How to Clone Windows 10 to an SSD

Cloning Hdd To Ssd Feature Image 1

If your old PC is running slow, the easiest way to get it to run faster is to upgrade the hard disk to an SSD (Solid State Drive). While the upgrading and installation is easy, the only issue you may face is how you can get your Windows OS and data on the new SSD without reinstalling. Luckily, it is possible to clone Windows 10 from an HDD to an SSD.

Here’s a guide that shows you how to clone the entire Windows OS with all files and settings intact over to the SSD drive.

Preparing for the Cloning Process

Several preparations need to be done before cloning the HDD’s data onto the SSD. These include partitioning your SSD drive to add an extra volume where the data transfer can occur.

Also, try to keep all your data in one partition to reduce the chance of not completely cloning the drive. It is important to close all programs before commencing cloning.

It is advisable to also do a disk cleanup to get rid of unnecessary files from the HDD drive. This reduces the size of the data to be transferred. It also prevents you from copying unneeded files.

To do this, follow the below steps:

1. In the Windows search bar, type Disk Cleanup and click on its link.

clone-windows-10-ssd-disk-cleanup

2. A box with a list of file types will open. Check the files you want to get rid of or delete. Most of them will be checked already, as they’re the files you don’t need, like temp files and other data. Double-check to make sure you didn’t include files you actually want to keep.

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3. Click “Clean up system files.”

clone-windows-10-ssd-disk-cleanup-files-clean-up-system-files

4. Click OK to begin the cleanup process.

Starting the Cloning

For those computers that only have one hard drive slot, using a hard drive enclosure lets you access the SSD drive via USB. It allows you to proceed with the cloning through the USB port. Laptops typically have 3.5-inch hard drives, so you would need a 3.5-mm USB enclosure to access the drive via USB.

Cloning Hdd To Ssd Hard Drive Usb Enclosure
Example of a hard drive enclosure with USB accessibility

Use CloneGO to Clone the Data

CloneGo is a cloning software available in free and commercial versions. The free version has limited functionality but is available to all and can perform OS and data cloning with ease. If you prefer to use Clonezilla, we have a tutorial for that too.

1. Download and install CloneGo in Windows 10 and then open the program.

2. Click on Copy, then select the source partition (your HDD drive) and a target partition (your SSD).

Cloning Hdd To Ssd Selecting Target And Source

3. Check “Set the target partition as the boot disk.” This will allow you to boot from the SSD drive once the cloning is complete.

4. After selecting the relevant options, click Start. Ensure that your target partition (the SSD) does not have any data you need since it will be formatted during the process.

Cloning Hdd To Ssd Formatting And Cloning

5. It will first format the SSD to the necessary format, then copy (clone) all the data from the HDD to the SSD.

6. After you successfully clone your data to the SSD, shut down your computer. If you are connecting the SSD via USB, you can open your computer, take out the existing HDD and put the SSD card in its place. Make sure the computer is off and unplugged.

Booting it up

With the SSD in place, you can power on and boot up your computer. On the BIOS screen, make sure the SSD is selected as the first boot option. If everything is fine, you should be able to boot up to Windows 10 and all your files and data intact. You will find it run significantly faster.

As you can see, it is easy to clone your Windows 10 to an SSD. You can make use of the same steps, too, to clone from SSD to SSD. The best thing is that your Windows will now be running fast again.

If you have a Mac, you can also create a bootable clone of your Mac.

Don Sharpe

Don has been writing professionally for over 10 years now, but his passion for the written word started back in his elementary school days. His work has been published on Livebitcoinnews.com, Learnbonds.com, eHow, AskMen.com, Forexminute.com, The Writers Network and a host of other companies.

2 comments

  1. Wow, I just did that on a Dell desktop, went from a 2 TB HDD to 1 TB SSD. This was a pain! The pain part was going from a large drive to a smaller one. Even though the original drive was 25% full and should have easily fit on the new drive, shrinking the OS partition, which was stuck at about 1 TB min, sufficiently for a successful clone took a number of attempts.

    I’ve used Clonezilla many times to clone equal or larger drives, works great. Didn’t this time. If you’ve ever used Clonezilla, the interface is right out of 1980, not a problem until something goes wrong and an inscrutable error message and shut down follow. After 3-4 tries with various switch combinations and no luck, I moved to Macrium Reflect with an interface similar to CloneGo’s, lots of drag and drop and seemingly clear instructions. Three failures later with “cloned disk won’t boot, isn’t recognized as mounted”, it worked. Took a lot of fiddling with Advanced Settings to succeed. Over an hour per attempt.

    The reason I went to Clonezilla a few years ago was because of similar experiences with other GUI based utilities although I’ve not used the one mentioned in this article. Cloning’s one of many things Macrium Reflect can do; if I didn’t already have some knowledge of cloning, I doubt I could have worked through the errors encountered. Maybe CloneGo is more focused and simpler to use; IDK.

    Cloning, imaging, partition management, etc., aren’t things most users do often, if ever. They’re very simple processes but I’ve found many utilities make them needlessly complicated and may not work reliably. OS’s should have a one button switch that clones a drive to a new drive and nothing else. No options, no choices. Utilities can be used otherwise for more advanced stuff.

    If you’re new to cloning, make your life easy and do your first clone to a larger drive; it should work.

  2. “then copy (clone) all the data from the HDD to the SSD.”
    You are mixing up the two terms “copy” and “clone”. A “clone” works on the partition or the disk level and copies each and every byte, no matter whether it contains data or not. A “copy” works on the file level and only copies bytes containing data, disregarding unused bytes. That is why you can “copy” a 100GB input partition containing only 25 GB of data to a 25 GB output partition BUT to “clone” that same input partition, you will need a full 100GB partition. And that is why you must “clone” to the same size or larger partition.

    Actually, since the “clone” process creates an EXACT copy of a partition or disk, it is wasteful to “clone” to a bigger disk/partition. Any excess space over the size of the input will become unallocated and, in order to regain that space, the user will have to employ some utility (ex. GParted) to resize the output partition.

    While every “clone” process is a copy, not every “copy” process is a clone.

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