By Teresa / Last Updated July 22, 2020


Many older or cheaper Windows laptops or desktops usually come with traditional mechanical hard drives (HDD) that are relatively outdated and slow in data reading and writing performance. So many users bought a new and faster solid-state drive (SSD) and try to configure the operating systems on the new disk, which could be the best way to speed up an old Windows computer. To achieve this purpose, there are usually two methods you can try:

1. Clean install: perform a fresh OS installation onto the new SSD

2. SSD Migration: migrate OS from HDD to SSD without reinstalling Windows

Faced with two different options, most users will feel confused on which one to choose: SSD migration or clean install. Next, we will explain both of them clearly to help you make a wise choice.

Clean install vs. SSD migration

A clean install is an operating system (OS) installation that overwrites all other content on the hard disk. The current operating system and user files will be removed during the installation process. Afterwards, the new SSD only contains the new operating system, like a computer you just bought and used. Namely, the customized programs will get lost and you need to download and reinstall them again. Besides, this fresh OS installation requires a Windows installation media (CD/DVD/USB drive) and takes a much longer time.

Windows Installation Cd

All in all, if you plan to clean install OS on SSD, you have to make more preparations and spend more time. The preliminary work includes: Windows installation media, back up your personal data, and more. Of course, it is necessary to find a proper way to connect SSD to your computer, initialize and format the SSD for clean installation. Most importantly, you will need to activate the Windows with product key, so please ensure you have one.

By comparison, the migrating Windows operating system from HDD to SSD is much more effective and convenient. The SSD migration can transfer only OS drive to solid-state drive while keeping your personal data intact on the old hard drive. So you don’t need to worry about the data loss issue.

Better to perform SSD Migration than clean install

From above, we can tell that SSD migration is a better choice than clean install. Now the core problem is how to migrate OS to SSD successfully. The easiest way is to apply a professional SSD migration tool. Here we recommended AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. This reliable partition manager comes with a wizard named “Migrate OS to SSD/HDD” to help users to directly transfer the system (system reserved and system partition) to SSD without reinstalling anything.

Furthermore, it allows you to align partitions on SSD drive after the “ OS migration to SSD” is completed.The system partition will be automatically marked as C: after you unplug the source disk and boot from the SSD. The operation won’t do any changes on your source disk so that you can use it in case of SSD failed. To migrate OS to SSD via this software, do as below:

①Connect the SSD to your computer using a SATA-To-USB cable or enclosure. Back up critical data on it.
②If the SSD has smaller capacity, you can remove unnecessary programs from the current C drive and shrink the system partition to make it smaller.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Click on “Migrate OS to SSD”.

Migrate OS to SSD

Step 2. Select an unallocated space on your SSD drive and click on “Next”.

Select Unallocated Space

Step 3. Here you can resize the new system drive on the SSD. Then click “Next”.

Resize Partition

Step 4. A note boot pops out and you can read it carefully.


Step 5. Click on “Apply” to start the migration process.


Then wait for the OS to SSD migration to be finished.

Tips for booting from SSD
1. If you have migrated OS from MBR disk to GPT SSD, you have to change boot mode from Legacy to UEFI(the versa is also true). If your Windows system is 32-bit and cannot boot from the GPT disk, you can convert SSD to MBR with this software as well.
2. You have to enter BIOS environment and change boot order to set the SSD drive as the first boot device. Then you will be boot computer from the destination disk.

Apart from OS migration to SSD, the AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional also enables you clone HDD to SSD instead of fresh installation.

Disk Clone Wizard


After reading this post, you should know which one to choose: SSD migration or fresh install. Briefly, the OS to SSD migration is more convenient and time-saving than clean installation. The above software also comes with a function named “Windows to Go Creator” , allowing you to deploy a full corporate environment and boot it from a USB drive or external USB hard drive. If you are using Windows Server operating system, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.