How to Install an SSD without Reinstalling Windows

Brithny updated on Sep 07, 2020 to Backup Utility | How-to Articles

Are you ready to make a big swap from a mechanical hard drive to a prevailing SSD? In that case, you must be interested in how to install an SSD without reinstalling Windows due to the fact that a fresh/clean install relies on a Windows installation disc and a repeated job of reconstructing computer data as well. There is a no-brainer way for you to move Windows installation to the SSD - it is called 'system clone'. By employing the HDD to SSD system clone method, you can set it to run overnight without taking time to watch closely how it plays from the start to the end.

How to Install an SSD in Laptop and Desktop Without Reinstalling Windows

While preparing a new SSD for a desktop computer or a laptop, you must purchase a matched one. Desktops come with a capacious computer case to fit pretty much all the SSD sizes, but laptop owners should take an additional step to check what SSD specification they should follow. The laptop manual should have the information you want to know, or just Google it with the accurate laptop model.

For your reference, these are the widely seen SSD specifications for laptops.

  • SIZE: 2.5-inch; 1.8-inch for ultraportable notebooks.
  • THICKNESS: 7mm ~ 9.5mm
  • INTERFACE: SATA or IDE; SATA drives are most widely used in nowadays laptops.

Besides to get a new SSD with the right form factor and interface, you'll make sure its capacity is at least enough to hold the whole operating system drive, generally C drive.

Part 1. How to Connect SSD to Your Windows Computer

Tools you need:

  • A screwdriver (optional)
  • A SATA-to-USB cable/SSD enclosure

For both desktop and laptop, you'll need to use the compatible connection method to properly connect the new SSD to your computer. It's adequate enough to connect the SSD as an external hard drive without making efforts to uncase your desktop computer for install. Regarding you prepare a brand new SSD, Windows may ask you to initialize SSD to GPT or MBR for use. Don't skip this procedure.

To initialize a new SSD in Windows:

  • Go to My Computer/This PC > Storage > Disk Management
  • The SSD should display as "Not initialized". Right-click on it and choose "Initialize Disk".
  • Continue with the wizard to choose the MBR or GPT style until the end.

initialize ssd before system clone

Make sure that your new SSD partition style is aligned with the old HDD's. Otherwise, the cloned SSD is likely to suffer from boot issues.

Part 2. How to Clone Windows 10/8/7 from HDD to SSD

We'll demonstrate the system migration process by using EaseUS Todo Backup. The top-notch Windows backup software lets you readily install an SSD in laptop and desktop without reinstalling Windows 10/8/7. By learning how to install an SSD without reinstalling Windows will help you clone OS from HDD to SSD, move Windows to SSD, and upgrade HDD to SSD with minimal efforts.

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup and choose "Clone".​

choose clone to clone hdd to ssd

Step 2. Choose the source disk you're going to clone. Here, choose the HDD. Click "Next".​

choose the hdd as the source disk

Step 3. Choose the destination disk. Here, choose the SSD. To largely improve the SSD performance after cloning, please do one more selection.

In "Advanced options", tick the option for "Optimize for SSD". Click "OK". Then click "Next".

choose ssd as destination disk

Step 4. Preview a disk layout and click "Proceed". It usually takes a while for the software to clone an HDD to an SSD depending on the size of the source disk. 

preview disk layout and click proceed

Part 3. How to Install SSD After Clone

The laptop only permits one hard drive installing on it, so you have to remove the old HDD and replace it with the cloned SSD.

For laptops:

  • Shut down the laptop completely
  • Disconnect all the external connections including the SSD
  • Use the screwdriver to open the back cover of the laptop and take out the battery
  • Carefully take out the HDD with the help of your gentle fingers, and then fit the new SSD in the place
  • Close the back cover and reboot your laptop

For desktops:

It depends on how you're going to deal with the old HDD. You can either keep it untouched, or format it as a storage drive, or remove it from your computer case. It's all up to you.

Case 1. Keep both HDD and SSD

To let Windows choose the SSD to boot from, you need to change the boot order in BIOS. Place the SSD on top of any other connected drives so that the computer will boot up from the SSD in the future.

If you prefer deleting Windows from the hard drive and turning it a pure data storage drive, the linked page has a detailed instruction.

Case 2. Remove the HDD and install SSD on it

  • Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet
  • Unscrew and remove the sides of your computer's case
  • Place the SSD into its mounting bracket or a removable bay, line it up with the holes underneath and then screw it in
  • Connect a SATA power cable to the SSD
  • Restore all the parts to the initial state and reboot your computer

Move Windows to SSD FAQs

1. What else will be transferred by using the System Clone feature?

When you use the "System Clone" to migrate Windows OS from HDD to SSD to escape from reinstalling, you move all the OS installation files as well as resided programs, downloads, user profile, system configurations, and personal data.

2. Can any laptop be upgraded to SSD?

You need to check the upgradability at first. You can consult your laptop manual for instructions on getting to that drive and finding the right replacement drive.

3. Why Cloned SSD won't boot?

  • The cloned drive did not set to be the boot drive
  • The boot mode is wrong. You need to convert MBR to GPT if the motherboard is UEFI.
  • The source disk had bad sectors or other corruption issues and they are all brought to the new SSD.
  • Many more concerned reasons can be found in cloned SSD won't boot.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose EaseUS Todo Backup?

"The easiest way to protect your data and system files."techradar

"EaseUS Todo Backup Free is one of the most popular free data backup applications available. This software offers a myriad of features and is extremely user-friendly. It provides a full system backup, meaning you can back up your entire operating system."TopTenReviews

"EaseUS ToDo Backup Home is a great backup program, well suited to the home and SMB space."PCWorld

What is the difference between Clone and Backup? In what cases should I use Clone?

Clone will copy one disk to another or one partition to another (unallocated space is also supported). Usually, this option is used to upgrade the current disk by creating an identical copy. Backup will generate a .PBD image file containing the selected files or system that can be restored from the .PBD image if needed.

What is the difference between System Backup and Disk Backup?

System Backup will auto-select the system boot related partition(s) as the backup source to make sure the system image can be restored properly. Disk/Partition Backup will allow you to manually select a whole disk or speficy a certain partition as the backup source. You will get the same backup result as System Backup if you manually select the system and boot partitions with the Disk/Partition Backup option.

As a computer newbie, what features should I use to protect my computer?

You can use System Backup to back up the system and boot partitions, use Disk/Partition backup to back up the data partition and add plans to run an automatic backup. If you use the computer frequently or have software that may cause boot failure of the computer, we would suggest you back up the computer every 1 to 2 days. For other situations, you can backup the computer once a week. In addition, you can schedule File Backup to back up the files which are changed frequently.

What kind of storage service should I use to save my backup images?

EaseUS Todo Backup can save backup images to internal disks, external disks, network drives, or free cloud(Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive) and CD/DVD. It is suggested to save the images to the internal/external/network drives to save time as those kinds of disks have a better read-write speed. It is suggested NOT to save the image on the source disk, because once the disk is damaged, all the files on the disk will become unavailable and you will be unable to restore the image.

As a company network administrator, what features should I use to protect our internal computers?

It is recommended that you use the SQL Backup feature to back up your company's SQL server and Exchange Backup feature to back up the Exchange server. In addition, you can execute System Backup to back up the system and boot partitions on every computer and set a plan to execute the backup once a day or twice a week to ensure that the computer can be restored timely when it has boot issues. File Backup feature can be used to back up important user data. If there are a large quantity of computers, you can purchase EaseUS Backup Center to manage the backups on the client computers centrally.

About EaseUS Todo Backup

Be it a file, system, partition, or disk, EaseUS Todo Backup will help you back up or clone the item and provide you with multiple backup plans.