By Lily / Last update September 24, 2021

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Case: Cloned SSD won’t boot

Help. Upgrading my Windows 10 hard drive to a newly purchased SSD, both 1TB in size, but the SSD won't boot after cloning. Just black screen. Can anyone help me, or is there any trusted free cloning software?

Most of people know that the SSD (solid state drive) has better performance than traditional hard disk drive (HDD). Compared with HDD, SSD runs faster and smoother with less noise. Thus, many Windows users would upgrade old HDD to SSD. 

To do this, it seems easier to clone HDD to SSD than reinstalling OS. However, many people have spent time, effort and even money trying to clone hard drives, only to find that the cloned SSD won’t boot in Windows 11/10/8/7. It may show you this message:

Windows fails to Start. A recent hardware or software change might be the cause. To fix the problem:
1. Insert your Windows installation disc and restart your computer.
2. Choose your language settings, and then, click “Next”.
3. Click “Repair your computer”.
If you do not have this disc, contact your system administrator or computer manufacturer for assistance.
File:\Boot\BCD
Status:oxc000000f
Info:The Boot Configuration Data for your PC is missing or contains error.

Why cloned SSD won’t boot in Windows 11/10/8/7?

There are a lot of reasons that would cause the SSD won’t boot after clone. I've summarized some common reasons here:

1. If the source disk you cloned has bad sectors, it may cause cloned Windows 10/11 SSD won’t boot.

2. The system is corrupted during cloning process, therefore the cloned disk won't boot.

3. Missed cloning the “system reserved” partition.

4. Set the wrong drive to boot from.

5. The drive letter may have changed while you change HDD to SSD. And this progress may cause boot files missing, which causes the cloned SSD won’t boot in Windows 11/10/8/7.

6. GPT/MBR conflict causing the cloned disk won't boot.

Fix Windows fails to boot after cloning HDD to SSD

After cloning HDD to SSD, if the SSD cannot boot, you can try the following solutions according to your situation:

☛ Method 1. Setting BIOS to boot from UEFI or Legacy

☛ Method 2. Change boot order to boot from the cloned SSD

☛ Method 3. Repair Windows Startup from Windows RE

☛ Method 4. Run Bootrec.exe

Method 1. Setting BIOS to boot from UEFI or Legacy

If you cloned the GPT HDD to MBR SSD, or cloned the MBR HDD to GPT SSD, it is necessary to change boot mode from UEFI to Legacy or from Legacy to UEFI. The wrong boot mode will cause the SSD not booting after clone.

To change the boot mode, you can refer to the following to configure it:

1. Continuously press a specific key (usually F2, F8, F12,Del) to enter BIOS Setup.

2. Then, use the arrow keys to select Boot tab. Here, you can select UEFI/BIOS Boot Mode as Legacy or UEFI.

UEFI BIOS

3. Press F10 to save the settings and then exit, restart your computer from the cloned SSD.

*If your computer only supports for Legacy boot mode, you can convert GPT to MBR, and then your disk can boot successfully in Legacy boot mode.

Method 2. Change boot order to boot from the cloned SSD

Wrong boot device could also cause the cloned disk won't boot. If there is more than one hard drive on your computer, you'd better get into BIOS and change the boot order to boot from the cloned SSD.

Method 3. Repair Windows Startup from Windows RE

Sometimes, you need to get into Windows recovery environment (Windows RE) to repair Windows Startup if the cloned SSD won’t boot in Windows 10/11. The Windows Startup repair will fix some errors and help you boot successfully.

Boot from the Windows installation disc. Select Repair your computer.

When you get into Advanced options, select Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> Startup Repair (Windows 11/10/8). Then, it will start to repair the startup problem.

Startup Repair Advanced Options

Method 4. Run Bootrec.exe

If Windows Startup Repair doesn’t work, you can use Bootrec.exe to fix cloned SSD won’t boot in Windows 11/10/8/7.

Boot computer from Windows installation disc. Select Troubleshoot -> Advanced Options -> Command Prompt. In the pop-up command prompt, type the bootrec.exe command to launch this tool and fix the Windows 10/11 fails to boot with the following commands.

  • bootrec.exe /fixmbr

  • bootrec.exe /fixboot

  • bootrec.exe /scanos

  • bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

Repair Master Boot Record

How to clone HDD to SSD without booting problems

Is there any way can help users clone HDD to SSD without booting problems? Yes, and it's highly recommended to use the best free cloning software for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP - AOMEI Backupper Standard. It allows you to clone HDD to SSD with simple steps, and boot from the cloned SSD successfully.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Benefits:

  • If you are cloning MBR system disk to GPT or vice versa and the target disk is a blank disk, this disk clone software will remind you whether you need to convert the target disk or not . 

  • AOMEI Backupper allows you to clone large HDD to smaller SSD as only as the destination disk is large enough to store data on the source disk.

  • Compared with SATA SSD disk, NVMe SSD has faster reading and writing speed. Thus, it's suggested to clone Windows 10/11 to NVMe SSD or clone NVMe SSD to NVMe SSD.

Step by step clone:

Step 1. Connect the SSD to your computer and make sure it can be detected. Free download AOMEI Backupper, install and launch it. Click Clone -> Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the HDD as the source disk.

Select Source Disk

Step 3. Select SSD as the destination disk.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. Here you will move to the final page. Check the box of “SSD Alignment” and click Start Clone.

Start Clone

Notes:

Beside HDD to SSD clone, you still can use it to clone SSD to larger SSD, clone NVMe SSD, clone hard drive to Samsung SSD, clone PCIe SSD, replace laptop HDD with SSD, etc.

* If you only want to clone system, you can upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional to unlock the System Clone feature and more advanced features.

The Standard edition supports cloning all data disks and MBR system disks. If you want to clone MBR to GPT, GPT to GPT or GPT to MBR, you will need to upgrade to Pro edition.

* If you want to clone system to another computer but find that Windows won't boot from cloned SSD, this may be due to dissimilar hardware. To do it successfully, you can use System Backup to create a system image, and create a bootable media to start the target computer into WinPE, then perform Universal Restore (available in Pro edition) to ensure the target computer can boot after restoration.

* To clone disks on any computer without installation, you can use Technician or Technician Plus edition to create portable version on removable device.

Conclusion

While cloning a hard drive to SSD has some significant benefits, many users also encounter the problem of the cloned SSD not booting. In that case, using effective HDD to SSD cloning software may be a more efficient option than troubleshooting errors one by one.

With the help of AOMEI Backupper Standard, you can easily clone HDD to SSD and ensure your computer can boot from it successfully. Moreover, it allows you to further accelerate the reading and writing speed of SSD disk as well as prolong its lifespan. You could download it and try it yourself.