How To Transfer Windows to Another Drive?

A close friend of mine recently posed this question to me when he expressed interest in switching the storage medium of his Windows computer from hard disc drive to solid-state drive. Many other computer users, like him, have run across this problem and wished they could relocate Windows to a different hard drive.

Windows’ built-in and third-party tools make it possible for literally anyone to move the operating system to a new disc. My instruction on how to copy Windows to a different hard drive is intended to make your life simpler.

How To Transfer Windows to Another Drive

Understanding the Importance of Transferring Windows

Windows is the operating system that powers your computer, facilitating its functionality and providing a user-friendly interface for interaction. Over time, as you install programs, save files, and perform system updates, your Windows installation accumulates data and configurations on the drive where it’s installed. Transferring Windows to another drive becomes necessary for several reasons:

  1. Upgrade to Faster Storage: Moving Windows to a solid-state drive (SSD) can significantly improve system performance, reducing boot times and speeding up application launches.
  2. Replace Failing Drive: If your current drive is showing signs of failure or nearing the end of its lifespan, transferring Windows to a new drive ensures continuity of operation and prevents data loss.
  3. Optimize Storage Configuration: Reorganizing your storage setup by transferring Windows to a different drive can help achieve a more efficient and organized system configuration.

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How to Transfer Windows to a New Hard Drive Using the Inbuilt Features?

If you also want to learn how to move Windows to another drive, then you first need to create a system image. Later, you can use a Windows installation media so that you can install the same copy of Windows to your PC in the following way:

1. Prepare a Windows System Image

To prepare the image of your system, you can just go to its Settings > Update & Security > Backup and visit the old Backup and Restore option. As a dedicated window for Backup and Restore would be opened, you can go to the sidebar and click on the “Create a System Image” button.

This will launch a dedicated wizard where you can first select the connected drive where you want to save the system image. Lastly, you can select the Windows drive so that you can easily maintain the system image of your PC on the connected SSD/HDD.

2. Create a Windows Installation Media

If you already have Windows installation media ready, then you can skip this step. Otherwise, you can just connect any another source and launch the Windows installer media to commence its setup.

All you need to do is follow a basic click-through wizard, letting you create a Windows installer media and select if you wish to keep your existing files or not.

3. Change the BIOS Settings on your system

Great! Now when you have all the resources, you can just restart your computer and enter its BIOS settings by pressing the relevant key (F2, F10, ESC, DEL, or any other key). As the BIOS Settings would be launched, you can go to the Boot tab and change the booting sequence accordingly.

4. Reinstall Windows and Restore the System Image

In case there is an issue with the Windows system, then you can first run the installer from the connected source. This will open a dedicated Windows setup wizard that you can go through to install a fresh copy of the OS on the computer.

Once Windows is up and running on the system, you can restore the data from the system image. To do that, you can just go to its Settings > Recovery and perform an Advanced Startup. When your computer would restart via the Advanced Startup, go to its Settings > Troubleshoot > System Image Recovery.

This will open a dedicated wizard that you can follow to restore the system image to your computer.

You Can Try 2 Easy And Short Methods to Transfer Windows to Another Drive:

Method 1: Using Disk Cloning Software

Disk cloning software allows you to create an exact copy of your existing Windows installation, including the operating system, applications, and data, and transfer it to a new drive. Popular disk cloning tools include EaseUS Todo Backup, Acronis True Image, and Macrium Reflect. Here’s how to transfer Windows using disk cloning software:

  1. Install and Launch Disk Cloning Software: Download and install your preferred disk cloning software on your computer.
  2. Connect New Drive: Connect the new drive to your computer using a SATA-to-USB adapter or an external drive enclosure.
  3. Select Source and Destination Drives: In the disk cloning software, select your current drive (the source) and the new drive (the destination).
  4. Start Cloning Process: Follow the software’s prompts to begin the cloning process. Depending on the size of your drive and the speed of your system, this process may take some time.
  5. Boot from New Drive: Once the cloning process is complete, shut down your computer, disconnect the old drive, and boot from the new drive to verify that Windows has been successfully transferred.

Method 2: Using Built-in Windows Tools

Windows includes built-in tools that allow you to create a system image and restore it to a different drive. Here’s how to transfer Windows using built-in Windows tools:

  1. Create System Image: Open Control Panel, navigate to “System and Security” > “Backup and Restore (Windows 7),” and select “Create a system image” from the left pane. Follow the on-screen instructions to create a system image of your current drive and save it to an external drive.
  2. Prepare New Drive: Connect the new drive to your computer and ensure that it has sufficient space to accommodate the system image.
  3. Restore System Image: Boot your computer from a Windows installation media (USB or DVD), select “Repair your computer,” and choose “System Image Recovery.” Follow the prompts to restore the system image to the new drive.
  4. Boot from New Drive: Once the restoration process is complete, shut down your computer, disconnect the old drive, and boot from the new drive to verify that Windows has been successfully transferred.

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There you go! By now, you can easily learn how to transfer Windows 10 to a new hard drive via two different methods. To make things simpler, I have even discussed other things like can you move Windows to another drive or the vital points to consider in advance.

Since the inbuilt OS migration option in Windows can be extremely complicated, you can consider a dedicated tool like AOMEI Backupper that would let you clone and backup/restore the entire disk seamlessly.