By Dervish / Last Updated August 25, 2023

About clone HDD to SSD for upgrading

HDD (short for hard disk drive) and SSD (short for solid-state drive) are two commonly used disks. Both of them can save the system, store the applications and personal files. However, SSD is much faster in speed and more reliable in durability. Thus, more and more computer users plan to replace HDD with SSD for better performance.

For the disk upgrade, most users choose to reinstall Windows operating system on the SSD, which will cost lots of time and energy to reinstall everything and tweak related settings. You may think of switching to the “System Backup & Restore” method. However, this process is still not easy, and you need to do the operations below:

1. Move data off any non-OS partitions from OS HDD and delete these partitions.
2. Shrink the OS partition to fit the new SSD.
3. Make an image of the OS partition to an external hard drive.
4. Install the new SSD.
5. Restore the OS image from the external hard drive.
6. Resize the OS partition to fill the SSD capacity.
7. Have Windows re-rate the OS drive, so it recognizes it as an SSD.
* If the capacity of SSD is large enough, you can skip 1 and 2.

To save your time and energy, an HDD to SSD cloning freeware is becoming necessary.

Top HDD to SSD cloning freeware:  Clone disk without losing data

There is no built-in disk copy tool in Windows 11/10/8/7. If your SSD comes with data migration software, such as Intel Data Migration Software, Samsung Data Migration Software, etc., you can use it to copy HDD to SSD. However, if your SSD has no such data migration tool, you need to turn to third-party HDD to SSD cloning software.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is a great free HDD to SSD cloning software for Windows users, is my preference due to its highlights:

Wide compatibility: It can work well on Windows 11/10/8/7 and Windows XP/Vista (32-bit and 64-bit).
✦ Flexible cloning ways: It allows you to clone all sectors whether used or not from HDD to SSD or clone used sectors only, being able to clone HDD with bad sector or copy larger HDD to smaller SSD respectively.
✦ Full-featured: Apart from cloning entire HDD to SSD, it allows you to clone only partitions from HDD to SSD.
✦ User-friendly GUI: With a modern and concise graphic user interface make the cloning process easy to handle.
✦ Hot clone: It allows you to clone disk or partition while keep working. In other words, you don't have to reboot your computer to run the cloning process.

✎✎✎ Note: For cloning data disk, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is enough. For copying system disk, please upgrade to Professional Version.

Step-by-step: How to clone HDD to SSD easily and safely

Please refer to the following steps to learn how to clone HDD to SSD without reinstalling, and boot from SSD successfully.

First of all, you need to install the SSD on your PC and ensure that it can be detected. For copying HDD to SSD on a laptop that has only one disk bay, a SSD-to-USB cable is necessary.
Then download this HDD to SSD cloning freeware – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard and follow steps given below (supposed that you are cloning Windows 10 HDD to smaller SSD).
Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Go to Clone and Clone Disk.

Disk Copy Wizard

Step 2. In this window, choose Clone Disk Quickly and click Next.

Copy Disk Quickly

Step 3. Choose the Windows 10 HDD as the source disk and click the Next button.

Source Disk

Step 4. Choose the SSD as your target disk; check Optimize the performance of SSD to align SSD partitions; then click Next.

Target Disk

Step 5. Choose one between two available options in this window and click Next.

Step 6. You’ll be in the main interface. Click Apply and Proceed to commit operation.

Step 7. If you cloned a system drive, you will need to set the SSD as the boot drive to run Windows after the process is complete.

Change Boot Order

Final words

With this powerful HDD to SSD cloning freeware – AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, you can clone HDD to SSD just within a few clicks. What’s more, you can also use it to clone HDD to HDD, SSD to SSD, SSD to HDD, etc. In addition to cloning disk, it is also able to merge partition, move partition, convert data disk to MBR or GPT without deleting partitions, and more.

If you are a Windows Server user, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server, which is compatible with both Windows PC and Server, and equipped with more advanced functions, such as allocating free space from one drive to another, migrating only OS to SSD, secure erase SSD, resetting Windows OS, and more.