How to Migrate HDD to SSD without Reinstalling Windows

Migrating to SSD drive is one of the best thing you can make to your computer. However cloning your HDD to a small drive can be bit complicated, as your data cannot get fit on the smaller drive. Hence make sure you are selecting the size properly. This page will provide step by step procedure to understand how to clone HDD to smaller drive without reinstalling Windows OS. Here we go with the procedure…

What you will need?

  • An SSD, of course: SSD should be with right form factor and interface, along with enough free memory space.
  • An external adapter: An external enclosure to connect SSD to system.
  • Your current hard drive with Windows OS installed.

Steps to migrate HDD to SSD:

Step1: Make a full backup of your system

One of the way to create system backup is by creating system image backup on Windows, go to control panel > System and Security > Save backup copies of your files with File History.

In the next Window click on “Save image backup” which is located at the bottom left corner. This will create system image on external drive or network location.

Step 2:  Make free space on your drive:

Your hard drive may contain large files or folders on it. In this case you will have to transfer those files to an external drive to make enough space on your drive. And also delete unused or unnecessary files that you are not willing to transfer to SSD. So that it won’t show any problems during migrating process.

Step 3: Connect and initialize SSD

Connect SSD to system using USB cable or adapter. Once the connection is done, initialize SSD.

Step 4: Resize the HDD partition (same or smaller size than SSD)

Check whether the primary partition (C: drive) is larger than SSD. If so then you need to shrink the partition to make it equal to or smaller than SSD.

Step 5: Clone your drive to SSD

Finally, it’s time to clone your drive to SSD. For that you must need to install the disk cloning software to migrate to an SSD.

Step 6: Swap your HDD with SSD physically

Carefully remove the old drive from your system and insert SSD into it.

Step 7: Boot SSD drive

Turn on your system and if everything went as planned then Windows will recognize your SSD drive. Then click Win + S to search for defrag and select “Defragment and optimize your drives”. In the Optimizer window, your drive should be listed as Solid State Drive. If so then your mission is completed!

Now your HDD will be cloned to SSD and now you Windows will boot from SSD. While performing the above steps, make sure there is proper internet connections, power supply etc. and should be more careful while selecting any options. Because, if any mistakes or interruptions occur then there are chances of hard drive crash. In that case follow these easy steps to recover data from crashed hard drive. With this you can restore back all your data lost after hard drive crash. However, one has to take backup of entire data on hard drive before performing these operations.

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John Harris

Senior Editor, Content Analyst and a fan of exceptional customer service. John develops and publishes instructional and informational content regarding partition management, Windows hot-fixes, data management and computer troubleshooting.

As a tenured data recovery specialist, John shares exceptional insights and blog posts about data loss and data recovery across any storage device. With 8+ years’ experience in writing for Data Recovery for both Mac OS and Windows OS computers, he is an avid learner who always wants to polish and simplify the data recovery process. John passes his free time playing Chess and reading Science Fiction novels.

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