Free OS Migration Software: Migrate OS to SSD without Reinstallation

If you want to migrate OS to another hard drive, download the free OS migration software: AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, which allows you to migrate OS to a new SSD/HDD drive without reinstallation.


By Emily / Updated on March 6, 2024

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Why need free software to migrate OS?

As the name implies, free OS migration software serves the purpose of migrating the operating system to either an SSD or an HDD at no cost. This migration process grants users increased disk space, enhanced system performance, and maintains a well-organized operating system. Additionally, it eliminates the need for time-consuming system installations.

There are several scenarios where the utilization of free OS migration software proves invaluable:

1. New computer setup
When acquiring a new computer and desiring to retain the old operating system and applications, free OS migration software comes to the rescue. It facilitates a smooth transition, sparing users from the hassle of reinstallation.

2. Hard drive upgrade
If your current disk space is insufficient or your computer's performance is suffering, upgrading to a larger HDD or an SSD becomes a viable option. With free OS migration software, you can efficiently transfer the system, ensuring a seamless transition to the new drive.

Two ways to migrate OS to SSD/HDD for free

If you want to transfer the operating system (OS) to a new hard disk drive (HDD) or solid-state drive (SSD) without reinstalling Windows, you can use the Windows built-in backup and restore tool or third-party free OS migration software.

1. Migrate OS via creating system image

If you want to migrate OS without third-party tool, you can create a system backup and then restore it to the new hard drive or SSD. In Windows 11,10 or Windows 7, you can create an image backup including all critical volumes. If you are using Windows 8 or 8.1, you can still create a system image.

▶ Preparations:

● Please install a second hard drive on your Windows 10 PC. If there is only one slot, you will need an adapter to connect the HDD/SSD to the USB port.
● Ensure that the unallocated space on the target disk is not smaller than the used space of the current OS partition. Or you can create unallocated space on it via partition shrink or deletion.
● Only NTFS formatted volumes can be protected. You may need to format or convert partition to NTFS file system.
● The destination drive must have the same partition style (MBR or GPT) as the source drive.
● If the hard drive is new, don't forget that you should initialize it. To avoid changing the boot mode after migration, the partition style (MBR or GPT) must be compatible with the boot mode (UEFI and Legacy BIOS).

▶ Part 1. Create system backup image

1. Open the Control Panel, click "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)" under the "System and Security" menu.

Control Panel Programs

2. Click "Create System Image" in the left menu.

File Recovery

3. Select an external hard drive where the system image will be saved and click Next to continue.

Save place

4. Select the system drive and the system reserved drive and click Next to continue.

Choose Location

5. You can check the backup location and the size of the backup image. Confirm the settings by clicking "Start Backup".

Confirm Backup

▶ Part 2. Create a Windows 10 bootable media

First, prepare a USB drive and make sure its free space is greater than 4GB. Then please download the Windows 10 ISO file to USB.

Step 1. Press Windows and R together, type diskpart, and click "Enter".

Step 2. In the CMD window, please type the following command step by step.

lisk disk
select disk X
create partition primary
select partition Y
format fs=ntf quick (If you need to create a UEFI bootable USB, you should type format fs=fat32 quick)

Create bootable drive CMD

Step 3. Type “Exit” to finish the operation. 

▶Part 3. Restore the image to the new HDD/SSD

1. Connect the new HDD/SSD to the PC, then boot the PC from the USB.

2. When you see this interface, please click "Next".

Windows Setup

3. Click "Repair Your Computer" and "Troubleshoot" in turn.


4. Select "System Image Recovery".

System image recovery

5. Make sure the disk where the system image is located is connected.

System Image Connected

6. The latest system image will be selected, and click "Next".

Select System Image

7. Click "Finish" to begin.


8. Wait for a while until recovery occurs. This may take some time.


Once done, your PC will restart. At this point, you have successfully cloned Windows 10 to the new hard drive.

2. Migrate OS with system migration expert tool

If the first way is a little bit complicated for you, you can move the operating system to another SSD or HDD drive using a third-party OS migration tool like AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. The "Migrate OS" functionality enables you to clone the operating system and all applications in the boot partition (usually the C: drive) to another drive so that you don't have to spend lots of time on reinstallation.

Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Option 1. Move only Windows OS to HDD/SSD

Step 1. Install and open AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Click Migrate OS under Clone.

Migrate OS to SSD

Step 2. Choose an unallocated space on the target hard drive and click Next.

Select Space on SSD

Step 3. In this window, you can change the size of the system partition.

Resize Partition

Step 4. Attend to Note about how to change boot drive, which might be helpful after migration.


Step 5. In this screen, you can review the result. Click Apply and Proceed after confirmation.


Before you migrate Windows 10 to GPT hard drive, make sure that the motherboard supports EFI/UEFI boot; otherwise, you’ll be unable to boot the computer from the destination hard drive.
In fact, it is featured with various other useful functions, helping you to solve many issues. For example, when you have accidentally deleted a partition on Windows, its Partition Recovery Wizard enables you to recover the deleted partition easily.
This software can be used to migrate Windows 7, 8, or 11 to another drive.  To clone Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012, 2008 to another hard drive, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Server. Boot Windows 10 from the new drive after OS migration

After you transfer Windows from the original hard drive to another one, you can check out how to boot from the new drive when you keep two hard drives simultaneously. 

Option 2. Clone the whole system disk to another one

Additionally, for a comprehensive migration of the entire disk, encompassing the Windows operating system, installed applications, files, and folders from the existing hard drive to a new one, you can explore the Disk Clone feature.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, click the "Clone" main tab and then select "Clone Disk".

clone wizard

Step 2. Choose a proper method.

"Clone Disk Quickly" only copies the used space of the disk so you can clone to a smaller disk.
"Sector-by-Sector Clone" will copy all sectors of the disk no matter whether it is used or not, which requires the destination disk space to be equal or larger than the whole original disk space.

Tip: If the "Sector-by-sector clone" is selected, the "Edit Partitions" option is unavailable. For encrypted disk, Partition Assistant will use the "Sector-by-sector"mode by default.

Select Disk Clone Method

Step 3. In the disk map, choose the source disk which needs to be copied.

Select Source Disk

Step 4. Choose the destination disk.

Select Destination Disk

1. The destination disk should be equal or larger than the source disk.
2. All the data on the destination disk will be covered by the files on the source disk, so make sure there is no important data on it.

Step 5. Check the copy disk options:

Copy without resizing partitions: The source disk configuration will be copied on the new disk with same partition size
Fit partitions to the entire disk: The partitions on the source disk will occupy the entire destination disk
Edit partition on this disk: You could change the size of the  on the new disk

Edit Disk

6. If you copy the disk containing the system partition, you will receive the following message which guides you on how to boot OS from the destination disk:


7. You can preview the disk cloning operating by viewing the "Pending Operations". To commit the "Pending Operations", please click "Apply" and "Proceed".

Apply Proceed

Boot Windows 10 from the new drive after OS migration

After you transfer Windows from the original hard drive to another one, you can check out how to boot from the new drive when you keep two hard drives simultaneously. 

Step 1. To start your PC, press the function key during the initial startup to enter BIOS settings. 

Step 2. In the Boot option, choose the new HDD or SSD as the boot drive and save all the changes. 

Step 3. Restart the computer.

Change Boot Order


When facing insufficient disk space or seeking improved performance, opting for free OS migration software such as AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard proves to be a wise and suitable decision. This free OS migration software runs well with Windows platforms, including Window 11/10/8.1/8/7, XP, and Vista. To migrate Windows Server 2022/2019/2016/2012/2008/2003 OS to another hard drive, you can use the Server edition


Is it difficult to migrate Windows OS to an SSD or HDD?

Overall, while migrating a Windows operating system to a different drive may seem daunting, it can often be managed with the right tools, guidance, and careful preparation.

How to transfer OS from HDD to SSD Windows 10 free?

To clone Windows 10 to SSD, you only need to follow three simple steps:

Connect the SSD to your Windows 10 computer. Download disk cloning software such as AOMEI Partition Assistant. Use disk cloning tool to clone Windows 10 to SSD. Boot the computer from the cloned SSD.

Will I lose any data during the migration process?

During the migration of Windows operating system from one drive to another (such as from HDD to SSD or vice versa), there is a risk of data loss, but it depends on the method and tools used for migration.  With the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant, the process can be done quickly and easily with just a few simple steps.

Emily · Staff Editor
Emily is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; she has a great passion for providing easy solutions for people to tackle with all disk or partition management problems. In addition to writing articles about disk/partition management, she also edits great tutorials on how to back up and restore disk for data security. In her spare time, she loves to learn computer skill to improve herself or stay with her family to enjoy a good day.