By Ivy / Last update December 13, 2021


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 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.

Hence, you have to clone C drive to SSD in Windows 10 to migrate OS without reinstalling.


Windows 10 Does Not Have Cloning Software

Although Windows 10 provides you two free backup software: Backup and Restore, File History. These two backup software only backup data to an image file, there is no clone features provided in these two backup software.

If you would like to copy C drive to SSD in Windows 10/8/7, the only way you should do is try the powerful third-party OS migration software.


Best Windows OS Migration Software - AOMEI Backupper

To clone Windows 10 to SSD safely, it’s highly recommended to use AOMEI Backupper Professional to clone C drive to SSD easily. It’s designed for Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP, including 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Here you have two ways to migrate C drive to SSD in Windows 10:

  • System Clone to move C drive to SSD. The system clone feature allows you to migrate Windows 10 to SSD entirely, including C drive, system reserved partition, EFI system partition, or Recovery partition if exist.

  • Disk Clone to 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.

Besides, the hard drive cloning software offers powerful features for you to enhance the performance:

  • Edit Partition: If you are migrate Windows 10 from HDD to larger SSD, you could check this option to fully use the storage space on larger SSD during cloning. Usually, there will be an unallocated space left at the end of disk if cloning disk to larger disk without this option configured.

  • SSD Alignment: If the destination disk is an SSD, please tick this option to improve the overall performance of SSD and its lifespan.



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.
Please download AOMEI Backupper Professional 30-day free trial, and have it a try. (the Clone features in Free Trial can be demonstrated only, please upgrade to enjoy.)

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

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.

4. Click Finish when the process reaches 100%. And you will get the Windows 10 bootable clone copy.


How to Boot from the Cloned SSD in Windows 10?

Ensure you could boot from the cloned SSD after cloning C drive to new SSD, there are some steps you could follow:

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.


Besides, you could try other feature to clone C drive to SSD in Windows 10, like backup C drive, and restore C drive to the new SSD. But it’s more complex compared to clone C drive Windows 10.


The Epilogue

Cloning C drive to SSD in Windows 10/8/7 with AOMEI Backupper is the best way to move Windows installation to SSD and better performance you will get. Compared with Windows clean install, It’s easy and time-saving.

If you are using Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2019, SBS 2003, 2008, 2011, please try AOMEI Backupper Server to enjoy more advanced features.