How to Swap Hard Drives Without Reinstalling Windows OS and Programs

How to swap hard drives without reinstalling Windows OS and programs? Here you can learn to migrate OS only or clone the whole disk to avoid any reinstallation.


By Irene / Updated on October 13, 2023

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As the demand for an enhanced computer experience continues to rise, an increasing number of users are upgrading to larger or superior hard drives. However, this transition often indicates a challenge, as it typically involves reinstalling the Windows operating system and all the installed programs.

Thus, the question, “Can I swap hard drives without reinstalling Windows?” begins to frequently arise in various online forums. With today's technology, the answer is undoubtedly affirmative. If you're wondering to learn how to achieve this, we will guide you next.

How to swap hard drives without reinstalling Windows OS?

If you want to replace hard drive without reinstalling Windows, all you need is just a powerful tool like AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It is an all-in-one computer management software that committed to share multiple solutions for your everyday challenges.

For example, if you're looking to swap hard drives without reinstalling Windows OS, you can choose its “Migrate OS” feature. Or, if you wish to avoid any reinstallation altogether, its “Disk Clone” function is worth trying.

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Note: Windows Server users please choose the Server Edition for compatibility.

Way 1. Migrate OS to the new hard drive

If you want to transfer hard drive without reinstalling OS only, you can run this software and choose “Migrate OS” function, and then follow the guidance below:

Step 1. Connect the second hard drive to your computer. Open AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, click on "Clone" from the top pane, and then select "Migrate OS."


Step 2. In the "Select Disk Space" window, pick an empty space on your new SSD. Check the box that says, "I want to delete all partitions on the disk to migrate the system," and then click "Next".


Step 3. In the "Resize partition" window, move the border to the right to expand the partition on the new SSD. Then, click "Next".


Step 4. After reading the instructions carefully, click "Finish." You'll return to the main screen. Click "Apply" on the toolbar, review the operation, and click "Continue" to execute it.


Way 2. Replace hard drive without any reinstallation by cloning disk

If you want to transfer all the original data, including OS, programs, documents, etc., the Clone Disk feature can accomplish this task

Step 1. Being the same as the first method, you need to click “Clone” in the top menu. Then select "Clone Disk" feature.

clone disk

Step 2. Then choose the clone method to copy the selected disk and hit the “Next” button. If you are cloning a large hard disk to a smaller one, choose the first option, please.

Copy Disk Quickly

Step 3. Select a destination disk to contain all data from the source disk, and click “Next”.

If the destination disk is an SSD drive, you can tick the “Optimize the performance of SSD” option during the process, which can help make 4K alignment on SSD partitions.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. You can adjust partition size in this window if you choose “Clone Disk Quickly” above. After everything is done, hit on “Next” to continue.

Edit Disk

1. Clone without resizing partitions: all partition will be cloned to the target disk as the original partition size. It is available when the target disk is large enough to hold all partitions on the source disk.
2. Fit partitions to entire disk: all partitions will be cloned to the target disk and take up its full capacity according to the original partition size proportion.
3. Edit partitions on this disk: you can change every partition size on the target disk as you need.

Step 5. A note will appear to tell you how to boot from the cloned disk. You can read it carefully, and then click “Finish”.


Step 6. Click “Apply” to commit the pending operation.


If you are cloning the system hard drive to another hard drive, to successfully boot from the destination hard drive and avoid the embarrassing moment that cloned SSD won’t boot, please do as below:

Step 1. Restart your computer, long press the "F2" key (perhaps other keys like DEL), and access the BIOS environment.
Step 2. Change the boot order and set the cloned hard drive as the first boot drive in BIOS.
Step 3. Press "Enter". Now you should boot the computer from the cloned hard disk successfully.

Final words

After knowing how to swap hard drives without reinstalling Windows and other data by AOMEI Partition Assistant, it is a good idea to explore this tool all the more. You can use it to extend drive space by using Merge Partitions, Allocate Free Space, App Mover, and so on. Or rely on it to Convert to NTFS/FAT32 for device compatibility. What’s more, it even supports fixing boot issues and converting system disk.

Irene · Staff Editor
Irene is an Editor of AOMEI Technology. She devotes herself in giving insightful thoughts on common computer problems with simple and clear guidance. Irene loves to help people solve problems and explore more solutions on relevant issues. She loves reading, singing and travelling.