By Emily / Last Updated May 20, 2020

User case

I have a desktop with running Windows 10. I bought a Toshiba 1GB SSD that operates through a USB cord. My intention is to clone my desktop hard drive to the SSD portable drive and then plug it into a laptop computer and boot from the SSD so that I have access to all my programs with the laptop as I do with the desktop. I have no Windows 10 installation disks. So can I directly clone HDD to SSD and make SSD bootable?

SSD boot VS. HDD boot in Windows 10

An SSD drive is flash storage without any moving parts inside, so they are smaller and occpy less space in computer, sometimes you can even mount it to the motherboard. The HDD is made up of magnetic tape with mechanical parts inside, so they are larger in size than SSD drives and slower in data read and write. In one word, which type of drive is set as the boot drive will make a huge difference in PC performance.

Hdd Vs Ssd

For example, with the HDD as your boot drive, the Windows operating system will take a longer time to boot up, the applications will take longer to load, and the folders or files will take longer to open and save. Briefly, making the HDD as the bootable drive means the speed isn’t something coming your way. By contrast, switching to an SSD boot drive will make OS boot more quickly and the software load up in a flash. So it is better to make SSD bootable drive in Windows PC.

Now, there are two core problems you need to deal with: how to clone your Windows operating system from HDD to SSD, and how to set SSD as the boot drive. Next, I will explain how to perform those two tasks step by step respectively.

How to clone HDD to SSD and make SSD bootable?

To clone hard disk drive with pre-installed Windows to solid-state drive, you can make use of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. This software comes with “Disk Clone Wizard”, allowing you to clone one disk to another one and making sure everything (including OS, apps, programs, etc) on the cloned drive will work as they did in the original hard disk. Besides, you will have two clone methods to choose:

⑴Clone Disk Quickly: clone only used sectors from source disk to destination disk and allow to clone large drive to smaller drive as long as the target disk has enough space to contain used space of the source disk.
⑵Sector-by-Sector Clone: clone both used and unused sectors to destination disk so the target disk must be larger than, at least equal to, the source disk size.

You can download the Demo version for a free trial. Before that, you had better check out the following precautions:

Back up everything important on the SSD drive because it will be erased to save contents from the HDD.
You can uninstall the large programs, remove unnecessary personal files from the HDD to make it smaller to fit the SSD drive which is always of less capacity.
Connect the SSD to your machine. To do this on a laptop, you might need a SATA to USB adapter, connect the SSD to the SATA/USB adapter, then plug the adapter into a USB port on your laptop. Then it will be detected as an external hard drive.
If you plan to clone MBR HDD to GPT SSD drive, please ensure your motherboard supports EFI/UEFI boot mode because you have to change Legacy to UEFI after clone so that you can boot machine from the SSD drive.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right click the HDD and choose “Clone Disk”.

Copy Disk

Step 2. Choose a proper clone method and click “Next”. Here we select the first method.

Copy Disk Quickly

Step 3. Select the destination SSD drive and click “Next”. You can tick “Optimize the performance of SSD” to optimize its read and write performance further.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. Here you can edit the partition size on the target SSD drive and click “Next”.

Edit Disk

Step 5. Back to the main interface, click “Apply” to commit the pending operation.


Then wait for the cloning process to be done.

How to boot from SSD drive after clone?

After you have cloned HDD to SSD and made SSD bootable for Windows 10/8/7, now you remove the old HDD and install the SSD drive to boot the laptop from it. If you are using desktop and have installed both HDD and SSD on it, you can change boot order to set the SSD as the boot drive and boot the computer from it. Below is the instruction:

Step 1. Power on your PC. Continuously press the keyboard key (usually F12, F2, F8, Esc, Del) to enter BIOS .

Step 2. Access to Boot Menu and Change Boot Order. Use the arrow keys to move up/down the displayed Boot Options until you set the cloned SSD as the first boot device.

Change Order

Step 3. Exit while saving the changes and then proceed to boot.

If you successfully boot desktop from the cloned bootable SSD drive, you can wipe the old HDD to free up disk space for saving personal data.

Advanced reading on making bootable SSD in Windows 10

Above is how to create bootable SSD drive to replace the traditional HDD. What if you just want to make bootable SSD for a portable OS device, which you can take everywhere and boot any computer (even the brand new one) into your familiar OS environment? Luckily, AOMEI Partition Assistant can also help you to achieve that. Its “Windows To Go Creator” allows you to transfer the current operating system (Windows 10/8/7) or copy the Windows ISO files to the SSD/HDD/USB flash drive to make a portable bootable drive.

Win To Go Creator


Now, you should know how to make SSD bootable for Windows 10, 8, 7. No matter you are planning to clone HDD to SSD to make SSD as boot drive or make a portable SSD bootable drive to boot any other machine, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is a great choice. Besides, it also helps to make bootable media for Windows OS that crashes due to damaged MBR. To make a bootable SSD drive for Server operating system, please check out AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.