Freeware to Migrate Windows 10/8/7 OS to SSD/HDD without Reinstalling

Posted by @AOMEI

December 23, 2016

Free Windows 7/8/10 system backup and cloning software provides the best ways to migrate OS from HDD to SSD without reinstalling Windows and programs from scratch.

A Little About SSD

SSD is short for Solid-State Drive and it refers to a data storage device, which can be used to store data persistently by integrated circus assemblies. According to different interfaces and form factors, SSDs can be divided into 2.5", mSATA, M.2, and PCI-Express. Which type of SSD you need to choose depends on the available ports on your motherboard. Compared to HDD (Hard Disk Drive), it possesses better performance in read and write speeds. However, it is usually more expensive and smaller than HDD.

Why Need to Migrate OS to SSD?

First, OS is short for operating system that creates the environment and command structure within which we can run programs, play games, watch movies, etc. An OS is usually installed in C drive, but migrating OS to SSD doesn't mean only migrating C drive to SSD. As we know, there are two types of disk partition style - MBR and GPT. On a MBR disk, you may find System Reserved partition except C drive. On a GPT disk, you may find EFI partition. To ensure OS is able to boot on SSD after migration is complete, you need to migrate C drive and System Reserved or EFI partition together to SSD.

The reason of migrating operating system to SSD is applied to gain better performance and upgrade hard drive on which the OS has been installed. For most of the users, it has been regarded as a hard problem to do it. Because it would cost a lot of time to reinstall the operating system, updates, drivers, and some other necessary applications. In this case, many users prefer not to upgrade the hard disk. However, if their hard disk is running out of space, the OS migration can not be avoided any more. Once you search on Google, you can find the best solution is to complete this task with some powerful and reliable tools, which can be regarded as a time saver.

Best OS Migration Software

Here, a complete, easy-to-use and reliable software - AOMEI Backupper will be highly recommended. It can help to migrate OS from HDD to SSD while keeping the operating system, applications and settings exactly the same as they should be. Besides, it supports all versions of Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Windows 7, Vista, XP systems, MBR/GPT partition styles, BIOS/UEFI boot modes, 2.5"/mSATA/M.2/PCI-E SSDs. With AOMEI Backupper, there are two ways to migrate OS to SSD with different editions. You can choose the one which is most suitable for you. By the way, no matter which way you choose, the following preparations are alike.

Before you do:

  • Uninstall software you aren't using anymore, delete unnecessary files and transfer data that you don't want stored on your SSD. (optional)
  • Check and make sure your SSD has more space than the total amount of operating system, applications and data in C drive you're migrating.
  • Install your SSD alongside existing hard drives in the same computer and make sure it can be detected. For a laptop, if there is no extra room to install SSD, you need a SATA-to-USB adapter to connect SSD, and then plug into a USB port on your laptop. Your laptop should detect your new SSD as an external hard drive.

Way 1: Migrate OS to SSD via Backup and Restore with AOMEI Backupper Standard [Freeware]

This way is to use "System Backup" and "System Restore" to indirectly implement OS migration to SSD. It is more complicated and will cost much more time than Way 2.

Step 1: Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper Standard. Then click "Backup" -> "System Backup" to create a full system image.

System Backup

Step 2: After system backup image has been created, click "Restore" and the program will automatically detect the system backup image. If not, you can click "Path" to manually browse the path where you save the system backup image. To continue, select the system backup image and click "Next".

Restore System Image

Step 3: A pop-up window will display and click "Yes". In the following window, check the box before "Restore system to other location" so that you can migrate OS to SSD. And then, select a backup point to restore and click "Next".

Restore to SSD

Step 4: Select the SSD (here is Disk1) which you want to migrate OS to and click "Next".

Select SSD

Step 5: On the operation summary window, you can check the box before "Align partition to optimize for SSD". At last, click "Start Restore".

Align SSD Partition Restore

Nowadays most laptops have extra rooms for installing more than one disk. But if there is only one single room for disks in your laptop and you don't have a SATA-to-USB adapter to connect SSD and laptop. In such case, you can create an image of HDD and save it to an USB or network share folder -> create a bootable media -> swap HDD with SSD -> start up laptop with bootable media -> follow the above Step 2 to restore the disk image. However, we suggest you buy a SATA-to-USB adapter which also can be used to connect your HDD to laptop as secondary drive after restoration is completed.

Way 2: Much Easier Way to Migrate System to SSD Directly with AOMEI Backupper Pro [Paid]

Step 1: Install, launch and register AOMEI Backupper Pro with license code. Then select "Clone" -> "System Clone".

System Clone

Step 2: The program will automatically select the source drives that need to be migrated, then you only need to select the SSD as destination location. If the SSD is not empty, the program will prompt you all partitions on SSD will be deleted. Click "Next" to continue.

Migrate Operating System to SSD

Tips: If you migrate OS to another hard drive, here select the HDD instead of SSD.

Step 3: Here is the operation preview which shows you the OS drives will be migrated to SSD. At the lower left corner, you can choose whether or not tick the checkbox before "Sector by sector clone". We suggest you tick the checkbox before "Align partition to optimize for SSD". After that, click "Start Clone".

Migrate OS to SSD

Tips: In this example (refer to Step 2), the source disk is GPT partition style, but the destination SSD is MBR partition style. Therefore, the program will ask you whether you want to convert or not so that you don't have to convert SSD to GPT by yourself. The program can easily clone OS between MBR and GPT disk. If the partition style of source disk and destination disk is same, the window won't display.

The time of OS migration depends on how much data you have. After complete, click "Finish" to exit. And then, restart your computer and enter BIOS to set boot order. You can still use the old hard drive as a secondary drive for backup SSD and data storage. With this system clone software, the operation of migrating operating system to SSD can be completed through just a few clicks.

Tips:

  • No matter which way you use, the original OS won't be removed automatically after restoration or clone. You can manually delete it after your computer can successfully boot from SSD.
  • To migrate OS from MBR HDD to MBR SSD or HDD, you can also use AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard [Freeware].