By Dervish / Last Updated September 29, 2021

Advantages of using SSD for OS and HDD for storage

"So most people get an SSD to put their OS on to make it run faster and I figured I'd do it too. Now when I want to use any programs from my old HDD, such as Malwarebytes, games, Ventrilo, etc., I get issues like missing DLLs or access issues. I think I've cleared any access problems, but my question is:
How can I run my OS off my SSD and all my other programs off my HDD without any issues? I have seen a few things about moving the Users folder over and that may fix things. I also don't want to reinstall everything. If at all possible I just want to keep running everything from what's already on the HDD. The SSD can support a lot of stuff, but I still want to only put certain things on and leave everything that doesn't require super speed on the HDD."

A typical question comes from PC users of “SSD for OS, HDD for storage” setup on the Superuser forum. He actually pointed out one of the advantages of installing OS on SSD: faster running speed and it is true. Faster running speed could be counted as the biggest preponderance of SSD comparing with HDD. However, there are other merits of SSD that you may have not been aware.

Compared to the traditional hard drive, SSDs come with high quivery resistance capability, low power consumption standby, running noiseless, and low operating temperature features, which provides a deeper level of protection for your OS during a disaster. Nevertheless, SSDs are comparatively smaller than HDD that’s why it is best to use SSD for OS only and use HDD for storage.

How to set SSD as boot drive and HDD for storage in Windows 11?

You may choose different solutions based on your needs. If the PC is brand new and you want to install OS from scratch, it is better to clean install OS on the SSD with its installation disc. Then format the system partition on HDD to free up disk space.

Tip: You may be not allowed to format system drive under Windows environment, click to learn how to fix System Partition not allowed to be formatted.

Another instance would be you don’t want to reinstall everything after using the computer for a period of time. All necessary and favorite programs are appropriately installed as the user in the forum did. You only want to move OS as well as some applications that demand the fast speed to the new SSD. Definitely just move Users folders won’t help anything on migrating OS to SSD.

On the contrary, that operation will possibly cause the system to mess up. More specifically, you store Windows all information including registry entries, DLLs on C drive early and now you move them to another partition yet Windows does not know it. The best way is to move the whole system-related data to SSD using AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard to ensure success boot.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is free OS migration and hard drive formatting software that can assist you use SSD for OS, HDD for storage. It supports Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP/Vista based PC. In theory, you move OS from HDD to SSD first with “Migrate OS to SSD” feature and then format the previous system drive for another usage using this same software. Moreover, the software will automatically align partitions on SSD with its advanced technology. No need to reinstall or re-configure system and programs. Download it to have a try.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Steps of using SSD as OS drive and HDD as storage

Part 1. Migrate OS drive from HDD to SSD

1. Install the SSD to PC properly and make sure it can be recognized by Windows. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant. Click Migrate OS to SSD in the left Wizards pane. Then select the positive option in the next pop-up window.

Migrate OS to SSD

2. Select the new SSD that you will use it for OS directly and click Next.

Select Disk Space

3. You have options to resize the system partition on SSD and change the drive letter if you wish. Type specific partition size into boxes is also available.

Resize Partition

4. This Note might be helpful and bear it in mind and click Finish.


5. Finally, click Apply and then Proceed to execute the pending operation. It may ask to reboot the computer and complete the task in reboot mode.


6. You’re half done. The previous system drive will be completely moved to SSD and shown as D drive after migration. Now test if the SSD can boot normally. Change boot superiority to SSD in BIOS or remove HDD to test, and the latter method may assist you to do the test more thoroughly.

Part 2. Format the old system drive on HDD

What you need to do next after testing is to format the older system drive C on HDD. It won’t allow you to format, delete, or change the system drive under Windows environment. Luckily, you can accomplish this with the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Create a bootable device via “Make Bootable Media” wizard, boot computer from the bootable device, and you can format C drive under Windows PE mode.

Make Bootable Media

①To move OS from/to GPT disk, you need to upgrade to Professional edition. The free software support MBR to MBR only.
②This method is not suitable for laptop with only one drive bay because it is hard to realize SSD for OS and HDD for storage disposition. If you want to replace the old HDD with SSD in laptop, please refer to how to switch from HDD to SSD.
③For Windows Server users to manage disk partitions conveniently, AOMEI Partition Assistant Server is highly recommended.


Using SSD for OS and HDD for storage is probably the best arrangement for desktops, which makes full use of the preponderance of each type of disks. Luckily, all complicated operations can be easily managed when you turn to AOMEI Partition Assistant.

This all-around software will solve lots of practical issues for your PC in the future if you keep it on the PC. For example, extend C drive to non-contiguous space when the system drive is out of space. It supports a large number of removable devices, so it is easy for you to format Lexar USB or erase SanDisk USB flash drive.