By Dervish / Last Updated March 9, 2022

Can I just copy and paste one hard drive to another?


“I now have a 1 TB HDD on my computer, and I just bought a 6 TB SSD. I have programs and other things on a 1 TB hard drive. What I want to know is can you copy from one hard drive to another? Please tell me what should I do? Thanks in advance!”


The answer is No! Because copy and paste is likely to cause the program to fail to start normally.

The way to copy and paste one hard drive to another

Copy and paste is only for some files, such as pictures, videos, audios, documents and other files that have nothing to do with the operating system. The specific operation is as follows:

Step 1. Connect your new hard drive to the computer to ensure that the computer can detect it.

Step 2. Open the old hard drive, press “Ctrl + A” to select all data, or select a single file, right-click to copy.

Step 3. Paste the selected file to another new hard drive.

Copy and paste can only operate on some simple files. The limitation is very obvious, because copy and paste actually only copies the files apparently, and does not copy other data used to find and access these files. If you just copy and paste system files, the MBR and File Allocation Table will not be copied to the new hard drive, this will cause the system to fail to boot.
Even if some files are copied to the new hard drive, they cannot be used because the path is not found because the drive letter is changed.
In addition, copy and paste speed is very slow. For large files migration, copying to other hard drive will take a lot of time and effort. And during the copy process, many operations will cause the copy to be interrupted, resulting in data loss.

So, how to transfer data from one internal hard drive to another in Windows 10? Disk clone is your best choice.

More comprehensive clone software for Windows

AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is a reliable third-party cloning utility to copying one hard drive to another. It is safe, you don’t need to worry about data loss. It can clone all files, including boot.ini from one disk to another. And all the cloned files can run successfully in the new drive, even Windows OS.

This partition manager provides two cloning methods: Clone Disk Quickly and Sector-by-Sector Clone. The former refers to quickly cloning the used sectors to the target disk or partition. The latter refers to cloning all sectors of the original disk to the new disk, so the capacity of the new disk is required to be equal to or larger than the original disk.

If you still have a question about "Can you copy and paste Windows to another hard drive", then Migrate OS to SSD feature can answer you. Now, please download the demo version to figure out how it works.

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Free download this computer operating system clone software, then install and open it. In the operation bar on the left, in "All Tools", select "Disk Clone Wizard".

Step 2. Here, choose a suitable method based on the differences mentioned above (choose the first method as an example).

Step 3. Select the disk where the cloned file is located (take Disk 1 as an example).

Step 4. Here, select the target disk you plan to clone to.(take Disk 2 as an example). If your target disk is an SSD, you can check "Optimize the performance of SSD".  The purpose of this is to improve the SSD read and write speed.

Step 5. In this step, you can adjust the size of the target disk partition. If it is cloned to a smaller hard drive, then the first item is not selectable.

Step 6. You can preview all operations this time in this window. Click"Apply"to submit for execution.

After that, You have successfully cloned the target disk. With AOMEI Partition Assistant, you can easily copy internal/external hard drive to another external hard drive.

Move installed applications to another drive via App Mover

The above shows you how to clone the entire disk, which may include some files that cannot be copied and pasted. But if you plan to copy are all installed applications, you can also move installed applications to another drive by AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

Download Demo Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Open the main interface of AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro, click All Tools-->Other Tools-->App Mover.

Step 2. When the main interface of this function is opened through All Tools-->Other Tools-->App Mover, select the partition where the file to be moved exists and click“Next”.

Step 3. In this step, tick the application you want to move and the location where the target file wants to move. You can make multiple selections, then click "Move".

PS.: You must select a disk with enough space for the new file.

Step 4. Decide if you want to move, and then click"OK".

Step 5. After the "Move" is completed, click "Finish"to return to the PA main interface.

From what has been discussed above, I believe you have a clear understanding of "Can I Just Copy and Paste One Hard Drive to Another?". If you haven't tried AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro yet, you can have a try. If you are using Windows Server, please upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.