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What Is System Clone or System Migration?

Just as the name implies, system clone or migration means to make an exactly same copy of operating system (OS) as the original one and transfer it to another storage device, like hard disk drive (HDD), solid state drive (SSD), etc.

What is worth mentioning is that the system migration moves not only your Windows operating system, but also all installed applications, drivers, updates, personal files, and customized settings on the system drive. Usually being completed with professional system migration software.

Therefore, Windows operating system cloning or migration has the same result as creating a system image and restore.

System Clone

What is the difference between disk clone and system clone? Disk clone means clone all data on the selected DISK to a target DISK, including all partitions (C:, D:, E:, etc.), while system clone will only clone OS and could be cloned to a PARTITION or a DISK which is able to save all the files.

Why Is Windows System Clone So Popular?

An increasing number of Windows users trying to migrate OS. Following situations may be the common reasons for that: 

  • For faster running speed and better performance: Maybe you are not satisfied with the performance of your current hard disk drive (HDD), and you want to use a solid state drive (SSD) to replace the old HDD. As everyone knows SSD can offer much faster reading and writing speed than HDD. Compared to install Windows on the new SSD, it's easier to clone OS.

  • For upgrade to a larger new hard disk: As time goes on, you may have collected a large amount of data that occupies your whole disk space. In this case, you can no longer allocate any free space in the same disk to the compact system partition. What's more, transferring all your data to a larger drive requires plenty of time and space. So cloning/migrating operating system and all applications in system drive to a larger hard disk drive is on agenda.

  • For a same well-adjusted and smoothly running operating system: If you intend to buy another computer to replace the old one, but are still fond of the operating system on the old computer, you can seek help from system migration to another computer without installing Windows and applications.

Best Operating System Cloning Software for Windows

AOMEI Backupper is not only a complete backup software, but also a powerful cloning program. Here are some highlights that make this cloning software professional.

  • Hot Clone: allows you to clone Windows OS to SSD or HDD without interrupting any workflow, avoid downtime to the largest extent.

  • Intelligent Clone: allows you to clone operating system to smaller drive like smaller SSD or smaller partition of HDD.

  • SSD Alignment: it is more useful when you migrate OS to SSD since it will accelerate its reading and writing speed and improve its performance.

  • MBR and GPT Cloning: allows you to clone system between MBR and GPT disk without converting.

  • Safely Clone: all system boot related drives will be cloned simultaneously to ensure cloned drive bootable.

  • Ease-of-use: no technical knowledge or skills required. AOMEI Backupper is committed to making each step simple and efficient.

Other merits may be found when you actually use the software. Then let's learn how to perform system migration on earth. The following will take Windows 10 system migration as an example.

How to Clone Operating System with AOMEI Backupper Step by Step


  • Target SSD drive. Install the SSD drive (or HDD) to the computer, and make sure it can be detected. For a laptop, you may need an SATA to USB adapter if there is no extra room inside the laptop to install more disks.

  • System clone software. Install and run AOMEI Backupper Professional or higher editions. It works perfectly on Windows 11/10/8/7/Vista/XP.

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

To clone Windows 10 to SSD or another HDD:

Step 1. Launch and activate system clone software AOMEI Backupper Professional with license code, and then select the "System Clone" option under the "Clone" tab to clone OS.

System Clone

Step 2. Select the destination partition since all boot related drives are selected by default.

Choose Destination

Step 3. In the operation summary window, confirm the operations and click "Start Clone" to perform the system clone.

System Clone Preview


  • Make full use of disk space: automatically add unallocated space to system partition to maximize the use of space on the target partition.

  • SSD Alignment: improve the SSD performance if the destination disk is an SSD.

  • Sector by sector clone: copy every sector of system partition no matter it is used or not, which can be used when you clone an encrypted hard drive, but it will take much more time.

Step 4. When the system clone progress reaches 100%, please click "Finish" to exit the interface.


Boot from the cloned drive

In general, there are two methods to boot computer from cloned SSD drive.

  1. Change boot priority in BIOS. When the system cloning is finished, you can restart your computer to enter BIOS (usually keep tapping Del/F12 upon power on) and change boot order. If you cloned between different partition style (MBR & GPT), remember to switch boot mode as well. 

  2. (Recommend) Replace old disk with cloned drive. This is a complete way to test your system migration. Shut down your computer after the cloning finishes, disconnect the source hard disk, and install the cloned drive to the right disk bay. Then, start your PC.

The source disk could be plugged in another socket as a secondary storage device. Besides system clone, you still can use "Disk Clone" feature to clone system drive along with data partitions to SSD or another hard disk. And you can clone hard drive with different size, such as, clone disk to larger disk, clone larger HDD to smaller SSD.