restore Entire Backup

Step 5. Confirm the operation and click Start Restore to restore windows 10 system image to new hard drive.

Preview Restore

Note: If you want to perform windows 10 system image restore to different computer, it's suggested to check "Universal Restore" feature. If not, your computer may fail to boot owing to incompatible drivers issue.

Method 3. Move system image to new hard drive directly

Among the three methods, this is the simplest way to copy Windows system image to another drive. Why I say so? Let's have a closer look at how it works.

Step 1. Connect your new hard drive to your PC. Launch the tool and click Clone and then choose System Clone to transfer OS to new hard drive.

Choose System Clone

Step 2. The related system partitions are selected by default. Select a partition of the new hard drive as the new location. Then click Next to continue.

Choose Destination Partition

Step 3. Confirm the operation and click Start Clone to make it.

System Clone Preview Both Checked

• If you choose Sector by sector clone, it will clone all sectors no matter it is used or not. Please make sure the destination partition is equal to or larger than the space of the system.
 If your new hard drive is a solid-state disk (namely SSD), you can click SSD Alignment to accelerate the reading and writing speed of the SSD.
 If you want to gain best performance from the cloned drive, it's suggested to transfer Windows 10 to NVMe SSD. This also applies to other operating systems.

Step 4. After cloning, you can enter into BIOS and set the new hard drive as the first boot disk, then boot computer from it. Or just replace the old hard drive with the new one.


That’s all for how to transfer system image to new hard drive. Indeed you can make it with the Windows built-in tool, but it’s complicated and time-consuming. If you want more advanced features or prefer an easy and quick way, AOMEI Backupper Pro is a better choice. It can also be your best assistant in helping you backup your computer in the coming days.

If you want to protect unlimited computers within your company, you can pick AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you are also allowed to deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network. Also, it allows you to backup, restore, clone on different computers without installing first by creating portable version of this software.