How to Copy Windows Installation Files to an SSD

If you’re looking to upgrade your computer to a solid-state drive but don’t want to commence everything back up from scratch, here’s how to transfer your data onto your incipient hard drive.

If you’re still utilizing a traditional, spinning hard disk on your PC, you’re missing out. Swapping it out for a solid-state drive (SSD) is one of the best upgrades you can make in terms of expediting your computer. It’ll boot more expeditious, programs will launch instantly, and games won’t take so long to load anymore.

You could reinstall Windows from scratch, if you wanted to, and commence incipient with a fresh, squeaky-clean system. While that might seem simpler, it’s authentically much more of a hassle. Replicating your drive will get you up and running much more expeditious, as long as you follow these injunctive authorizations.

Conspicuously, in order to upgrade to an SSD, you’ll require to, well, buy an SSD. We have some recommendations here, though if you’re on a pretty stringent budget, we have a separate list of frugal SSDs as well. Ascertain to buy the right form factor for your computer (some laptops will utilize 2.5-inch drives, while others might use M.2 or mSATA drives), and get one immensely colossal enough to fit all your data. If you have a 500GB hard drive now, you should probably spring for a similarly sized SSD (or more immensely colossal, to accommodate for future data).

The only exception is if you’re on a desktop computer and have room for multiple hard drives. In that case, you could store Windows and your programs on the SSD while putting your music, movies, and other media on a second, more immensely colossal hard disk.

During this process, you’ll require both your SSD and your old hard drive connected to your computer concurrently. If you’re utilizing a laptop with only one hard drive slot, that signifies you’ll require an external adapter, dock, or enclosure that can connect your bare SSD to your computer over USB.

There are many different drive-cloning implements on the market, but when cloning a hard drive to SSD, I recommend AOMEI Back upper, since it’s free, facile to utilize, and takes into account a few quirks that sometimes pop up during clones from hard drives to SSDs.

The free Standard version is fine; there’s no desideratum to upgrade to the paid version for what we’re doing today. You will require to enter your electronic mail and subscribe to the newsletter to get the download link, though. Thankfully, you can just unsubscribe later.

Once you’ve amassed up those essentialities, it’s time to get commenced.

Plug In and Initialize Your SSD

Plug your SSD into the SATA-to-USB adapter, then plug that into your computer. If it’s a pristinely incipient drive, you probably won’t optically discern the drive pop up in File Explorer, but don’t worry; it just needs to be initialized first. Open the Start menu and type “partitions” in the search box. Click the “Engender and format hard disk partitions” option, and Disk Management will open. It’ll prompt you to initialize the drive utilizing either the GPT or MBR partition table.

I’ll be utilizing GPT for my SSD, since I have a modern PC with a UEFI firmware. If you have an older PC with a traditional BIOS, you may need to utilize an MBR partition table. If you aren’t sure, look up your concrete model of PC or motherboard to optically discern which type of firmware it utilizes.

If you aren’t prompted to initialize the drive, and don’t optically discern it in Disk Management, double-check that it’s felicitously connected to your computer, and that the enclosure or dock is powered on (if compulsory).

Once the drive has been initialized, you should optically discern the drive emerge in the bottom pane of Disk Management as unallocated space. Right-click on it, cull Incipient Simple Volume, and click Next through the wizard to engender an incipient volume taking up the entire drive. It isn’t super consequential what this volume looks homogeneous to; we just need a volume on the disk for AOMEI to visually perceive it. Close Disk Management and perpetuate to the next step.

For Bigger Drives: Extent Your Partition

If your SSD is identically tantamount size or more minute than your old hard drive, you should be all done with the cloning process, and you can skip to the next step.

If, however, you upgraded to an SSD with more space than your old drive, you’ll require to do one more thing. The Windows volume you facsimiled to your SSD will be identically tantamount size as it was on the pristine hard drive, and you’ll require to expand it so it takes up the rest of the disk. The Pro version of Back upper sanctions you to do this during the clone process, but there’s no desideratum to pay—another AOMEI implement called Partition Assistant can do it for free.

Install the free, Standard edition of Partition Assistant and optically canvass the disks along the bottom of the window. You should optically discern that one of your drives—in my case, Disk 2 holding the D: drive—has a bunch of unallocated space at the terminus. That’s our incipient SSD, and the D: drive (or whatever letter its assigned on your system) is the volume we want to expand. You may optically discern other volumes on the disk—these are boot and instauration partitions, and it’s best to leave them intact for now.

Click that volume and cull the Merge Partitions button in the sidebar. Check the Unallocated box alongside that D: drive and click OK. You should visually perceive the incipient layout in the AOMEI Partition Assistant window, and you can click the Apply button in the upper-left corner to make the vicissitudes.

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