How to Move Windows 10 to SSD (Complete and Detailed Guide)

If you always use a hard drive as your primary boot drive, you’d better move Windows to another drive, preferably an SSD hard drive. To keep your data as it is while still utilizing the speed of the SSD, move your operating system (and all data on it) to the new drive. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, and it means you get started again much faster than if you started from scratch.

Windows 10 does not simplify things, but the instructions below make cloning and replacing your Windows 10 installation a new hard drive as easy as possible.

We’ll show you how to move Windows 10 to an SSD in a few steps. Note, however, that this guide is for people who are just swapping drives, though this method may work if you are building a new rig or swapping computers, depending on your setup. It will probably not work with a virtualization project, although you can find these services if you are willing to pay for them.

Before you start trying to move Windows 10 to a new disk, it is important to install the new disk so that it is ready for the process.

Download Macrium Reflect free

For the purpose of our guide, we will be using Macrium Reflect Free. This software allows you to clone your main drive, on which Windows 10 is installed, to a new SSD for free. Note that you will also need a destination SDD that is larger than or equal to your primary disk for cloning. Otherwise it does not work.

Step 1 : Go to the website and select the Reflect 8 Free Commercial option. Press the button Free download and enter your email. Choose I need a free personal license.

Step 2: Once you have selected this option, click on the button Continue then check your email for download instructions.

Step 3: Visit the link in your email, download the app, and install it. Select the option during installation Available and select To download bottom of the page. make sure that Run the installer directly after downloading is also clicked to have the application installed automatically.

Step 4: Follow the instructions on your screen. keep clicking Next on the messages, and clear all the check boxes for additional software installation. Press the button To complete and let the app install. When the installation is complete, click Start now.

    Macrium Reflect for free on Windows 11.

Configure Macrium Reflect 8 for disk cloning

Once Macrium Reflect 8 is installed, you can open the software and start the cloning process. Here’s how you do it.

Step 1 : Press the button Local disks at the top of the page and select your main disk with your data. Select tab Clone this disk in the middle of the app. You will know that this is your primary drive because it will have multiple partitions.

Step 2: Then click on all the check boxes for the primary disk. Make sure all and all partitions are selected.

Step 1 to clone a disk in Windows 11.

Step 3: Go down to Select a disk to clone then select your new SSD from the app list. If you do not see it, restart the app. You have to choose Delete disk and delete the SSD to be blank as our screenshot below.

Step 3 of cloning a disk in Windows 11.

Step 4: To continue, select Copy selected partitions when I click next and make sure it is checked. Press the button Next to continue.

Step 5: You will be taken to an optional programming page. Ignore it and click Next. You will see an overview of everything you are about to complete that we have below. Press the button To complete button.

An overview of disk cloning in Windows 11.

Step 6: From the context menu, select the option Run this backup now box. Accept any warnings and click Continue > Okay.

Step 7: Sit back and wait while your drive is cloned. This may take some time, depending on your PC speed and the type of SSD you are using. Our clone took seven minutes.

The last step in cloning a disk in Windows 11.

Step 8: When done, you should see that your disk is now completely cloned and both look alike in Macrium Reflect 8’s utility as shown above.

A can of compressed air directed at the inside of a PC to remove dust.

Change your new SSD to a boot drive

To complete this process, set your new disk as the primary boot drive. You can leave the old disk in your PC if you plan to use it for something else. Otherwise, you can also remove it physically.

Step 1 : Start in your PC’s BIOS or UEFI settings. Usually the ESC key works for this or you can use the function To delete . If you are not sure, check your PC manufacturer’s online guides or support page.

Step 2: Go into Start-up parameters and remove or disable your old disk as one of the boot options, and then add or activate the new disk instead. Some BIOS or UEFIs allow you to push the drive or select it from a checklist.

BIOS settings on a Windows 11 PC.

Step 3: Once you have your new hard drive as your primary boot option, click the “Start” button. save and close button, usually labeled in the BIOS. Your system should now boot to your new SSD!

Frequently asked questions

Is it worth moving Windows 10 to a new SSD?

Moving your data from a traditional rotating hard drive to an SSD has a huge performance benefit. SSDs are much faster than HDDs, which means that if you can move Windows 10 to a new disk, your PC will boot much faster. Your games will also load faster and apps will also perform better. We have a dedicated guide that explains the differences, but in the end, your entire system will be more responsive when you first install Windows on an SSD.

Do I need to reinstall Windows when I switch to an SSD?

You do not have to reinstall Windows when migrating to a new disk. Just use the software we mention in this article.

Using specialized software, you can “clone” your disk and copy Windows exactly as you left it. In the worst case, just re-enable Windows after migrating to the SSD, which should not be a problem. Our separate guide covers Windows activation issues.

If all else fails, you can back up your existing Windows 10 installation and restore it later after installing Windows 11 on your PC’s new SSD. Our guide also covers backups and reinstallations.

In our guide, we use Macrium Reflect 8 as clone software, but there are many others like EaseUS Todo Backup Free or AOMEI Backupper Standard. Also, if for any reason you have problems, we suggest that you put your old drive back in your PC and back it up to a separate external SSD. Then perform a clean install of Windows and restore your files and apps manually.

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