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How to migrate the OS from HDD to SSD?

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So you’ve finally got that flashy new SSD, and now it’s time to go super fast with booting times. But just how do you set up everything? First up, if you haven’t already, read our article on how to install a second SSD or HDD on your laptop. First, get the hardware side out of the way.

Setting up two drives in the same system can seem like a daunting task to some. However, it’s way easier than you think. Besides to be able to maximise the full potential of your SSD you’ve got to use it as your boot drive.

There are two things you can do if you’re adding an SSD to your system.

  • Install your OS from scratch and use your HDD as a data dump.
  • Migrate your OS over to the SSD from the HDD and use the HDD as a data dump.

In this article, we’re going to discuss how can you migrate your OS from your HDD to SSD in seven easy steps.

Also read: Hard Disk Drives (HDD) vs Solid State Drives (SSD)

How to migrate your OS to SSD for free?

First up, we’re going just to check some things. If you’re on the latest version of Windows 10, right-click on the Start Menu and click on Disk Management.

Make sure that your SSD appears here. Once you’re confident that your SSD is being read, go ahead and download Macrium Reflect’s free version.

Macrium has a bunch of paid versions as well. As long as you’re just cloning your OS over to new disk for your personal computer, you’re not going to need anything more than the free version. However, should you need a little more than that, you can go for any of the pro licenses which include features like encrypting backups, incremental backups and ransomware protection.

Once you’re done installing the software, launch it and follow the steps mentioned below to migrate your OS from HDD to SSD.

Step 1: You’ll see your SSD and your HDD come up as Disk 1 and Disk 2. Make sure you uncheck them both.

Step 2: Go ahead and select your HDD. Click on the Clone this disk button.

Step 3: Select your destination disk, which in this case is the SSD. Drag and drop the partitions you’d like to copy over to the SSD. Here’s I’ve checked the main C: partition, and the other two System partitions. I’m not copying over the recovery partition as I don’t need it but you can if you’d like.

 If you can’t drag the partitions you might have to click the Delete Existing partitions button where your SSD shows up.

Once you’ve finalised all partitions, click on the Next> button.

Step 4: Now, Macrium will ask you if you’d like to schedule the transfer. We don’t, so just click on the Next > button.

Step 5: You’ll be shown a Clone summary. Make sure everything is in order and click on the Finish button.

Step 6: Macrium will now ask for some save options. Uncheck the Save backup and schedules as an XMS Backup Definition File and click on the OK button.

Macrium will now start cloning your HDD to your SSD. This process is going to take some time. It took me around 35 minutes.

Step 7: Once you’re done, reboot your system and go to the BIOS (or UEFI) and make sure that your boot order is set right and that your SSD is on top.

If everything went smoothly, your system should boot from your SSD and much faster than it used to. Here are my boot times after the upgrade — from completely switched off to ready to use.

  • HDD: 1 minute 49 seconds
  • SSD: 12 seconds

Yes, it’s that fast. Once you’ve finalised everything and are sure that Windows is running properly on your SSD you can go and delete the Windows partition on your HDD. This will let free up the space taken up by Windows for other stuff.

Also read: SATA SSD vs PCIe SSD: Which one should you buy?

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: