By AOMEI / Last Updated February 20, 2020

User case

“Hi, I have a HDD and a SSD when I install Windows for the first time, it gets installed on the HDD instead of the SSD and I have no idea of how to reinstall Windows on my SSD instead of the HDD. My PC is empty with only Windows on it, so I don’t mind how its done. I just need a way that works !! “

Why do you clone C drive to SSD in Windows 10?

Speaking of why do you clone C drive to SSD, you need to look at it from three aspects. The first aspect is: why use cloning instead of reinstalling? The second aspect is: why only clone C drive and not entire disk in Windows 10? The third aspects is: why clone to SSD rather than HDD?

Reinstalling Windows is the most common way to install Windows 10 on SSD. But this way is a little tricky: it only installs a fresh copy of Windows, default programs and settings, and your installed programs and data will be removed. So, many users are willing to use the clone feature. Cloning is much easier and does not require any skills. In addition, this operation can avoid data loss.

Cloning only OS partition is mainly for users whose budget is limited and cannot afford a large SSD. Because SSD is much expensive than HDD in terms of dollar per gigabyte. For example: A 1TB internal 2.5-inch hard drive costs between $40 and $60, but the very cheapest SSDs of the same capacity and form factor start at around $125.

The main reason to clone system partition to SSD is for a great performance. SSD is much faster, lighter, cooler, quieter, more durable, produce less heat, and consume less power.

Need an easy-to-use cloning software

As mentioned above, cloning is much easier than reinstalling when copying C drive to SSD in Windows 10. But which is the best cloning software?

Here, I highly recommend you AOMEI Backupper Professional, which has a clean interface and user-friendly interface. All steps in this software are fixed and difficult to make mistakes. So, most users can understand and use this software in a very short time.

Next, I’ll introduce you some useful features in this software:

  • System Clone: This feature is used to clone only system drive, including Windows, system reserved partition, installed programs and data.

  • Edit Partition: This feature is to take advantage of unallocated space on the target disk. Usually, when you clone disk to larger disk, there will be an unallocated space left at the end of disk and you cannot use it.

  • SSD Alignment: This feature is designed for users who use SSD disk to improve the overall performance of SSDs. For example: a faster reading and writing speed.

  • Sector by Sector Clone: This feature is for users who want clone all sectors whether used or not to target drive. Usually, the target disk is equal to or larger than source disk.

How to clone C drive to SSD in Windows 10 without losing data?

1. Connect SSD to your computer and make sure it can be detected. Then, download this SSD cloning software, install and launch it.

2. Click Clone and System Clone subsequently. Then, the program will automatically select C: drive and system reserved partition (MBR disk) or EFI partition (GPT disk), so you don’t need to select manually.

Choose System Clone

3. Click where the arrow point and select your SSD as destination path.

Choose Destination Partition

4. Tick “SSD Alignment” and then click “Start Clone”. Wait unless the process 100% complete.

System Clone Preview Align Checked

5. Replace HDD with SSD via screwdriver. Turn off your computer and remove the back panel, unscrew the screws holding the hard drive, pull your hard disk out at 30 or 45 degree, install SSD at the original location of HDD and put the back panel on.

Plug out Hard Disk

6. Boot from the cloned SSD. Start your computer, press F2 or ESC key to enter BIOS, go to the Boot tab, move SSD as the first option by clicking “+” and press “F10” to boot from the cloned SSD.


This software allows you to migrate MBR OS to GPT disk as well as transfer OS from GPT disk to MBR.
If your SSD disk is big enough, you can use “Disk Clone” feature as instead. And this software also supports cloning disk from MBR to GPT, and vice versa.
AOMEI Backupper is also a backup and restore software that can help you achieve the same effect. You need to backup system to network drive or external hard drive, then restore system image to SSD and install SSD on your computer.
AOMEI Backupper Professional is for Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, XP, Vista. If you are using Server 2008, 2012, 2016, 2019 or other versions, you could try AOMEI Backupper Server.

Further reading: cloning C drive to SSD in Windows 10 problems

Some users report that cloned SSD won’t boot in Windows 10, and don’t know what to do? Don’t worry about. I’ll give you some ideas.

  • SSD is not the first boot option. As the above steps show, you need to move SSD to the first option, then press F10 to save the changes and restart. Just go to BIOS and check if your SSD is on top.

  • The partition style is wrong. If your target drive is GPT and source disk is MBR, your computer may fail to boot. Because the disk cloning software you are using does not support cloning MBR disk to GPT and vice versa. You need to try another disk cloning software like AOMEI Backupper Professional.

  • The source disk has bad sectors and it’s cloned to target drive. This may be caused by “Sector by Sector Clone” feature. If you tick this feature during the clone process, it will clone all sectors including bad sectors to target drive. For this problem, you need to check disk before cloning.

  • System reserved partition or EFI partition is missing. System reserved partition is the boot partition for MBR disk while EFI partition is required to boot GPT disk. So, if cloned SSD is incomplete, your computer will fail to boot. In this case, you need a professional software.

Written in the end

Reading here, you may know how to clone C drive to SSD in Windows 10 using disk cloning software. Compared with clean install, this operation is very easy and can avoid reinstalling programs and data loss.

In addition, this software will solve some potential problems for you, such as, the cloned disk shows wrong size, partition style issues, etc.

To be honest, this software is worth a shot. Simply download AOMEI Backupper and clone system with it.