By Emily / Last Updated December 31, 2021

“Can I clone OS from HDD to SSD for free?”

“I am trying to clone my OS from a traditional HDD (initialized to be MBR) to a new SSD drive (also in MBR partition table) because the computer runs slower and slower on the hard disk drive. I thought the SSD drive can improve its boot speed. So is there a free way to clone operating system from HDD to SSD? Thanks in advance.”

It is a help post from tomshardware forums. Are you also scouting for a way to copy the operating system from HDD to SSD, which is much faster in reading and writing speed? Then your Windows will take a shorter time to boot up and be ready to go in a flash. Besides, the installed applications can load faster and folders/files will open and save in a fast speed.

Great freeware for OS cloning from HDD to SSD

To clone operating system like Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7 from HDD to SSD drive and boot from the cloned Solid State Drive successfully, the easiest way is to adopt a professional disk cloning utility. But a large number of OS cloning software available on the market makes it a challenge to pick out a proper one. Among the countless options, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is a better choice.

Download Freeware Win  11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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★Highlights of this free OS clone to SSD tool:
Clone only OS partition from HDD to SSD with its “Migrate OS to SSD Wizard”.
Clone the entire operating system disk to SSD drive through the “Disk Clone Wizard”.
Clone OS from larger HDD to smaller SSD as long as the SSD drive has enough space to hold the used space of the source OS disk or partition.

Steps to clone operating system from HDD to SSD

As described above, you can clone OS to SSD via “Migrate OS to SSD Wizard” and “Disk Clone Wizard”. Here, we will show you the details of the first method.

Part 1. Preparations before cloning Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 to SSD

No matter which method you finally choose,  please ensure you have done the following preparatory work

1. Connect the SSD drive to your computer

First of all, you should connect the destination solid-state drives to your computer. To install it on a desktop with extra disk drive bays, it will be an easy task. However, if you are planning perform such a cloning task on a laptop, you might need a SATA-to-USB cable. Plug your SSD into the SATA-to-USB adapter, then plug that into your computer.

Connect Disk Laptop

2. Check out the capacity

To ensure a smooth OS clone to SSD process, the SSD capacity should exceed the used space on your system and boot partition(s).  If there is not enough unallocated space on the SSD, you can delete another existing partition to get more. Or you can shrink the source system partition to make it smaller to fit into the SSD unallocated space.

3. Back up important data

This process will wipe data on the target SSD drive, so please make a backup in advance if there is something vital for you.

4. Check out the partition style and boot mode

Since different partition styles (MBR and GPT) use different boot modes (BIOS and UEFI). To avoid boot issues after cloning operating system from HDD to SSD,  you need to check out the SSD's partition style and whether the computer motherboard supports the corresponding boot mode. If it does not support, you can convert SSD's partition style and make it as same as the source disk. You can check the partition style of your SSD in Disk Management.

Part 2. Start copying operating system from HDD to SSD

The free edition only supports cloning OS from MBR HDD to MBR SSD. If you are planning to clone OS from MBR to GPT, GPT to MBR or GPT to GPT, please upgrade to Professional edition.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Click "Migrate OS to SSD" on the left side under Wizards. In the pop-out window, click "Next".

Migrate Os To Ssd

Step 2. In the next window, choose an unallocated space on the destination SSD, and then click "Next" to go on.

Select Disk Space

Step 3. In the pop-out window, you could modify the partition size, location, and drive letter on the new SSD, or just keep default settings and click “Next”.

Resize Partition

Step 4. Then, a helpful note for boot problems will show up. Read it and click “Finish” button.

Note

Step 5. Hit on “Apply” to start copying the operating system from HDD to an SSD.

Apply

If you want to move all partitions (Windows partition and data partitions) on the system disk to SSD, you can try “Disk Clone Wizard”.

Disk Copy Wizard

What to do after cloning OS from HDD to SSD?

After copying the operating system from HDD to SSD drive in either method provided by AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, you need to take the below extra steps to boot your computer from the destination disk.

Step 1. Reboot your PC and press a specific key (Del, Esc, F1, F2, F8, F9, etc) constantly to enter BIOS.

Step 2. Navigate to Boot tab, use the arrow keys to select the cloned SSD as the prior boot drive. Save the changes and exit, and then restart your computer.

Change Boot Order

If you are cloning operating system from MBR disk to GPT disk, or GPT disk to MBR disk with the Professional version, you also need to change boot mode from BIOS to UEFI, or UEFI to BIOS. After making sure you can boot from the cloned SSD drive, you can wipe the old system partition or disk for reuse via the “Wipe Partition” or “Wipe Hard Drive” feature of AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Wipe Hard Drive System

Bottom line

With AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, you can easily clone operating system from HDD to SSD and then elevate the boot speed. Besides that, it offers more advanced functions like converting MBR to GPT without deleting partitions and vice versa, cloning partition to another drive, merging partitions, etc. If you want to clone Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012, 2008 or 2003 to SSD, you need the AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.