By Emily / Last Updated December 22, 2020

When Need to Migrate OS to HDD or SSD?

When the primary partition, which contains the operating system, of your computer is low on disk space, you will have two options. One is to extend the current boot partition if there are some unallocated or unused space on the disk. If the whole system disk is running out of space, you need the second option: migrate OS to another larger HDD or SSD to increase the size of the boot disk.

Besides, if your OS is installed on a mechanical hard disk drive (HDD) and runs relatively slow, you might want to upgrade it to a faster SSD drive. Then, to save time and efforts for installing OS from scratch, the better workaround is to directly migrate OS from HDD to SSD with a specialized OS migration tool. Either situation, the most important is to learn how to migrate OS to HDD/SSD.

2 Ways to Transfer OS from HDD to SSD free

Here, we would like to share you with two free ways to migrate OS to HDD or SSD. Check out the detailed tutorial and choose one based on your requirements and situation.

1. Migrate OS via Windows built-in tool (Backup and Restore)

First of all, we can make a full backup of the entire system, which contains everything on the computer, including the installation, settings, apps, and files. Then restore the system image to another SSD or HDD. Now we will walk you through the steps to create a full backup and restore them to the destination HDD/SSD.

Step 1.Connect an external drive (used to contain the backup image) to your computer. If you are using laptop without extra drive bay, you can connect this disk to your computer via the SATA to USB adapter and cable.

Sata To Usb Cable

Step 2. You can shrink the OS partiiton to fit the new HDD/SSD that may be smaller than the current one.

Step 3. Open “Settings”. Click on “Update&Security”> “Backup”. Under the "Looking for an older backup?" section, click the “Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) option”.

Look For Older Backup

Step 4. Click the “Create a system image” option from the left pane.

Create System Image

Step 5. Select “On a hard disk” option. In the drop-down menu, select the location to export the Windows full backup and click “Next”. You can also choose the “On a network location” to back up the Windows to network location.

On A Hard Disk

Step 6. Here, you can select other additional drives to include them in the backup if you want. And click on “Next”.

Choose Additional Drive

Step 7. Confirm everything is right and you can click on “Start Backup”.

Start Backup

Once the progress is finished, the tool will create an image of the entire system that contains everything on the primary hard drive and other drives you may have selected. Then you can restore the image to the destination HDD or SSD:

Step 8. Disconnect the original system hard drive and connect the new one. Boot up system. Insert the repair disc or Windows Install disc in your optical drive. Computer should boot from the optical disc then at the first screen select “Repair your computer” → “Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier”→” Use the latest available system image (recommended)” → click “Next”.

Restore Image

Step 9. Next, you have some additional restore options: “Format and repartition disk” and “Only restore system drives”. please Carefully select the first option before restoring the backup (if you are restoring the backup on a new drive). If the backup contains a copy of several drives and you only want to restore the OS, you can check the “Only restore system drives”.

Restore Options

Step 10. Click on “Next” and then “Finish”.

Finish

Then the system recovery will start on the computer. Please do not interrupt the process as it can make the backup and restore fail, and the new SSD or HDD will be unbootable. If you are migrating OS to HDD or SSD on laptop, make sure the laptop is connected to a power source.

2. Migrate OS via free third-party software (Recommended)

The first method involves too many steps, easy to trigger problems by any improper operations. So it is recommended to use a professional OS migration tool such as the free partition manager: AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It comes with the “Migrate OS to SSD Wizard”, helping Windows users to transfer OS drive from HDD to SSD, HDD to HDD, or SSD to HDD. Only a few simple clicks can finish it.

Step 1. Download, install and launch the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Select “Migrate OS to SSD Wizard”.

Migrate Os To Ssd

Step 2. Select the destination HDD or SSD for OS migration. If there are partition on the destination disk, pleascheck “I want to delete all partitions on the disk 2 to migrate system to the disk”. Once checked, the “Next” button can be clickable to proceed.

Select Disk Space

Step 3. Now, you can resize the system partition and change the drive letter on the new SSD or HDD.

Resize Partition

Step 4. A note on how to boot computer from the destination disk will appear. Read it carefully and click on “Finish”.

Note

Step 5. Click “Apply” to commit the pending operation.

Apply

Notes:
☞Since it involves system partition, the operation will be completed under the PreOS Mode.
☞The Standard edition only supports migrating OS from MBR disk to MBR disk. If you want to migrating OS to GPT disk, please upgrade to Professional.
☞If you want to migrate entire system hard disk to another HDD or SSD, you can make use of the “Disk Clone Wizard”.

Summary

So, here we introduce how to migrate OS to HDD or SSD. Two free methods are available for your choice. Obviously, the second OS transfer software can do more than migration operating system. It is also able to convert MBR and GPT without deleting partitions, wipe hard drive completely, make bootable media, and so on.