By Teresa / Last Updated July 16, 2020

When need to transfer OS to SSD?

When a user’s hard drive becomes frustratingly slow or they suffer a catastrophic hard drive failure they typically will think about replacing it with a new one. Solid State Drives, or SSDs for short, like the Samsung EVO or the Intel 600p series, are known to have a number of advantages when compared with regular HDDs. SSDs are far more durable, have faster read and write speeds, massively shorter boot times (as fast as 4.9 seconds!), are silent, have low power consumption, and have much better shock-resistance. Nowadays it has become normal for users, such as this writer, to have an SSD for their OS and an HDD for data storage. If your computer can support installing two drives simultaneously you can easily transfer the OS from the HDD to the SSD.

Users who have installed their OS on an SDD may also need to transfer the OS from one SSD to a larger one. This is so that more and more applications can be installed on the SSD and so they can take advantage of the high speeds that even larger SSDs offer. In the past few years, SSD prices have fallen, becoming much more affordable for normal users since their introduction to the market. As a result, SSD to SSD migration has become normal as users purchase bigger drives.

An alternative view on system migration is that it’s useful because users can keep all of their data intact during system upgrades and saves considerable time and effort when compared to doing a fresh install. In most cases, the transfer is very simple, although, you must make sure that the new SSD is large enough to hold all of your files. If you plan to migrate your drive to a smaller SSD you should make sure that you move all of your personal files to another drive before you begin, this may then reduce the partition size enough to successfully complete the migration.

The best free software to migrate your OS to an SSD

If you are considering migrating your OS to another drive, it is recommended you find reliable specialist software to assist you. AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition is a fantastic program that has the extremely useful ‘Migrate OS to SSD’ feature designed especially for this task. AOMEI Partition Assistant will be able to completely transfer your OS and data to the new SSD drive.

AOMEI Partition Assistant also includes the ‘Disk Clone Wizard’, a feature which can help you clone the entire hard drive to SSD. The wizard is easy to use and is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. What more can you want from a free program? Why don’t you free download it now and see just how easy it is to use?

Please note: The Standard Edition of AOMEI Partition Assistant supports only migrate OS from MBR disk to MBR disk. If using GPT partition style on the hard drive, you need to convert GPT to MBR first or upgrade to Professional edition and try again.

How to: transfer OS to SSD without reinstallation

First, connect the new SSD to your machine (physically install it on desktop PCs or connect. it via a USB-to-SATA cable on laptops), you should make sure that the SSD has been detected by Windows.

After the migration is complete, a screwdriver will be necessary in order to swap out old drive with the newly cloned drive. You may want to backup important data before you start. See the example below.

Step by step guide on how to transfer your OS from hard drive to SSD on a laptop.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Next, click on the ‘Migrate OS to SSD’ option and read the introduction.

Migrare OS to SSD

Step 2. Select your SSD as the destination for the OS transfer. If there are partition on the SSD you need to check “I want to delete all partitions on the disk 2 to migrate system to the disk”. Once checked, the ‘Next’ button will activate, you should now click on it.

Select Disk Space

Step 3. You now have to option to resize the system partition and change the drive letter on the new SSD.

Resize Partition

Step 4. Read the troubleshooting guide on how to boot from the destination disk as you may need this later.


Step 5. Click ‘Apply’ and then ‘Proceed’ to execute the pending operation.


Step 6: Turn off your computer and remove the cloned SSD from the USB to SATA adaptor. Next, you should remove the cover for the hard disk bay on your laptop and replace the old hard drive with the newly cloned SSD. If you are unsure how to do this, your laptop's manufacturer will likely have instructions on their website, or you can check YouTube for helpful tutorials.

Finally, you should boot the laptop up from the new SSD. You will now be able to take full advantage of the speeds that SSDs can offer.

✍ Tips:
If you’re doing this on a desktop PC, you can skip ‘Step 6’ and change the boot priority in the BIOS (move the newly cloned SSD to above the old HDD) in order to boot from the SSD.
A reboot is required in OS migration.

How to format the old system drive after migrating to an SSD

After you transfer OS to new SSD, the old hard drive will still contain a copy of the system. As you will probably want to use the old HDD for secondary storage you will need to format it first. AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition can also help with this as it has a fantastic ‘Format Partition’ feature.

On a desktop PC, you can boot from the SSD and reformat the hard drive without any extra steps. As laptops usually only have one disk bay, you will need to create a bootable USB first and reformat the system drive using the WinPE system.

Make Bootable Media

Here is a step by step guide:

1. Insert a USB drive (or CD/DVD) into your computer. Run AOMEI Partition Assistant and click on ‘Make Bootable Media’.

2. Select the USB flash drive and click ‘Proceed’. All data on USB drive will be overwritten, you should make sure you backup important data beforehand.

3. Wait for the progress to be completed and then click ‘Finish’.

4. Turn off the laptop, install the old hard drive and then boot from the USB stick by changing the boot order in the BIOS. AOMEI Partition Assistant will automatically run after you login. Now you can format the system partition as usual.

Note: The hard drive will not be able to boot after formatting.

Possible reasons your cloned SSD won’t boot.

In most cases, the cloned SSD will be able to boot successfully. On the rare occasion, the SSD can’t boot they may be an underlying issue which we can fix. Often this is because the drive has the wrong partition structure for your system. The MBR partition structure requires that you enable it in the BIOS via Legacy mode, whereas, GPT disks require you to have UEFI mode enabled. If necessary, you can change the partition structure of the drive.

If you receive the “Operating system not found” or “Missing operating system” errors when trying to boot the system, you may have an invalid MBR partition table. MBR is the data structure containing the partition table for your SSD drive, it also includes a small amount of executable code used to boot the drive. You can fix the MBR issue on SSDs by using AOMEI Partition Assistant via the previously created bootable USB.

Our Verdict

Transferring the OS to an SSD in Windows is a very simple process if you have the right specialist tools. If you have made regular backups of your operating system you will be able to perform a system restore using the images and successfully migrate the OS to a new SSD. AOMEI Partition Assistant is the perfect specialist partition tool with its large array of features and helpful OS migration function. The developers have recently added the new ‘Integrate to Recovery Environment’ option which allows you to set a recovery environment on your hard disk for easy restoration. Why don’t you download AOMEI Partition Assistant now and give it a try?