How to Transfer C Drive to SSD with Freeware?

Posted by @Teresa

July 11, 2016

Learn how to transfer/copy C drive including Operating System, System Reserved partition, installed applications, and personal settings to new Solid State Drive (SSD) step by step.

About SSD and HDD

You may be curious about why people need to clone or transfer C drive to SSD. To figure this puzzle out, you have to know the advantages of SSD comparing to HDD. Usually, your computer was equipped with HDD by its OEM (Original Equipment manufacturer). As the traditional hard drive, HDD is not that as good as SSD on speed of reading and writing. In addition, SSDs could bring better experience with portability and lower power consumption to its users. Besides, SSDs work with nearly none vibration and heat. It can reduce the risk of losing data caused by shake and strike. Moreover, SSDs can work at a temperature from 10 centigrade below zero to 70 centigrade with its mighty property. For advanced requirement, SSD could be used as RAID array easily while that will be hard for HDD. Either for better performance or to upgrade the hard drive, you may understand why people copy C drive to new SSD now.

Before transferring

Can you copy C drive to SSD? Absolutely Yes! But before you start, make sure to backup system and data firstly. This transferring process will not cause data losing, but you cannot be more careful with your data. What’s more, for desktops, an SSD with a 60 GB capacity is usually sufficient. For laptops, it is more complicated because you normally have only one disk bay. And if you move around a lot with the laptop, a bigger SSD (120 GB or 250 GB) may be in order, with the budget allowing anyway. The most important thing is the storage space must be large enough to store your Windows OS (go check use state out in Disk Management). If not, and you don’t want to purchase a larger one, then uninstall some applications or files to minimize your C drive. Usually, you have two different solutions to complete this task: internal Disk Management and third party software.

The easiest way of transferring is using third party software. Yet if you want to operate all of this by manually practice, try the second solution. AOMEI Backupper Standard is free Backup and Clone software that allows you to move C drive to SSD in Windows 7/8/10 as well as their previous version. Just a few clicks, everything will be taken care of. Download this software and have a try.

How to transfer C drive to SSD with AOMEI Backupper?

This program will complete transferring C drive by cloning system to SSD. Insert your SSD and make sure it can be detected by Windows. For a laptop, you need an external enclosure or adjuster to connect SSD with your computer.

Step1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. Select “Clone”-> “System Clone”(to use this function successfully, you need to unlock it by sharing a message on your social networking website first. Just follow the wizard).

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Step2. Choose the SSD as the destination disk.

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Step3. Check the “Operation Summary” (the C drive and system reserved are selected by default, which can make sure normal boot from SSD). Click “Start Clone” after your confirmation.

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“Sector by sector”: if you check this option, the software will clone every sector whether it is used or not.

“Align partition to optimize for SSD”: since the destination disk is SSD, it is strongly recommended you to check this option. This action has the same effect of typing in command line aforementioned.

Transfer C drive with Windows tool manually

The second solution, transfer C drive using Windows tools and some manually practical operations (take Windows 7 for example).

Firstly, shrink the C drive to fit on the smaller SSD because normally the HDD is much more larger than the SSD. Right-click “Computer”-> “Manage”-> “Disk Management” and right-click the C drive, select “Shrink Partition”. (In ‘Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB’ enter a value that’s at least 10% smaller than the usable capacity of your SSD).

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Secondly, backup the shrunken C drive and its system reserved partition to backup disk. Head to “Control Panel”-> “System and Security”-> “Backup and Restore”-> “Create a system image”. After the backup image is made, it will ask for creating a repair disc, if you have Windows 7 installation disk then click “No”, and if you do not have one, then click “Yes” to follow the wizard to create one. Then shut down your PC.

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Thirdly, install SSD and restore from the backup image. Open your PC case and disconnect all drives except for backup disk. Insert the repair disk or Windows 7 installation disk. After the PC boot from the optical disc, select “Repair your computer”-> “Restore your computer using a system image that you created earlier”-> “Use the latest available system image”. Make sure there is only one hard drive that you want to restore because it will be erased. If there are other hard drives, you should exclude them. Click “Next”-> “Finish”-> “Don’t Restart”-> “Shutdown”.

Finally, plug all the drives back in except for the original OS drive to check out whether the computer will boot successfully or not. Boot your computer and open Disk Management. Right-click the new OS partition and select “Extend Volume” to fill the SSD. (Do not adjust the default value because Windows will automatically calculate it.) Enter a single command via the command prompt in administrator mode. Go to “Start”-> “All programs”-> “Accessories”, then right-click “Command Prompt” and run it as an administrator. Type in this command: Winsat disk. This command line makes Windows detect the new drive as an SSD and thus enable all the features unique to these drives.


Remember to change boot settings in BIOS after transferring. As for the old HDD, you can use it as the secondary storage for your computer after formatting the C drive on it. You just transferred C drive to SSD in clicks using AOMEI Backupper Standard. Besides, you can backup files from SSD to HDD back with this software, too. In fact, AOMEI Backupper has more powerful features with it. You also can clone your entire disk if necessary and create a bootable rescue media just in case the computer fails accidentally. The Standard edition of AOMEI Backupper only supports Windows 7/8/8.1/10/XP/Vista. You need to use Server edition if you want Server 2003 backup C drive or transfer C drive in Windows Server.