By Bryce / Last Updated November 2, 2022

Can I clone to SSD for free?

"I bought an M.2 SSD drive for my PC and want to replace the pre-reinstalled HDD with it. I want to clone Windows to SSD instead of making a fresh installation. Is there any cloning software that can help me to clone to SSD for free from old HDD?"

M.2 SSD

Why clone to SSD?

Although at the beginning of the appearance of SSD, small capacity with the high price makes lots of users keep the bias toward HDD, after several years of the development of SSD tech, SSD now has become affordable. As the successor of  HDD, SSD is always famous for its better performance, fast speed, lower consumption, and stability. Thus, more and more modern machines prefer to choose SSD as the internal disk.

If your machine installed an HDD, and you bought a new SSD, you can keep all your OS settings and installed programs without reinstalling everything by cloning HDD to SSD. And you can also transfer an old SSD to a new SSD to do a disk upgrade for a better experience.

After cloning is over, you can get a duplicate of all the content (including system files) on your original disk. It's quite convenient for users who might wish to keep all things on the computer but need to upgrade the devices.

An excellent HDD to SSD cloning software

To run SSD clone, you can try a free cloning software for SSD/HDD - AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.  It allows cloning HDD to SSD for free in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7.

For disk cloning, it has two options for users: Clone Disk Quickly can clone only used space and the entire disk, so you can not only use it to clone the disk to a smaller SSD; Sector-by-Sector Clone supports clone the entire disk, including bad sectors. In addition, it will align SSD during clone to boost its performance.

Now, you can download this free clone HDD to SSD utility to see how to clone to SSD for free.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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★Tips:
For cloning data disk to SSD, Standard Edition is enough. To clone system disk, you need to upgrade to the Professional Edition.
For users who don’t want to move all things from the source disk to SSD while wanting to keep Windows OS without reinstalling, you can Migrate OS to SSD to clone only OS-related partitions to SSD.
After booting from a cloned SSD successfully, you can wipe hard drive and disk data for reuse.

Step-by-step: Clone to SSD for free with this partition magic

Now, I will show you how to clone to SSD.  Before starting, we need to do some preparations in advance to ensure that there are no issues during the cloning process.

Preparations:
Firstly, connect the new SSD to your PC and make sure it can be detected. If your PC has no extra disk bay for it, you need a USB-to-SSD cable.
What you should pay attention to is that the capacity of the new SSD should not smaller than the used space of your current disk.
Please initialize the SSD if it's new. When setting the partition style, please set the partition style(MBR or GPT) as the same as the HDD. 

Then, you can follow the guide about how to clone HDD to SSD in Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. 

Step 1. Install and run the cloning software for SSD. Click "All Tools" and choose "Disk Clone Wizard".

Step 2. In this window, you need to choose a copying method to clone to SSD. Here "Clone Disk Quickly" is selected.

▪ Clone Disk Quickly only copies the used space of the source disk to SSD. The destination SSD should be larger than the used space of the source disk and can be smaller than the source disk.
▪ Sector-by-Sector Clone copies all sectors of the source disk to SSD no matter it is used or not. The target SSD should be larger than the source HDD or SSD.

Step 3. Select the disk who's all data including OS needs to be migrated as the source disk.

Step 4. Choose the new SSD as your destination disk. Tick the box before "Optimize the performance of SSD" to make SSD 4K alignment.

Step 5. Here you can adjust the partition size on the destination disk. When cloning to a smaller disk, the first option will be greyed out.

Clone without resizing partitions: Keep the size of source partitions.
Fit partitions to the entire disk: Adjust the partition size automatically to fit the whole target disk.
Edit partitions on this disk: Change partition size manually on the destination disk as you like.

Step 6. You’ll get a note on how to boot from the destination disk after cloning. Keep it in mind and click “Finish”.

Step 7. In the home interface, click “Apply” and “Proceed” to commit the operation.

How to: boot from SSD after clone

This is the full guide on how to clone hard drive to SSD for free, if you have no idea about how to boot from the new SSD after cloning to SSD (for free), keep reading.

If the PC can hold only one disk, you need to remove the old hard drive and install the new SSD.

Step 1. Unplug the power, remove the battery from the laptop, and press and hold the power button for about 10 seconds to release any residual power.

Step 2. Remove the case cover and locate the old hard drive on the motherboard. Loosen the screw and unplug your old disk. 

Step 3. Install the new SSD into the slot and screw the screws to fasten the bracket.

Place New SSD

Step 4. Finally, place the case cover and battery back onto the laptop; and connect the power.

If it's available to hold the old hard drive and new SSD on the PC, you can enter BIOS to set the new SSD as the first boot device. 

Step 1. Reboot the PC and press a functional key (ESC, F1, F2, F8, or F10) during the startup screen to enter BIOS. 

Step 2. In the BIOS setup, go to the Boot tab and use arrow keys to set the new SSD as the first position in the list. 

MSI boot order options

Step 3. Save and exit from the BIOS setup.