By Delia / Last Updated March 26, 2021

Case: transfer Windows 7 to new hard drive without CD

Hi everyone, I have a hard drive with a disk read error. It has Windows 7 installed 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?

Fortunately, the answer is YES. When a hard drive goes wrong or performs poorly, you can upgrade it to a new one (like replace HDD with SSD) for better performance, and transfer Windows 7 to new hard drive without CD or reinstallation.

You don't need to buy another Windows 7, because the license can be used on another hard drive on the same computer, even for OEM license. And to implement the system migration, you can either backup & restore system image, or directly clone the system disk to a new SSD or HDD. 

Now I’ll introduce 3 simple ways to do this, most of them are totally free.

Transfer Windows 7 to New Hard Drive Without CD

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 current system hard drive. You can delete some junk files, uninstall some rarely used applications to lighten your system so as to speed up the transferring. But please don't move or delete those system 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.

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

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.

Steps:

1. First, navigate to Backup section and click System Backup.

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.

Start Backup

3. Go to Restore section and click Select Task to choose the one you just created. Choose Restore this system backup, tick Restore system to other location at the bottom and click Next.

Restore Entire Backup Or Partition

4. Then select the connected new SSD or HDD as the destination. Confirm the operation and Start Restore.

restore to new hard drive

After that, shut down your computer and launch Windows 7 with the new hard drive.

Related tips:
◆ In some cases such as instant recovery of a crashed system on different hardware, installing an operating system on new computers, system migration physical and virtual machine, etc., the Dissimilar Hardware Restore (also known as Universal Restore) feature of AOMEI Backupper Professional can be a big help. Check more details about how to restore image to dissimilar hardware if needed. 
◆ In daily use, you can click Options to manage backup mode, compression level, image splitting, etc., click Schedule to set up an automatic backup task based on time schedule. If you upgrade to advanced editions, you can also create a Scheme to auto delete old backups to save storage space.

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.

Steps:

1. Switch to Clone tab on the main interface and select Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

2. Select the disk you want to clone as the Source Disk and select the new hard drive as the Destination Disk.

Select 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.

Start Clone

4. Shut down your computer and boot it with the new hard drive.

Related tips:
◆ Edit Partitions: you are allowed to specify partition sizes, labels, etc. Some options are only available in advanced versions.
◆ SSD Alignment: it is suggested to check this option to improve performance when the target disk is SSD.
◆ Sector by sector clone: by checking this option, AOMEI Backupper will clone every sector to the target disk, no matter it is used or not. Do not check it when cloning larger drive to smaller drive.
◆ This Standard edition only supports cloning system disk MBR to MBR. If you want to clone system disk GPT to GPT, GPT to MBR or vice versa, please upgrade to Professional edition.

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.

Steps:

1. Navigate to Clone section and choose System Clone (If you haven't upgrade it to Professional version, there will be a PRO mark).

Choose System Clone

2. The system partitions will be selected directly, you just need to specify a Destination Disk and click Next.

Choose Destination Partition

3. Adjust some advanced settings like SSD Alignment and Sector by sector clone and then Start Clone.

System Clone Preview Nochecked

4. When it finishes, shut down the computer and re-boot Windows 7 with the new hard drive.

Related tips:
◆  Sector by sector clone in Step 3 means the program will clone all sectors no matter it is used or not. Thus, it takes a longer time for cloning. If you click this option, you must ensure that the destination partition is equal to or larger than the space of the system.
◆ If you want to transfer Windows 7 to new SSD for better performance, you could tick SSD Alignment in Step 3 to accelerate the reading and writing speed of the SSD.
◆ After cloning, the new hard drive will be overwritten. If you have some important data on it, you must do disk backup of the new hard drive in advance.
◆ The original hard drive will not be wiped out. You can use the original drive as a secondary storage or as a backup in case of a system crash.

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.

Conclusion

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.