By Ivy / Last update March 22, 2022

Can You Move Windows 10 Installation to SSD?

How to migrate C drive to SSD?

Hi, I have a HDD and a SSD when I install Windows 10 for the first time, it gets installed on the HDD instead of the SSD and I have no idea of how to reinstall Windows 10 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.

There is a chance that you might encounter the same issue to migrate Windows 10 installation to SSD entirely? What should you do?

Typically, the Windows 10 system files are stored in C:\Windows, which contains the Windows system files (.DLL library files and .exe utilities), the root folder of system C drive, which holds the page file (pagefile.sys) and hibernation file (hiberfil.sys), and other folders in C drive, etc. Thus, you can choose to only clone C drive to SSD in Windows 10 for system migration. 

Best Windows OS Migration Software - AOMEI Backupper

Although Windows 10 provides you two free backup software: Backup and Restore, File History. The previous one is able to backup OS and then restore system to new hard drive. It requires two storage devices, one is to store backup images temperarily while the other is regarded as a destination path. And the backup image can only be used on the current computer, otherwise you cannot boot from it.

Given the complexity of operation and poor compatibility, it's suggested to use disk cloning software directly. AOMEI Backupper Professional is a good choice to clone C drive to SSD easily and safely. It works well in Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP (both 32-bit and 64-bit versions) and provides you with two helpful ways: 

System Clone: This feature allows you to migrate Windows 10 to SSD entirely, whether it's on MBR or GPT system disk, including C drive, system reserved partition, EFI system partition, or Recovery partition (if exists).
Disk Clone: In this way, you will clone HDD to SSD with everything migrated, including the Windows 10 operating system, installed program, settings, personal files, etc. As long as the SSD can hold all the data from the Windows 10 system disk. It works well for both MBR and GPT disk.

And either way, you can improve the overall performance of SSD and its lifespan with SSD Alignment. If you are migrating Windows 10 from HDD to larger SSD, you can choose to fully use the storage space on it during cloning. In System Clone, this feature is called Make full use of disk space while it's called Edit Partition if you clone the entire disk. 

How to Clone C drive in Windows 10 without Reinstalling?

★ Before cloning C drive to SSD in Windows 10, there are some preparations:
If your computer has only one hard drive slot, prepare an external adapter, dock or enclosure to connect SSD drive. Ignore this if there is room for two hard drives inside the computer.
Prepare a new SSD drive, initial and format the SSD with MBR or GPT partition style according to your need.
✿ Check bad sectors on the source disk and repair.
Download AOMEI Backupper Professional and have it a try. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.

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

(PS: The Clone features in Free Trial can be demonstrated only, you need to upgrade now - 20% off for one computer.)

1.  Connect SSD to your computer and make sure it can be detected. Then, launch AOMEI Backupper Professional. Select Clone and System Clone subsequently.

Choose System Clone

2. Choose a partition of the SSD to save the Windows 10 system files.

Choose Destination Partition

★ Tip:
The destination partition will be overwritten during the cloning process, please backup files first if there is any important files on SSD drive.
The C drive and other partitions related to system files and boot files (system reserved partition, recovery partition or EFI partition) will be selected by default. There is no need to select manually. 

3. Tick SSD Alignment and then click Start Clone to clone C drive to SSD in Windows 10 easily.

System Clone Preview Align Checked

★ Tip: the Sector By Sector Clone only available while cloning disk to larger disk to clone all the sectors on the Windows 10 source partitions, and it will cost much longer time.

Click Finish when the process reaches 100%. And you will get the Windows 10 bootable clone copy. Please check the following steps and see if you can boot from the Cloned SSD in Windows 10:

Step 1: 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 (HDD) out at 30 or 45 degree.

  • Install the cloned SSD at the original location of HDD and put the back panel on.

Plug out Hard Disk

Step 2. Set the cloned SSD as the first boot device

  • Start your computer, press F2, F10, F12 or ESC key (depending on your manufacture) to enter BIOS.

  • Go to the Boot tab, set the SSD as the first option by clicking “+” and press “F10” to save and exit.

Step 3. Boot from the cloned SSD

Restart your computer and it will boot from the cloned SSD drive directly. That’s it.

Bios

The Epilogue

You can easily clone C drive to SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7 with the help of AOMEI Backupper and further improve the performance of SSD disk. The most highlight of this software is that it clones only used sectors by default, which make it easier to clone OS from larger HDD to smaller SSD. 

Also, you are able to clone OS from hard drive to larger drive without unallocated space left at the end of this disk. It allows you extend system partition or adjust partition size manually or automatically in this software. And you can boot successfully from it whether it's on the MBR or GPT disk.

To deploy image to multiple computers, it's suggested to backup C drive and then restore image with AOMEI Image Deploy. It is available on the Technician or TechPlus edition.