By AOMEI / Last Updated November 6, 2019

“I need to upgrade the hard drive in my laptop as it has extremely limited storage capacity. Can I reinstall Windows 10 on a new hard drive without license issue? What is the best way? My laptop was preinstalled with Windows 8.1 and it was upgraded to Windows 10 during the free upgrade period. Any help would be appreciated.”

This is a topic related to migrate Windows 10 to new hard drive from reddit. Do you have the same or similar issues? Do you want to know how to transfer Windows 10 as well as its license to new hard drive. Keep reading to learn what you want to know.

How to transfer data and OS to new hard drive in Windows 10?

With time goes by, the performance of computer will reduce due to low disk space or other reasons. Therefore, most users want to replace HDD with SSD , because there are no moving parts in SSD, which makes it has a faster boot time or data accessing time. But, how to move Windows 10 to another hard drive?

There are three common ways user may use, including clean install, backup and restore utility, third-party tool like AOMEI Backupper. Then, here comes a question: what is the best or proper way? Let’s see the details.

Clean install refers to only install a fresh system without any hidden problems or corruptions. But you need to reinstall all the programs you need and transfer data from one hard drive to another. It’s time consuming.

Backup and Restore tool can keep a copy of system, apps, setting, etc on the target drive and you can restore the backup when needed. Also, it can help you create a system repair disc. However, there is major problem when you try to restore Windows 10 image to new hard drive: the backup image created on a larger disk cannot be restore to disk with smaller partition layout. Thus, it’s not perfect.

AOMEI Backupper is very similar to Windows built-in backup and restore tool. However, this software has more advanced features, such as, differential backup, backup when USB plug in, event-trigger backup, etc. In addition, it’s still a disk cloning software, which allows you to migrate Windows 10 to new hard drive easily and quickly.

In a sum, moving Windows 10 to new hard drive with AOMEI Backupper is a better choice.

How to migrate Windows 10 to new hard drive without reinstalling?

AOMEI Backupper Professional is a reliable backup and restore software as well as disk cloning software. In this software, there are two workable methods, including backup and restore Windows 10 to new hard drive, directly cloning Windows 10 to new hard drive. The first method is a little complicated but free while the second is easy and quick but paid.

Here, I’ll take the second method as an example to show you how to clone Windows 10 to new hard drive in simple steps. You just need to follow the steps below and click the respective button.

Step 1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper Professional. Then, click Clone and System Clone subsequently. To transfer Windows 10 to new hard drive free, click Disk Clone.

System Clone

Step 2. AOMEI Backupper will select system and boot related partition as source by default. You just need to select a new disk as the destination (here is Disk 2) and click Next to go on.

Choose Destination Partition

Step 3. In the following pop-up window, please read the note and then click OK after confirmation. But if there are any important data, you should backup data at first.


Step 4. Confirm the operation and click Start Clone.

Start Clone


  • Tick "SSD Alignment" option if the target drive is SSD disk, because this option can optimize the performance of SSDs and extend its lifetime.

  • "Sector by sector clone" option refers to clone all the sectors no matter it has been used or not and the cloning process will take more time if tick it. It’s not recommended, because it will clone the bad sector if the original disk has.

Step 5. When the progress is completed 100%, please click Finish to exit.

Click Finish

Step 6. Restart your computer, enter BIOS by hitting the corresponding key on the first screen and change the cloned hard drive to the first boot option, then press 10 to save the changes and boot from the cloned disk.

Besides cloning Windows 10 to new hard drive, this software also can transfer Windows 7/8/8.1 to new hard drive.

How to transfer Windows 10 license to new hard drive?

Will the Windows 10 license be transferred to new hard drive or SSD? Many users are worried bout this question. Now, let’s talk about this question.

Whether the license can be transferred or not, all depends on what kinds of license you use. Retail or Volume license key can be transferred while OEM keys cannot. That is to say, if your license is Retail or Volume license, you can migrate Windows 10 license to HDD/SSD and the license will be reactivated automatically.

If your license is Retail or Volume, you can follow the detailed steps and move it to new hard drive. The entire process is divided into two parts, including removing license key from the old machine, activating the operating system with the license.

Step 1. Type cmd in the search box and run as administrator.

Step 2. Type slmgr /upk in the command prompt window and hit Enter. This command will remove the license key from the current machine.

Step 3. Type slmgr /cpky in the command prompt window and hit Enter. This command will remove license key from Registry.

Note: The steps above won't remove the activation from the Microsoft servers. Instead, this process will prevent the same product key being used in multiple devices. Thus, if you transfer hard drive with Windows 10 to new computer, you can ignore Step 2 and Step 3 and directly activate Windows with the license on the original computer.

Step 4. Copy and paste slmgr /ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx to the command prompt window and press Enter.

Note: xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx refers to the license key

Step 5. Type slmgr /dlv to verify the activation and press Enter.

Step 6. Type slmgr /xpr and hit Enter to check if the Windows is activated. If it’s activated, you will be prompted “ the machine is permanently activated” on a pop-up window.


Reading here, you may already know how to transfer Windows 10 and its license to new hard drive. Although there are 3 common ways you can try, but I have to say that cloning OS to new SSD or HDD is the best way.

This software has a wizard-like interface, which make all steps become easier. And it can accelerate the reading and writting speed of SSDs. Besides, it’s still backup and restore software, which allows you to move hard drive to new computer in Windows 10 with different hardware and ensure boot.

If you want to protect or clone unlimited computers within your company, you can consider AOMEI Backupper Technician. With the inbuilt AOMEI Image Deploy tool, you are also allowed to deploy/restore system image file on server-side computer to multiple client-side computers over network.