By Ivy / Last Updated July 10, 2020

Can I move Windows 10 from HDD to SSD?

When you search this keyword in the Google, you may find that there are many related topics in the forum, such as, Reddit, Microsoft, etc. And here, I’ll show you an example from Microsoft. Do you actually know how to migrate Windows 10 to new hard drive?

“My PC has one HDD and one SSD. I want to move my Windows 10 to SSD, but it’s installed on the HDD. I have no idea of how to transfer Windows 10 from HDD to SSD. My PC only have Windows on it, so I just need a way that works. Thanks in advance. ”

Surely, you can migrate Windows 10 to SSD in a simple steps. You just need a free Windows 10 migration tool like AOMEI Backupper Standard, which can can do that for you. Please follow the guide below to complete this task. Before that, you need to know something else.

Why Migrate Windows 10 to SSD?

Compared with previous version, Windows 10 has improved the booting time. But users still feels that the computer is not running fast enough. How to make your computer run faster?

You can migrate Windows 10 to new SSD, because it can improve the booting time, writing and reading speed and overall performance of the system even more. Usually, an SSD is 10 times faster than the common HDD.

HDD and SSD are the different kinds of disk and both of them apply nonvolatile storage to store data. But HDD has metal platters with a magnetic coating and data can be read or write when the platters are spinning. In SSD (Solid State Drive), it's a different story, there are no moving parts in SSD and data are stored on memory chips. Therefore, SSDs are quieter, more durable, produce less heat, and consume less power.

Two main issues about SSD migration

Will the Windows 10 license be transferred to SSD?

This is common question for most users. Now, let’s talk about. Reactivation or not, all depends on what kinds of license you use. Retail or volume license key can be transferred to SSD while OEM keys cannot. That is to say, if your license is Retail or Volume license, you can migrate Windows 10 license to SSD and the license will be reactivated automatically.

Generally, laptops are using OEM key and desktops will pre-install Windows with OEM. To check out if your license is OEM, you can right-click on This PC and select Properties, then find the Product ID. If the product ID contains the three characters “OEM”, it is OEM key.

Why not reinstall Windows 10 on a new SSD?

SSDs are famous for its high performance, thus many users want to upgrade Windows 10 to SSD. To make it, you may try to install Windows 10 on SSD via clean install, but this is not a wise way. Because all your settings, programs and personal files will deleted durng the process.

After installing, you will get a fresh copy of Windows, but at least you need to reinstall apps you will use in the near future. Even worse, some programs have reactivation issue. In addition, your files will never be back if you don't backup files in advance.

Best free Windows 10 migration tool -AOMEI Backupper Standard

AOMEI Backupper Standard, as the best free SSD cloning software for Windows 10 with wizard-like interface, can help you migrate Windows 10 to SSD effortlessly, regardless of disk size. Here are some advantages of it:

  • Avoid reinstalling sytem, programs and settings. Whether you clone entire disk or just operating system, it will include the operating system and apps.

  • Minimize the risk of data loss. For example, if you migrate only Windows 10 to SSD with "System Clone", all your files on the system drive will be backed up.

  • Support cloning all branded SSDs, whether SATA, PCIe, mSATA, M.2 or USB, such as, Samsung/Dell/WD/Kingston/HP SSD, and more.

  • Speed up SSD's performance and extend its life with 4k alignment technology of SSD Alignment.

  • Clone all sectors to a new SSD with "Sector by sector clone". It's more suitable for cloning disk to larger disk.

Preparations to clone Windows 10 to smaller SSD

In order to make the cloning process smoothly and ensure secure boot, you need to do some preparations at first. Let's see the details specifically.

  • Clean the useless files with "Disk Cleanup", such as, temp files and Recycle Bin data.

  • Update SSD firmware to fix bugs or other issues in earliest SSDs.

  • Get a right SSD to fit on your computer. Most laptops use a 2.5-inch hard drive unless you have an Ultraportable Notebook that may use a smaller 1.8-inch drive. And SSDs also have different thicknesses (either 7mm or 9.5 mm) and different interfaces.

  • Prepare a SSD connector. Most SSDs use SATA interface, so you need to prepare a USB-to-SATA adapter or encloser. But there are still other interface. For safety, you need to check the interface of your laptop or desktop before you go out.

  • Create a system backup or disk image for your computer. Some users report that the cloned SSD won’t boot after cloning, thus you’d better backup first. If something goes wrong, you can recover your computer timely.

  • Set SATA Controller mode to AHCI to ensure faster speed.

Tutorial: Migrate Windows 10 to smaller SSD free

Here, I'll take "Disk Clone" as an example to clone Windows 10 to smaller SSD without reinstalling Windows. And this software is applied to clone HDD to SSD in Windows 7 and Windows 8 free.

Step 1. Connect your SSD and make sure your computer can recognize it. Then, download, AOMEI Backupper Standard and run it. Click Clone at the sidebar and then Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select your HDD as Source Disk, and click Next.

Select Source Disk

Step 3. Select your SSD as Destination Disk, and click Next.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. Check "SSD Alignment" to increase the read and write speed of your SSD. Then, click "Start Clone" to begin the process.

Start Clone

Tips ✎...
If you upgrade to larger SSD in Windows 10, it's suggested to adjust the partition size of SSD with "Edit Partitions (available on the professional version)"during the cloning process. If not, you will find that your SSD is exactly the same as the HDD, no space left.
To clone MBR disk to GPT SSD without converting partition style or migrate only Windows 10 OS to SSD, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional.

What to do after cloning hard drive to SSD in Windows 10?

1. Check if the cloned SSD can boot successfully. Switch hard drive in Windows 10 via screwdriver, restart your computer, press a specific key when you see a prompt like Press ESC to enter BIOS, go to the Boot tab and set the cloned SSD as first boot option, then press F10 to save changes and boot.


2. Format HDD with Disk Management and use it as storage after your computer successfully boot from the cloned SSD. Type diskmgmt.msc in the Run window and click OK to open this tool. Right-click the HDD disk and select "Format", then follow on-screen instructions.

Format HDD for Storage

3. Restore file backup with Windows 10 backup utility -AOMEI Backupper. Click Restore, select the files need to be restored and destination to save files, click Start Restore.

Wrapping things up

A reliable disk cloning software like AOMEI Backupper can help you migrate Windows 10 to SSD without reinstalling and solve most of problems about cloning hard drive, such as, unallocated space after cloning, reduce the risk of data loss, etc. Whether you want to clone Windows 10 to larger drive or smaller SSD, this software can help you.

Also, this software is still a Windows 10 backup and restore utility, you can use it to backup system, disk, partition and files. The image can save your computer no matter how serious the error is.