Do you want to upgrade your hard drive to that highly anticipated SSD or hybrid drive? That is great news, but first you have to move your operating system (and all the data it contains) to the new drive. Windows 10 does not make this easy, but follow the instructions below to clone your Windows 10 installation and switch to a new hard drive.
Note: This manual is primarily intended for people who only change discs. This method can work if you build a new installation or switch computers, depending on your installation. It will almost certainly not work with any kind of virtualization project, although you can find those services if you are willing to pay for it.
: Prepare your system
Before you copy and move anything, it is important to ensure that you clean your files to make the transition as quick and painless as possible. Fortunately, Windows comes with its own clean-up tool, which you must use before you continue.
Just search for Disk Cleanup in the Windows search bar and click on the respective link that appears.
Once opened, you should see a box with a list of file types with which you can check the files that you want to discard. In this case, most file types need to be checked because they are all classifications of files that you do not need, such as temporary files and various trash data. It is always a good idea to check the different options again, in case there is something that you want to keep.
Click on Clean up system files at the bottom of the window. This adds a few extra file types that you may want to remove, such as previous Windows installations – which can be quite bulky, especially if you are part of the Windows Insider program of Windows 10. Note: When the Disk Cleanup utility switches to recording of system file types, all changes that you made to the list of file types in step 2 are restored. Bad!
Press OK to start the Disk Cleanup utility and to wipe the slurry from your system. Even with multiple GB of data, the process should not take too long.
Step 2: Install a migration tool
Windows 10 does not offer a simple method for cloning and swapping your operating system to a new hard drive. The good news is that there are enough apps that allow you to do exactly that. These are usually backup programs that also contain important cloning functions that are specially designed for moving Windows 10 from an old hard drive to an SSD (or similar migrations). There are quite a few to choose from, but below are a number of free options that we recommend.
EaseUS Todo Backup Free 11.5 : The long name hides a well-maintained backup tool, one with an interface that is very friendly to both Windows users and newcomers.
EaseUS Partition Master Professional 13.5 : A more professional version with better data management tools, for those who know what they are doing and want more control over the migration process. However, make sure you choose the free trial version that should be sufficient to complete your move.
AOMEI Backupper Standard : a long-term backup solution with a lively interface, this app is a great choice if you like the idea of using backup and cloning programs & # 39; s for future projects, but you have no current solution.
Once you have downloaded your backup program, this is a good time to back up your data in case something goes wrong. Open your tool and look at the main menu. All the above tools have a clear sidebar and a main menu with options such as Backup or Backup Tool . Choose the right option – again, the wording may vary – and select where you want to back up your files. Then, take the time to complete the process before continuing with the migration procedure.
We probably don't have to say this, but you don't have to back up your data to the hard drive you use for migration. Use a separate external hard drive or specify a cloud backup service.
Step 3: Choose your target drive
Connect your new hard drive – or your old hard drive, depending on how or why you are migrating – to your computer. You have several options for connecting a new hard drive, but the most common is SATA. SATA cables are flat, often red in color, and the connectors have an L-shaped bend at one end. Find a free slot on your motherboard to connect the drive and a spare cable that flows from your power supply and you should work. Consult our complete manual for installing a SATA hard drive if you have a problem or are confused.
Open the backup application you choose. Look in the main menu for the option with the text Migrate OS to SSD / HDD Clone or just Migrate . That's the one you want.
This should open a new window in which the program detects the disks that are connected to your computer and asks for a target drive. Make sure you choose your new SSD or other disk as the destination and make sure that the destination disk has enough space. This window should also contain useful information about the data in each disk – the example below is from EaseUS Partition Manager, the above is from AOMEI & # 39; s Backupper.
Step 4: Adjust the size of partitions
These backup tools usually give you options to adjust partitions. You have the option to delete partitions on the target drive, which you may need to do if the drive has been used previously or is set to work with another device from the box. If you are unsure, it is a good idea to delete the partitions, just to be sure.
You also have an option to choose how large the partitions are when they migrate. You can choose to make a copy without resizing partitions, but this is usually a bad choice that does not benefit from the tool. Instead, choose the option to adjust and optimize partitions for the new drive. Optimize Resize and similar assignments are what you want to look forward to.
The program clone wizard will now take over. View your disks and start the migration process. Confirm that you want to continue and the software will let you know when it is complete. However, this can take some time, so it is a good idea to make sure that your power cables are connected and that the older hard drives have enough room to "breathe" so they don't overheat.
Once the migration is complete, restart your computer and check if everything works. Your tool should therefore ask you, or you can choose to automatically restart your PC after the migration process is complete. You can then delete the backup tool or save it for more data management.