If you want to move Windows to another drive, continue reading below. Computer hardware (like everything else) wears out over time. This, of course, also happens with hard drives, over time their performance decreases and must be replaced.
The hard drive is probably the most important device in the computer, because it is used to store your work (documents, photos, videos, confidential information, etc.). Therefore, it is recommended to replace it after 3-5 years to prevent possible data loss and extend the life and performance of the computer.
If you want to replace your Windows hard disk drive (HDD) with another HDD or SSD (solid state drive – at least 14 times faster than an average hard drive), you can do so in one of the following ways:
- Method 1: Back up your files to an external drive and then proceed with a clean install of Windows. After installation, install the necessary programs, restore your files and personalize your computer as before.
- Method 2: Move Windows and all your data (Files, Programs and Settings) to another HDD without the hassle of reinstalling programs and restoring files and settings.
Of the above methods, as you understand, the second one is the easiest, because it allows you to transfer Windows to another disk without the stress of reinstalling the operating system, programs and settings or restoring files!
In this guide, you will find detailed instructions on how to transfer Windows with your programs, files and settings to another drive.
How to move Windows to another hard drive (Windows 11/10/8.1).
To move (migrate) Windows to another disk, you can use the built-in Windows Backup and Restore tool to create a system image, and then you can restore this image to a new drive (Method-1) or you can use a third disk. Disk cloning utility to copy your Windows disk to a new one (Method-2). Both methods are described below. *
Before you begin the process of moving Windows to another drive, follow these steps:
1. Back up your personal files and data If something goes wrong, move your files to another external storage device (such as a USB Drive) to get a copy.
2. Perform disk cleanup to delete unnecessary files and free up storage space.
Method 1. How to transfer Windows to another drive using a system image.
A built-in Windows system image tool is the first and recommended way to transfer Windows, files, applications, and settings to another drive that is equal to or larger than the current drive. For example, if the current disk is 256 GB, the new disk must be greater than or equal to 256 GB to use the system image in Windows. *
*Note: If the contents of your current drive (used space) can fit on a drive smaller than the current drive, follow the instructions in Method-2 to clone the drive using a disk cloning utility.
- A new disk (in Gigabytes) equal to or larger than the current disk.
The process of moving Windows to another hard drive using Windows’ built-in system image tool is that the new drive must be larger than or equal to the current drive.
- Secondary disk/disc (internal or external) to save the system image. If you don’t have a secondary drive, follow the instructions for method-2 below.
- USB Windows Installer.
To restore Windows to a new driver, you must boot your computer from USB installation media. If you don’t have Windows Installer, follow these instructions to create one.
- A new disk (in Gigabytes) equal to or larger than the current disk.
Step 1. Create a system image.
To create a full backup of your Windows disk (aka “System Image” backup):
1. Get a portable USB hard drive with enough free space and connect it to the computer. Once complete, make sure it appears in Windows Explorer.
2. click on Start menuthen write Control Panel and select It’s open.
3. Choose Backup and Restore (Windows 7)
4. press Create a system image
5. A dialog box will appear to scan your computer for backup devices. Click the drop down button below On the hard drive and select the USB hard drive you connected, then click The next one.
6. A window will appear with the size of the data to be copied to the USB hard drive. Choose Start saving continue.
7. A progress bar will appear showing the duration of the process. Be patient while Windows saves the system image to the external drive. (This process may take some time depending on the data size and hardware speed).
8. When the system image is complete, you will be prompted to create a system repair disc. press No To continue and close all windows.
Step 2. Replace the hard drive.
After saving the system image and having the Windows USB installation media, proceed to restore Windows to the new disk as follows:
1. to close your personal computer.
2. Delete current Windows hard disk and unmount (delete) any other secondary drives (if any) to avoid errors.
3. Installation the new hard drive.
4. plug External USB drive with system image.
Step 3. Restore the system image.
1. Turn on; launch your computer and Boot from USB Windows installation media. (Common keys Del, F9, F12 to access boot order options)
2. On the Windows Settings screen, select The next one and then press Repair your computer.
3. Choose Troubleshooting, then press Restore the system image.
4. When System Restore detects the image you created, leave the Use last available system image option selected and click . The next one button.
5. Make sure of it Formatting and repartitioning the disk* check box and click The next one.
* Attention: This will delete existing partitions and data install on a new hard drive and reformat to match the layout of the system image.
6. Finally click Termination and then select Yes to confirm that you want to proceed with the system image recovery. Depending on the amount of data in the system image, the process will take several minutes.
7. After the recovery is complete, the computer will automatically restart within 60 seconds. At this point, remove the USB installation media and allow the system to boot from the new drive. (In some cases, you may need to go into BIOS/UEFI to configure the computer to boot from a new hard drive).
Quick tip: If the new hard disk is the same size as the old hard disk, all disk space is allocated. However, if the new hard drive is larger than the old hard drive, there will be unallocated space. In this case, you need to expand the volume to use all available space on the new hard drive.
Method 2. How to move Windows to another disk by cloning a hard disk.
The second way to copy a Windows drive to another is to clone the original drive to a new one using a third-party Disk Clone Software/Utility. You can use one of the following reliable and FREE disk cloning tools to perform this task: *
*Note: For the purposes of this guide, we will show you how to clone an HDD to another (HDD or SSD) using EaseUs ToDo BackUp.
- New disc/disc Smaller,* Equal, or Larger in size (in Gigabytes) to the current Drive.
*Note: If you want to use a smaller drive to migrate your current Windows drive, you need to make sure that the data (used space) on the current drive will fit on the new drive.
How to clone a hard drive with EaseUs ToDo BackUp:
1. Download EaseUs ToDo Backup Home. Click on ( Free trial button and Download.)
2. Once the download is complete, go ahead and install the app.
3. Turn off your computer.
4. Connect the new drive and unmount (delete) any other secondary drives (if any) to avoid errors. *
*Note: If you have a laptop, get a USB hard drive enclosure and insert the new drive and then connect it to your PC.
5. Turn on your computer and start Windows.
6. Launch EaseUs ToDo Backup Homeand select Later on On the license screen.
7. Dan Menu choose Cloning
2. check the Source disk (with the operating system) and click The next one.
3. Check now Target disk in this case a new hard drive. press The next one continue.
4a. Choose Keep going.
4b. You will now get a warning that all data on the target drive will be erased. press Keep going to start cloning the drive.
5. The cloning process will start and you will be able to see the process on the screen. (Be patient until the process completes).
6. Once the cloning process is complete, click on it Termination and close Easeus ToDo Backup.
7. to close computer.
8. Remove the current hard drive from the computer and replace it with the cloned drive.
9. Finally, turn on your computer and allow it to boot into Windows. If everything goes well, the computer will boot to the Windows desktop just like it was on the old disk. *
*Note: If your computer fails to boot Windows, go into the BIOS settings and change the boot priority to the new driver.
That’s it! Which method worked for you?
Let me know if this guide helped you by leaving a comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.