If you need to migrate your current Windows 10 on the SSD you just bought or any other drive, you can do this in multiple ways. There are multiple ways to do that, but all methods require additional software. Today we are going to explain how you can clone your operating system without reinstalling and what free software you should use.
First of all, we will talk about tools that allow cloning Windows 10 onto SSDs installed in most laptops and modern computers with UEFI (the graphical interface that replaced BIOS) and the system installed on the GPT-disk. Note: some utilities work better with MBR-disks but may experience some malfunctions with GPT-disks.
A quick reminder for our readers: if you don’t need to transfer all your programs and files from another disk to a new one, it would be easier to install a clean copy of Windows, for example, using a bootable USB flash drive. If you don’t know how to create a bootable USB flash drive, look for the article on our website. You will not need a product key if you are installing the same version of Windows (Home, Professional, or Enterprise) that was installed earlier on that PC. During installation you just need to click «I don’t have a product key,» and when you go online, the system will be activated automatically despite the fact it is now installed on your new SSD.
How to clone Windows 10 to SSD with Macrium Reflect
Macrium Reflect is a disk-cloning tool available that has a free 30-day trial version, which can be downloaded from the official website. It is rather easy to use and allows transferring your Windows 10 installed on a GPT-disk to a new SSD effortlessly. Please, remember that your target disk (the one you are cloning your system to) must be empty or without any important files as everything will be wiped in the process of cloning.
Follow the procedure below to migrate your Windows 10 from a GPT-disk with UEFI on another drive. Note: if the program cannot see your new SSD, you need to let the system analyze it first. In order to do that, press Win+R and type diskmgmt.msc in the window that will appear. Then right-click on your SSD and initialize it.
After downloading and running the installer of Macrium Reflect, select Trial and Home, then click Download. Wait for the download process to end. The installation will start automatically.
After installing and first launch, the program will ask you to create a CD/DVD or USB bootable media. We don’t really feel it is necessary, but it is up to you. In the program’s interface find a tab called «Create a backup,» select the disk with the installed operating system and click the option «Clone this disk,» which can be found below.
On the next screen, you need to select those sections you want to migrate onto your SSD. Usually all first partitions as well as the system partition with Windows 10 (disk C). Your next action is clicking on the option in the same window – «Select a disk to clone to.» It must be your new SSD.
The program will show how exactly the contents of your older hard-drive (or solid-state drive) will be cloned onto SSD. In our example, we created a disk for copying smaller in size than the original, plus we also created an «excess» primary partition to see how Macrium Reflect reacts to such conditions. The program automatically cut the last partition in size to make it a perfect fit on the new drive. We also received a useful notification: The last partition has been shrunk to fit. Click Next to proceed.
The program may ask you to create an operation schedule (if you want the process of system cloning to be fully automatic), but ordinary users that just need one-time system migration can skip this and just click Next.
In the next menu, you will see the cloning operations to be performed during the process of migrating. Click «Finish» – «Ok.»
When Macrium Reflect finishes the process, you will see the message «Clone completed,» and the time it took. It may take more time than in our case as we cloned a clean version of Windows from one SSD to another.
Now the process of migrating Windows 10 is over, and you can turn off your laptop or PC and detach your old storage device in order to boot from the new one. Or you can use them both, just don’t forget to select which disk to boot from in UEFI/BIOS.
You can download Macrium Reflect from their official website http://macrium.com. Look for the section Home Products and click Download 30 Day Trial.
Migrate Windows 10 to SSD with EaseUS Todo Backup Free
The freeware version of EaseUS Backup also a good choice to clone installed Windows 10 to SSD with all partitions and settings. It works perfectly with UEFI GPT systems. Here are six quick steps that explain how to migrate Windows 10 to SSD using EaseUS Todo Backup:
- Download EaseUS Todo Backup from the official website http://www.easeus.com (go to the Download center and select the program; it will ask you to enter your email – you can type anything there). The install wizard will ask you to check additional software, and when you launch the program for the first time it will also ask you to enter the license product key (for the full version of the program) – just skip it.
- In the main menu, you need to click on the Clone button.
- Select the disk that must be cloned to your new SSD. We couldn’t select individual partitions – only the whole disk. If your older disk is too big for the SSD, the last partition will be automatically shrunken to fit.
- Select the disk to clone your system on (all information from that disk will be erased). You can also check the option «Optimize for SSD» for additional disk analysis during the procedure.
- On the last stage of the operation, you get to see the structure of the source disk and partitions on the target SSD. Click «Proceed.»
- The program will remind you that all the information on the target disk will be removed. Read the warning, accept it, and wait until EaseUS Todo Backup finishes cloning Windows.
Now it is ready, and you can load your computer from your new SSD (after selecting proper boot options in BIOS/UEFI or manually detaching your old storage device). After cloning Windows 10 we tested it and didn’t get any errors or malfunctions – everything was working as it was before on the older storage device. We hope one of these methods will help to solve your questions in this regard and explain how to migrate Windows.