Directly Install Windows 10 on New SSD with/without CD | 2 Ways

How do you install Windows 10 on new SSD? Usually you can perform clean installation via USB or installation CD, or migrate OS from the old system drive. Keep reading.


By Teresa Updated on March 7, 2024

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[Case] I want to install Windows 10 on a new SSD

I want to do a clean install of Windows 10 OS on a new ssd and make this the boot drive. I would like to keep the old WD 1T hard drive as a storage drive. What is the best/easiest procedure for extracting the old Windows 10 OS from the old hard drive. I'm not sure that I know how to properly identify the OS files.

- Question from

Windows 10 SSD Upgrade

Should I install Windows 10 to SSD?

It is known to all that SSD (short for solid-state disk) provides better performance while using as a boot drive, comparing to HDDs. To be specific, an SSD is based on NAND flash memory technology and uses integrated circuit assemblies to store data persistently.

It doesn't track down information by physical spinning disk & movable read–write head, and therefore has quicker access time, lower latency, less noise, etc. compared with HDD.

Due to these benefits, many users would like to upgrade old system disk to SSD, or install OS on a new SSD to make the computer boot up faster, and runs smoothly even with multiple programs in the background.

Then, you may want to know how to install Windows onto SSD. There are usually two ways: clean install Windows 10 using an installation disc, and clone Windows 10 to SSD via reliable disk cloning software

Preparations before Windows 10 Installation

Before you start, it is quite necessary to know what should be pay attention to, no matter which approach you'll take.

  • Back up important data. To do fresh or clean install, it's better to back up files that are important to you, since personal data on the old hard drive will be removed during the process. To prevent unexpected system failures, you could backup the system as well, this is especially important for a novice. 

  • Initialize and format SSD for Windows 10 install. In general, a disk without initializing cannot be used normally. And, you may receive error message like "You need to format the disk before you can use it". 

  • Prepare a SATA-to-USB adapter or encloser to connect SSD if you are using a laptop or your computer only has one slot. If you need to swap hard drive of Windows 10, please prepare a well-matched screwdrivers. 

  • Put a diet on old drive (*if you want to migrate Windows 10 from old HDD to new SSD). SSDs are generally smaller than HDDs at the same price, so it's recommended to free up space on HDD by deleting the backed up personal data, removing useless files with Disk Cleanup, uninstalling useless programs, etc.

Way 1. Directly Install Windows 10 on SSD with Installation CD 

A clean install gives you a brand new operating system just like the computer you first started - it only has all the bloatware installed by manufacturer. And the process will remove the current Windows operating system and user files during the installation.

Besides, all the personal data on the system hard disk will be wiped out. You can backup Windows 10 to USB drive or external hard drive in advance. This method requires a CD or USB drive to boot a computer.

If you want to install Windows 10 on SSD without CD or USB or keep your data and programs intact, you can refer to the second way to move Windows 10 from HDD to SSD.

The most common situations for cleaning install Windows 10 on SSD:

  • Want to replace Windows 10 hard drive with serious problems and install Windows 10 from USB or CD/DVD.

  • Want to wipe the SSD and perform a clean installation.

To clean install Windows 10 on SSD from USB, follow the steps below:

1. Create a new and correct installation media for Windows 10.

Download Windows 10 Media Creation tool, start it up, then select “Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD, or ISO file) for another PC” option and follow the wizard to create installation media. 

Create Installation Media

2. Install the SSD and connect the Windows 10 installation media.

After creating Windows 10 installation media, shut down your computer to replace the old hard drive with the new SSD. If your computer has extra slot, you can also keep the old drive (as the second storage afterwards), and connect the SSD alongside it.

3. Set the installation media as the first boot option.

Start your computer and press a specified key (usually F2 or F12) to boot into BIOS, then go to the Boot ab and use "+" to move CD/DVD to the first choice, then press "F10" or “Enter” to exit this window and restart from the installation disk. 

4. Click "Install Now" in the initial Windows Setup screen.

5. Type your product key (digital license) or skip it. 

6. Select installation type "Custom". The first option “Upgrade” is used to upgrade from a lower version of Windows.

Clean Install

7. To partition SSD for Windows 10 install, click Delete or Format, and then create a partition with New option. Then, select the new partition on SSD disk and click Next. Wait until the process ends and set preferences as you like.

Install Windows 10 on SSD

★ Note:

Whether you upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7/8/8.1 or do a clean install on a brand new SSD, you have to buy the product key to activate Windows. If your SSD has installed Windows 10 already, you can skip to next step, Windows 10 will get activated after fresh installation.

Way 2. Reinstall Windows 10 on SSD without CD or USB

Fresh install might be time-consuming and troublesome for some users. If you prefer an easier way to add new SSD to Windows 10 without CD or USB drive and keep all your data intact, you could use a reliable third-party software – AOMEI Backupper Professional

It's all-in-one SSD cloning software for Windows 7/8/10/11, which contains "Disk Clone", "System Clone" and "Partition Clone" options to meet the needs of different users.

💾 Disk Clone

It allows you to clone entire hard drive to SSD, even for new hard drive with a different partition style, clone MBR disk to GPT, for example.

💻 System Clone

It allows you to clone only C drive to SSD without efforts, which is especially useful if you want to migrate Windows 10 to smaller SSD.

💡 Intelligent Clone

The software is running in "Intelligent Clone" mode by default, which will only clone the used sectors to save space. Optionally, you can also create an intact copy with sector-by-sector mode.

🚀 SSD Alignment

It helps to accelerate the writing and reading speed of target SSD. 

🧿 Supported Devices

You can use it to clone all kinds of HDDs and SSDs, regardless of disk brands, disk size or interface.

Preparations for migrating OS to SSD in Windows 10: 
Insert your SSD into the drive bay and make sure it can be detected. If there is no extra room inside the laptop to install more disks, you may need to install SSD via a SATA-to-USB adapter. If you have neither a second drive bay nor a SATA-to-USB adapter, you can use "System Backup" feature to create a system image, and then restore it to the SSD.
 Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. You could find the demo below.
The cloning process will overwrite everything on the target SSD, so if you've stored any important data on it, make a backup first.

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

To install Windows 10 on SSD without CD/DVD, use the following steps:

1. Click "Clone", then select "System Clone" in the main page. To clone entire disk, click "Disk Clone" instead. 

System Clone

2. Just select the SSD as the new location, and then click "Next" to continue. Because the program is designed to automatically select system partition and boot related partitions for you.  

Choose Destination SSD

3. Confirm the operations, tick "SSD Alignment" to speed up the performance of SSD and click "Start Clone" to install Windows 10 on SSD without removing HDD.

Clone System to SSD Preview

Tips ✎...
• "Sector by Sector clone" is only suitable for target disk of the same size or larger than source disk. 
• After cloning only OS to SSD, you can keep the old disk as a second storage, or remove and discard it. To avoid data leakage, it's suggested to wipe system partition, or clean a hard drive in Windows 10 completely.
• If you want to install SSD on unlimited PCs within one company, you can use AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the help of AOMEI Image Deploy, you can deploy OS to multiple computers simultaneously. You can also create portable AOMEI Backupper to run system clone on any computer.

How to Boot Windows from the New SSD Successfully

After the system clone finishes, shut down the computer. And then disconnect the source disk and connect the destination disk to the socket of the source disk. The source disk could be plugged into another socket as a secondary storage device. 

Next, restart your computer, and press a specific key to enter BIOS when you see a message like "Press ESC to enter BIOS". Go to the Boot tab and change the first boot option to new SSD. At last press "F10" to save changes and boot your computer.


Troubleshooting: Cannot Install Windows 10 on SSD

Sometimes, you will receive error messages like "Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The selected disk is of the GPT partition style", "Windows cannot be installed to this disk. The computer's hardware may not support booting to this disk" when you reinstall SSD in laptop or desktop Windows 10 using installation media. Why can't Windows 10 be installed on SSD? 

Windows Cannot Be Installed To This Disk

For the first error "The selected disk is of the GPT partition style", it may be caused by a wrong boot mode. Your computer only supports Legacy BIOS rather than both Legacy and UEFI boot, and the traditional BIOS can only boot from MBR disk, so you can only install Windows 10 on a second hard drive with MBR. To resolve it, you could consider converting GPT to MBR before running Windows installation. 

For the second error "The computer's hardware may not support booting to this disk", there are two possible reasons, your computer has hard disk protection enabled, and the SATA Controller mode was set incorrectly. To fix this problem, you need to read the specification and confirm if the problem is caused by hard disk protection. If so, please remove it. If not, please change the controller mode in BIOS. If your BIOS shows AHCI, just change it to IDE.

Further Reading: How to Install Windows 11 on SSD

As Microsoft released Windows 11 on October 5, 2021, some Windows loyal users and technophiles may want to install Windows 11 to explore the new, powerful features brought by Windows 11. Here is how to fresh install Windows 11 on a new SSD:

1. Boot your computer from Windows 11 installation media or a downloaded Windows 11 ISO file.

2. Choose your language and other preferences and click “Next”. Then, click “Install now”.

3. There will pop up a notice asking you to activate Windows, enter your product key or choose “I don't have a product key” if you're reinstalling Windows.

4. Then choose one of the operating system you want to install and click "Next".

5. Select "Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)".

6. Select the SSD where you want to store Windows 11 and click "Next", then wait for the process done.

7.  Choose your country, keyboard layout, and other information, then add your account and choose privacy settings. After that, you can run your Windows 11 on SSD.

>> Follow this guide to learn detailed steps on install Windows 11 to SSD.

Windows 11

FAQs on install Windows 10 on SSD

1. What are the benefits of installing Windows 10 on an SSD instead of an HDD?

SSDs (Solid State Drives) offer significantly faster boot times and application loading speeds compared to traditional HDDs (Hard Disk Drives).

- They enhance overall system responsiveness, making tasks like opening programs, browsing files, and accessing data much quicker.

- SSDs are more durable and reliable than HDDs due to their lack of moving parts, reducing the risk of mechanical failure.

2. Do I need to purchase a new copy of Windows 10 to install it on an SSD?

No, if you already have a valid license for Windows 10, you can use it to install the operating system on your SSD.

You may need to deactivate your current Windows 10 installation on the HDD if you plan to transfer the license to the SSD. Microsoft allows transferring licenses between devices as long as they are removed from the previous device.

3. Will installing Windows 10 on an SSD affect my existing data on other drives?

Installing Windows 10 on an SSD should not affect data stored on other drives (e.g., secondary HDDs or external drives).

- However, it's always recommended to back up important data before making any significant changes to your system, just to be safe.

- During the installation process, ensure that you select the correct drive to install Windows 10 on to avoid accidental data loss.


No matter which way you choose, clean clean or clone operating system with a reliable disk cloning software, you may already install Windows 10 on SSD successfully. If you encounter the Windows 10 not installing to SSD error, fix it with the given solutions and then install Windows again.

If you want a time-saving method, select the second method. And it will keep all your data as it was. In addition, this software also supports "Disk Clone" and "Partition Clone" feature, so you can use it to clone SSD to larger SSD, clone hard drive to WD SSD, clone HDD to Samsung SSD, replace ASUS laptop hard drive, etc.

It's suggested to keep AOMEI Backupper installed on your computer, which can also be regarded as backup software to protect your personal data or system with its comprehensive features, including, system backup, disk backup, partition backup, and file backup. In addition, it allows you to enable daily/weekly/monthly and perform automatic backup in Windows 10, event triggers, incremental and differential backup, etc.

Download AOMEI Backupper, use it to upgrade hard drive to SSD in Windows 10 and later protect your data and system security.

Teresa · Editor
Joined AOMEI in 2015, Teresa has become an expert in the areas of data backup and migration. She shares her insights on setting up full protection for a Windows PC/Server and performing hard drive cloning. With a sharp focus on the latest technological trends, she ensures that the information shared is consistently aligned with the ever-evolving developments in the industry.