Case: transfer Windows 7 to new hard drive without CD
“Hi everyone, I have a hard drive that could be faulty as it has a disk read error. It has Windows 7 installed on it and I can't locate the installation CD anymore. I'm thinking about buying a new SSD, but the problem is I don't want to buy another Windows 7 again. Do I have an option here without having to buy a new license?”
Problems like this are not uncommon in daily computer using. When the hard drive goes wrong or you simply want to upgrade it for better performance, the most direct solution is to replace the hard drive with Windows 7/8/10 installed to a new one.
But what if your installation CD is missing? Is it possible to transfer Windows 7 to new hard drive like SSD without CD?
Fortunately, the answer is YES - you can simply clone OS to new drive, no matter SSD or HDD. Now I’ll introduce 3 simple ways to do this, most of them are totally free.
Preparations before operating system migration
Before starting, there are a few things you should do at first. The following methods are all based on these preparations:
1. Clean up the data on your current hard drive. You can delete some unnecessary files and applications to lighten your system so as to speed up the transferring. But please don't move or delete those files you are not sure what they are.
2. Download a Windows system migration freeware like AOMEI Backupper Standard and double-click the EXE file to install it. After a simple installation process you can enter its main interface and proceed to the next step.
3. Connect an available new SSD or HDD with enough capacity to your computer.
3 Methods to transfer Windows 7/8/10 to new SSD/HDD without CD
AOMEI Backupper is an all-in-one data protection and disaster recovery software for both PCs and Laptops. Compared with other software supporting system clone or migration, AOMEI Backupper is outstanding with its comprehensive and powerful features, simple operating procedure, quick backup speed and the preferential price – the FREE edition can already meet most of your needs.
With it, you can backup, restore and clone your Windows system, important data and programs to prevent any unwanted loss.
It provides 3 effective approaches to transfer Windows 7 64 bit or 32 bit version to new hard drive even without CD. You can make your own choice according to actual situation and needs.
Method 1. backup and restore system to new hard drive
When it comes to data transfer, your first thought probably is “backup and restore”. It’s always a good idea even in this case. With the free feature System Backup, you can backup Windows 7 or other Windows OS as a system image, then restore it to the new hard drive.
1. First, navigate to Backup section and click System Backup.
2. Choose an available location to backup the source data (you can also edit the Task Name to make it easier to identify), and tap Start Backup button to proceed to next step. Wait for a while till the backup process ends.
3. Go to Restore section and click Select Task to choose the one you just created. Click Restore this system backup and click Next to select the connected new SSD or HDD as the destination. Confirm the operation and Start Restore.
4. After that, shut down your computer and launch Windows 7 with the new hard drive.
Method 2. clone the source disk to the destination disk
Disk Clone is a more intuitive way to transfer Windows 7 to new hard drive without CD. You can directly clone a disk instead of creating backup image and then restoring.
1. Switch to Clone tab on the main interface and select Disk Clone.
2. Select the disk you want to clone as the Source Disk and select the new hard drive as the Destination Disk.
3. Here in Operation Summary, you can adjust some advanced settings such as Edit Partitions, SSD Alignment and Sector by sector clone. Then Start Clone and wait till it finishes.
4. Shut down your computer and boot it with the new hard drive.
Method 3. clone Windows system to new SSD or HDD quickly
System Clone, supported by AOMEI Backupper Professional and higher editions, is literally the most direct and quick solution to clone Windows 7 to new hard drive without CD.
Different from Disk Clone, System Clone only clones the system and boot related drive, other data partitions are not included. And the steps are also simpler.
1. Navigate to Clone section and choose System Clone (If you haven't upgrade it to Professional version, there will be a PRO mark).
2. The system partitions will be selected directly, you just need to specify a Destination Disk and click Next.
3. Adjust some advanced settings like SSD Alignment and Sector by sector clone and then Start Clone.
4. When it finishes, shut down the computer and re-boot Windows 7 with the new hard drive.
Supplement: how to launch Windows 7 from new hard drive
In case some readers don’t know how to start Windows 7 on new drive exactly, here are 2 common used ways:
1. Shut down your PC and remove the source disk. Install the newly cloned hard drive on the machine. Start up your PC. (Recommended)
2. Restart your PC and press Del (or F2, or F12) to enter BIOS. Change boot priority to the new hard drive and press F10 to save and start.
It’s not complicated to transfer Windows 7 to new hard drive even without CD. All you need is a large enough and accessible new hard drive, and of course, the support from a reliable tool - AOMEI Backupper.
The first 2 methods listed in this post are totally free of charge. You can achieve your goal of Windows OS migration smoothly and intuitively with the standard version. But if you prefer more advanced features in an easier process, AOMEI Backupper Professional is a smart choice.
For your reference, you could also clone Windows 10 to SSD or HDD for free without installation disk, and the approaches are roughly the same.