How to Switch Windows to A Different Drive and Boot From It Successfully

How to switch Windows to a different drive without data loss? In this article, two methods will be provided to help you easily deal with the problem of Windows system migration.


By Tina / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Help! How to switch Windows to a different drive


“6 months ago, I bought a laptop with Windows 11 already installed. But unfortunately, it has only one hard drive and runs quite slow at times. Now, I want to transfer the current OS to another drive for better performance. Please tell me can I move Windows to a different drive?”

Why need to switch Windows to a different drive?

switch hard drive

As the example mentioned above, many users want to switch Windows to a different drive. There are three main reasons:

When there's not enough space  in the current hard drive, moving Windows to a larger drive.
Transferring the operating system from HDD to SSD to make it run more smoothly.
Backing up system data if the current system drive is damaged, it can be restored in time to prevent the loss of important data.

However, for most Windows users, switching Windows to a different drive seems difficult. Because they can't find an efficient way to achieve this purpose. So in two effective ways, this article aims to show you how to switch Windows to a different drive.

How to switch Windows to a different drive by creating a new system image

The system image is the image backup of the system drive. When the hard disk or computer fails to work, the system image can be used to restore an entire system in a short time. Read the following tutorial carefully, you'll know how to transfer Windows to a different drive with system image.

Note: Please insert an empty USB with enough storage space to store the system image of the current Windows, otherwise the creation will fail.

Step 1. Press "Windows", then click "Settings","Upgrade and Security", "Backup" and "Backup and Restore (Windows 7)" in turn.

Step 2. Click "Create a system image" in the left pane of the popped windows.

create a system image

Step 3. Choose the inserted USB drive when you're asked "where do you want to save the backup", and click "Next".

click next

Step 4. After the backup completes, you need to follow the instructions to create a system repair disk.

create a system repair disk

After you correctly installed your new hard drive under the guidance, please follow the steps below to restore the system image to the new drive:

Step 1. Restart your computer and boot from the system repair disk.

Step 2. Click "Next" -> "Repair Your Computer" when it launch Windows Setup.

Step 3. Click "System Image" to launch the System Image Recovery wizard. Then tick "Use the latest available system image" and click "Next".

Step 4. Select the option to format and repartition the hard disk. Then click "Next", "Finish" and "Yes" in turn.

After restoring the system image to the new hard disk, your Windows has been switched to a different drive.

How to switch Windows to a different drive easily and safely

Although you can create a system image to migrate the Windows, obviously this method is too complicated for ordinary users. And this function only supports backing up drives whose file system is NTFS, if not, then you need to convert FAT32 to NTFS before creating a system image. Is there a better method to migrate windows?

There's a powerful OS migration tool AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, it supports migrating OS between MBR and GPT. With a few simple clicks, you can move all the system-related data to another drive without losing data. Also, its hot clone technology allows users to migrate the operating system without reboot.

Apart from that, if you want to migrate the whole hard drive, including Windows OS, system-related data and the personal data, you can try "Disk Clone Wizard".

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Phrase 1. Preparation

Before switching Windows to a different drive, the following works can ensure a successful migration:

► Check the space of the destination drive: The unallocated space on the destination drive must be larger than the used space of the current drive, or the migration will fail.

 Connect the destination drive to your computer: If your computer is a desktop, you can directly install a second hard drive into the computer. But if your computer is a laptop with only one available hard drive slot, you need to prepare a SATA to USB adapter, then connect the new hard drive to your laptop.

sata usb cable

► Check MBR/GPTthe partition style of both drive should be the same (both MBR or GPT), if they are different, please convert to the same, or the drive will not be able to boot.

► Check the power supply: Double check the power connection, otherwise the cloning process may be interrupted by unexpected problems.

Phrase 2. Migrate Windows to another drive

How to switch Windows from one drive to another? Don't worry, read the following steps carefully can help you complete the migration:

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

migrate os to ssd

Step 2. Select an unallocated space on the destination hard drive and click "Next".

select an unallocated space

Step 3. Change the size of the system partition in the popped window.

change size

Step 4. There's a "Note" about how to boot OS after your migration.


Step 5. Click "Apply" and "Proceed" to complete the migration.

click apply

 Phrase 3. How to boot Windows after moving it

After the Windows migration is completed, you should change the boot drive from BIOS in order to boot successfully. The detailed steps are as follows:

Step 1. Restart your computer, after the Windows logo appears, repeatedly hit F1/F2/F3/F5/Esc to enter the BIOS setup.

Step 2. Turn to the "Boot" option and select "Change boot order" to set the new drive as the boot drive.

change boot order

Step 3. Press "F10" to save the new set.


After reading this article, you have knew how to switch Windows to a different drive by yourself. As you can see, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is more secure and efficient.

By the way, after booting Windows from the new drive successfully, you can wipe the old hard drive as a data drive. If you want to switch Windows Server, you can try the Server Version.

Tina · Staff Editor
Tina is an English editor of AOMEI Technology. She has a positive attitude and full of energy. On her work, she always keeps thinking to figure out the solutions for users' problems, and writes the answers so that can help someone. In her daily life, she likes to sing, watch TV and sleep. She always being grateful and happy to all the things happened and all the people encountered.