Quick navigation:

?What does system migration mean

A system migration(also known as system clone) refers to a process of transferring the current operating system, data, and software to a new hard drive and make it bootable, so you can use it to replace the old hard drive without reinstalling Windows. Also, you can use it as a data backup to prevent any disaster.

To be specific, if it is an MBR, system migration software will transfer system partition (C: drive) and system reserved partition. If it is a GPT disk, besides system partition, EFI system partition and MSR partition will also be transferred to the new disk. 

Honestly, this operation gives your computer a new life, which is also a brand-new experience for you, faster boot time, browsing multiple webs smoothly, playing games without stucking, etc. Have you not had this experience for a long time? To make it, you could try system migration with a professional system migration software.

Simple yet professional system migration software - AOMEI Backupper Professional

To migrate system and data on it, you need a professional system migration software which can take care of everything leaving you a few clicks to confirm the process. Here I strongly recommend you AOMEI Backupper Professional, which can help you easily and quickly migrate OS to larger HDD or smaller SSD per your needs. What’s really amazing about it is its ability to migrate system between MBR and GPT disks without converting partition style, and vice versa.

By default, this software only clones the used sectors on the system partition, thus it's the best way to migrate OS to smaller SSD. Also, you are allowed to use its "SSD Alignment" to accelerate the reading & writing speed of an SSD disk. And you can do whatever you want during the cloning process with the help of its "Hot Clone" feature. 

If the target disk is larger, you can still clone all the sectors of system partition with its "Sector by sector clone" feature as long as the target disk has enough space to hold everything on the old system. And it's capable of making full use of disk space to extend system partition size. 

Well then, what are the steps for system migration? Please keep reading below to get them.

Step by Step guide: perform system migration in Windows 10

Before you start to migrate system, you need to make some preparations: 

Prepare a target disk, either HDD or SSD. If it's not initialized, please initialize the disk in the disk management.
Check both disk capacity and be sure the target disk is larger than or equal to the source. If not, the cloning process may fail.
If your computer is a laptop, please prepare a SATA-to-USB cable to connect disk for cloning
Download AOMEI Backupper Professional and install it on your computer. This version only supports Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista. If you are currently using server computer, such as, server 2003, 2008(R2), 2012(R2)/2016(R2), 2019, 2022, you could consider using AOMEI Backupper Server.
Download Free TrialWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Things you need to know before you migrate system with AOMEI Backupper:

  • You can clone system to all branded HDDs and SSDs, such as, HP, Samsung, Lenovo, WD, SanDisk, etc.

  • You can clone system on MBR disk or GPT disk. 

  • All the partitions on the destination disk will be overwritten or deleted, please backup important files in advance.

Then, let's start to migrate system in Windows 10. All the steps are also applicable to Windows 11/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista.

Step 1. Make sure the new hard drive or SSD is detected by Windows. Then, launch the professional system migration software - AOMEI Backupper Professional, click Clone > System Clone in order.

Choose System Clone

Step 2. System drives and boot related drives are selected by default, you just need to select a destination disk. All the detected disks will be listed in the following window and select the disk for migration.

Choose Destination Partition

Step 3. Preview the operation and click "Start Clone" to get started. If the target disk is an SSD, check the option "SSD Alignment" for optimization. 

System Clone Preview Align Checked

If you are worried about system failure due to system reserved partition missing or on the wrong drive, please check "Sector by sector clone". It will clone every sectors on the system partition including all the boot partition(s), such as, system reserved partition, EFI system partition, etc.
If your target disk is larger, you can see "Make full use of disk space" option at the left of "SSD Alignment". It is to extend system partition size by adding unallocated space next to it. 

Step 4. When the cloning process finishes, restart your computer and it will try to boot from the cloned hard drive. If not, shut down your PC, disconnect the source disk, change boot order in BIOS and restart again.


If you want to migrate  system without loading Windows, you can create a bootable USB or DVD disk with this software and then boot from it.


That's all for system migration in Windows 11/10/8/7. With the help of AOMEI Backupper Professional, you can safely migrate operating system to another drive, whether large HDD or smaller SSD, and boot successfully from it. Also, you are allowed to optimize the performance of SSD disk if your target disk is.

Besides system migration, you still can perform data migration purely or clone hard drive to larger drive with "Disk Clone" or clone specific partitions and data on it with “Partition Clone”.