By Dervish / Last Updated May 18, 2022

Why clone OS to new hard drive?


Generally, people choose to clone Windows system  for the following reasons:

Upgrade the hard drive from an old hard drive to a larger capacity hard drive without reinstalling the operating system and all applications.
When the operating system crashes one day, you don't need to reinstall the operating system and programs; you can clone your operating system back to the hard drive.
Clone OS to new hard drive as a backup.

Free OS cloning software: AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard

How to clone OS to new drive without reinstalling Windows 11, 10, 8, or 7? It can be tough sometimes because it is unlike copying common data. You cannot clone the operating system by simply Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. If you do that, you cannot boot the operating system successfully on the new hard drive.

To copy OS to new hard drive and make sure it is able to run successfully, it's recommended to try a professional and free OS cloning program such as the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It comes with the "Migrate OS to SSD" feature, which can migrate only the operating system and its related partitions to a new drive. And its "Disk Clone Wizard" enables you to clone all content, including the operating system, all other applications, and files from the old hard drive to a new HDD or SSD without losing data and boot failure. 

More importantly, no matter is Migrate OS to SSD or Disk Clone, the whole process is very simple, even if you are a beginner, you can easily complete it.

The free edition only enables you to transfer OS from MBR disk to MBR disk. If you need to clone OS from MBR to GPT, or GPT to MBR/GPT, please upgrade to the Professional Edition.
And after OS clone from GPT to MBR or MBR to GPT, it is necessary to change boot mode from UEFI to BIOS or BIOS to UEFI.


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

Please download the freeware to see how to clone Windows 10 OS to new hard drive easily and safely with the following step-by-step guide.

Two methods to clone OS to new hard drive with secure boot

In the last section, we introduced that AOMEI Partition Assistant offers “Migrate OS to SSD Wizard” and "Disk Clone Wizard" options to help clone Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 to new hard drive. This guide will illustrate how these two functions work.

Before you do:
OS cloning needs to be performed under PreOS Mode, so a reboot is required.
If there are other applications running on the OS partition, AOMEI Partition Assistant will inform you to close those applications.
Use the SATA to USB cable to connect the new hard drive to the computer and make sure it can be detected.

▶ Method 1. Clone only OS partitions to new hard drive 

To clone only system and system-related partitions to a new drive, choose Migrate OS to SSD Wizard. 

Step 1. Click "Migrate OS to SSD" on the left side under Wizards. In the pop-up window, click "Next" to continue.

Migrate Os To Ssd

Step 2. Choose an unallocated space on the new hard drive, and then click "Next" to go on.

Select Disk Space

Step 3. In the pop-out window, you can resize the partition, assign a drive letter to it. Click “Next” to proceed.

Resize Partition

Step 4. A helpful boot note will appear. Read it and click “Finish”.


Step 5. Click “Apply” in the main interface to execute the pending operation.

▶ Method 2. Clone OS hard drive to new hard drive  

Or you can choose to clone the entire operating system hard drive to new SSD or HDD via "Disk Clone Wizard". This feature offers the two different clone methods: "Clone Disk Quickly", only cloning the used space in the source partition and supporting resizing partition in the process. "Sector-by-Sector Clone", copying all sectors no matter whether it is used or not. 

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Then, go to "All Tools" > "Disk Clone Wizard".

Disk Clone Wizard

Step 2. In the pop-up window, choose the partition copy method. Here we choose "Clone Disk Quickly" for example. And then click "Next" to continue.

Select Clone Method

Step 3. Choose the operating system hard drive as the source disk and choose the new drive as the destination disk. If your destination disk is an SSD, you need to check the option "Optimize the performance of SSD". Click “Next”.

Source Disk

Target Disk

Step 4. In the "Edit Disk" window, you can resize partition to fit the new hard drive. Click “Finish”.


Step 5. When you back to the main interface, you can see there is a partition marked as "Clone of C". Click Apply to execute the progress.


No matter which way you choose to clone OS to new hard drive. To boot from it after clone, you have to restart your computer, enter BIOS, change boot order and make the new hard drive as the first boot device. Then you will be able to boot the computer from the cloned disk.

Change Boot Order


Now, you should know how to clone OS to new hard drive and boot from it successfully after clone. The recommended  cloning freeware also supports cloning a specific data partition to another disk with the “Partition Clone”.

Besides, it can move installed programs to another drive, merge partition, make bootable media and more advanced features. If you are running Windows Server OS, please switch to AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.