How Do You Clone Hard Drives to SSDs in Windows 10?

November 13, 2019

Want to clone hard drives in Windows 10 using free specialist software so that you can upgrade your HDD to an SSD? The best free Windows 10 disk cloning software allows you to clone hard drives in Windows 10 with these simple steps.

Want to clone your hard drive to a new hard drive?

For a number of different reasons, users may need to know how to clone a hard drive in Windows 10. Here we have taken a query that a user posted in a Microsoft forum. If you find yourself in a similar scenario you can follow this guide.

“Recently, I bought a notebook where genuine Windows 10 is already installed but the hard drive is just 1TB HDD and Windows 10 runs really slowly. I want to clone the hard drive to an SSD in Windows 10 and I don’t have the installation disk cos Windows was already installed. Plz can you help me.”

In this scenario, your PC might have a hidden recovery partition which you can use as an installation disk. You will need to copy all of the boot related files from this partition and burn it to a CD/DVD. If you don’t have a disc, you can create a recovery drive in Windows 10. Now, you can use the bootable disk to migrate Windows 10 to a new faster hard drive.

Why clone a hard drive in Windows 10?

Here are some of the common reasons why users want to clone their drives in Windows 10:

  • Upgrading to a larger capacity drive in Windows 10. Usually, manufacturers will ship PC/laptops with low-quality small capacity hard drives, typically around 500GBs. This ends up annoying the purchaser as the drive runs out of space after just a few months. Normally, the user will then consider either getting a new PC (but this can cost a lot of money) or upgrading their hard drive to a large capacity SSD by using reliable disk cloning software.

  • Cloning your PC hard drive in Windows 10 for better performance. When you receive the low disk space warning error message, you will usually find that your PC/laptop will run slower and slower to the point you can no longer use it. If you’re a gamer, you’ll find that after a few rounds of your favorite online FPS you need an SSD to avoid lag. SSDs can make your computer run much faster, accelerate the read and write speed during data transfer, and generally increase overall user satisfaction with the quality of the system. This is why many users want to clone their Windows 10 hard drives to SSDs by using reliable disk cloning software.

hard drive to SSD

What is the best free disk cloning software?

When we are considering what is the best free disk cloning program, AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition, is one of the top on our list. It’s a straightforward and easy to use piece of specialist disk cloning software designed for Windows 10, 8, and 7 and trusted by millions of users worldwide. It’s able to clone both 32-bit Windows and 64-bit Windows hard drives easily and unlike many other free disk cloning programs on the market, it can clone from a larger drive to a smaller drive without interrupting any of the running programs.

Before you start to clone your hard drive in Windows 10 using AOMEI Backupper, you should keep the following in mind:

1. All of the data on the target hard drive or SSD will be deleted during the cloning process, therefore, we would recommend that you backup any important data to an external hard drive before beginning the process.

2. Unallocated space after cloning a disk to larger disk. Users may find that after the cloning process the new hard drive will not display its full capacity and may display the capacity of the original drive. In order to avoid this, AOMEI Backupper offers you a feature called ‘Edit partitions’ which allows you to edit the partitions on the new drive to take advantage of the full capacity it offers.

3. If your disk is a smaller SSD, you will need to check the capacity that has been used on the original disk. If the space you have used is less than SSD disk, you will be able to clone the hard drive to the smaller SSD in Windows 10 with no issues. If space is larger than the new SSD then the cloning process with fail due to insufficient space.

4. AOMEI Backupper includes the extremely useful ‘System Clone’ feature which will clone only your Windows 10 operating system, installed programs, and drivers to an SSD or HDD. You will need to upgrade to the premium versions of AOMEI Backupper or AOMEI Backupper Server Edition, yet the function can save users lots of time and effort when migrating there systems to a new drive – so we think it’s well worth the upgrade.

5. If the target disk is a dynamic disk, you will have to convert it to a basic disk first. After you have converted it to a basic disk you can perform a disk copy in Windows 10 as usual.

Step-by-step example: How to clone your HDD to an SDD in Windows 10

1. First you should download and install AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition. Once you have installed and launched the program you should click on ‘Clone’ on the left-hand side of the main window. Then select ‘Disk Clone’ to continue.

Disk Clone

2. Next, select the source hard drive (this is the drive you that plan on cloning) and click ‘Next’ to continue. In our example, we have chosen Disk 0.

Select Source Disk

3. In the next window, you need to select the target hard drive (this is the new drive that you want to copy to) and click ‘Next’ to continue. In our example, we have chosen Disk 1.

Select Destination Disk

4. If you are using an SSD as the target hard drive, you should make sure that you tick the ‘SSD Alignment’ option as this will accelerate the read and write speeds of the destination SSD. Next, click ‘Start Clone’ and confirm that you want to continue to begin the cloning process.

Start Clone

Helpful Tips:

● The ‘Edit Partitions’ function will allow you to resize the partitions on the target hard drive to take advantage of the increased capacity when you clone a smaller drive to a larger one.

    Edit Partitions

● The ‘Sector by sector clone’ function will clone all of the space on the original hard disk regardless of whether it has data stored on it. This function will take significantly longer than the normal cloning process.

- If you choose to do a disk copy in Windows 10 with the ‘Sector by sector clone’ option enabled, you will not be able to resize the partitions on the destination disk. However, you will be able to resize partitions by using AOMEI Partition Assistant after you have cloned your hard drive.

- If you clone a larger HDD to a smaller SSD (e.g. 500GB to 250GB), please DO NOT select the ‘Sector by sector clone’ option! You must also make sure the data on the original HDD is equal to or smaller than the capacity of the SSD.

5. When the cloning process reaches 100% you should click on ‘Finish’ to exit the window.

Finish

Tips:

  • If you use AOMEI Backupper to clone MBR to GPT disk, you need to change Legacy to UEFI, and vice versa. And the system can only be set as source disk.

  • This version only supports cloning disk with the same partition tyle, such as cloning GPT disk to GPT disk. If you want to clone GPT disk to MBR or migrate MBR disk to GPT on system disks, you could consider upgrading to AOMEI Backupper Professional.

How to boot from the cloned hard drive in Windows 10?

Cloning is not the final purpose. To boot from the cloned disk, you still need to change boot order in BIOS, or replace the old drive with SSD directly.

  • To change boot priority, restart your PC and press "F2" key (or "Del", "F12") to enter BIOS. At the "Boot" tab, select the SSD drive as the first boot device. Finally, press "F10" to save changes and exit.

  • To replace hard drive with SSD directly, shut down your PC and remove all external devices and connections. You'll need screwdrivers in the practical operations. It is suggested to take a picture in advance to help you revert cables connections if you're not familiar with such things.

If you still get boot issues, you may refer to this page: cloned hard drive won’t boot in Windows 10 to get more help.

Conclusion

With its user-friendly interface, cloning a hard drive in Windows 10 with AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition could not be easier. You just need to follow the above steps and click the corresponding buttons. If you need to clone a hard drive in your Windows Server, you can try its sister software: AOMEI Backupper Server Edition.

AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition can also be used for backing up and restoring your data in Windows 10. You can create file backups, partition backups, disk backups, and system image backups which you can use to restore Windows to a new hard drive.