Are you tired of slow boot times and sluggish performance on your PC? Upgrading your hard drive from an HDD to an SSD could be the solution you need to improve your computer's speed and overall performance dramatically. But if you have a lot of important data on your old hard drive, and don't want to go through the hassle of reinstalling the operating system, disk cloning software can save you time and effort.

Cloning HDD to an SSD is a simple and efficient process that can save you time and effort. In this guide, we'll show you step-by-step how to clone hard drive to SSD without any headaches. We'll also explain the benefits of using an SSD over an HDD and how it can improve your PC's performance.

Video Guide: How to Clone Hard Drive to SSD

0:19 Preparations: New SSD, SATA Cable, Screwdriver, EaseUS Todo Backup
0:26 Step 1. Connect SSD to Your PC
1:17 Step 2. Initialize the SSD
1:45 Step 3. Clone the new SSD
2:53 Step 4. Boot PC from Cloned SSD

What to Prepare for Cloning HDD to SSD on a Computer

Before you start, there are some preparations you need to make in order to have a smooth cloning process:

🚀1. Select the fastest disk cloning software

With the Windows backup software - EaseUS Todo Backup, you can effortlessly clone your hard disk, be it the system disk or data disk, to an SSD at an incredibly fast speed. Here's a tested time that was spent on SSDs of different sizes.

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What we tested Results
What devices we use 1 Lenovo laptop and 1 Dell Desktop computer
Hard drive types and numbers we tested 1SATA SSD, 2 NVMe SSDs, 5 M.2 SSDs, 2 SATA HDDs
How long does it take to clone a 1TB drive to SSD ≈17min

If you have any questions about the cloning time on different sizes of hard drives, check this post for answers: How long does it take to clone hard drive to SSD?

✅2. Back up existing files on the target disk

If there are files existing on your SSD, make sure you back it up (EaseUS Todo Backup can help) in advance before the disk clone. Cloning an HDD to the SSD will erase all the data on the target device.

🆗2. Check the SSD capacity

Make sure the capacity of the SSD exceeds the used space on your HDD, or there will be boot issues or data loss after cloning the HDD to your SSD.

E.g The used disk space on HDD is 151.79 GB, so your SSD capacity should be bigger than the used size, at least 152 GB. Here is a full guide about how to check disk usage in Windows.

⭕3. Create the same partition style

Make sure the partition style of the target disk is in accordance with the source disk. If not, you will need to convert from MBR to GPT or vice versa.

To check the partition style of the HDD and SSD:

Step 1. Connect the HDD/SSD to a computer.

Step 2. Right-click "This PC" and choose "Manage" > "Disk Management".

Step 3. Right-click on your disk and choose "Properties".

Step 4. Switch to the "Volumes" tab. Under Disk Information, you can see the partition style of your disk.

Check partition style of hard disk

Step-by-step Guide: How to Clone a Hard Drive with HDD to SSD Cloning Software

Meet all the requirements above? Now you can clone your HDD to an SSD following the guide below.

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01. Connect A Second Hard Drive

Tools you need: a screwdriver, a Power Splitter Adapter cable, a SATA cable or an USB to SATA adapter. Make sure the target HDD/SSD is larger than the used space of the current drive. For M.2 SSD, you need to idenfity if there is a PCIe slot for connection.

  • Connect the target disk to your computer.
  • For desktop, open the mainframe with screwdriver and connect the disk to the mainboard with a SATA cable, then connect the disk's Power Splitter Adapter Cable into the power supply box.
  • For laptop, you can use an USB to SATA adapter to connect the disk.
  • Initialize a new HDD/SSD to MBR or GPT before you can use it (To keep the target new disk the same style as that of the current disk).
02. Download a Disk Cloning Utility

EaseUS Todo Backup is the cloning software that integrates multiple functions, including system/disk clone, backup, restoring , and system transfer, etc. In the disk clone field, this tool stands out due to the following aspects:

  • Covers as many as disk cloning demands, such as update hard drive to a larger one, clone OS, etc.
  • Disk cloning has the highest success rate among all similar products on the market.
  • Supports all kinds of disk types, including IDE, EIDE, SATA, ESATA, ATA, SCSI, iSCSI, USB 1.0/2.0/3.0.
  • Supports cloning of basic/dynamic disks and MBR/GPT disks.
03. Get Ready with the Clone Procedures

System Clone: Choose System Clone > choose the destination disk > click Next to start. In Advanced options, you can choose the option of Create a portable Windows USB drive to clone the system to a USB drive.

Disk/Partition Clone: Choose Clone > Select the resource disk or partition > Select the target disk > Click Next to start.

04. Boot from the Clone Hard Drive

Option 1. If you want to keep both the old disk and the new disk

  • Restart PC and press F2 (F8,F10, DEL...) to enter BIOS settings.
  • In the Boot option, select new HDD/SSD as the new boot drive.
  • Exit BIOS and restart the computer.

Option 2. If you want to only keep the new disk

  • Unplug the old disk and make sure the new disk is well connected.
  • Restart your computer.
  • Option 2 is a better hard drive retention plan for laptops

You may have noticed that there is a system clone option in EaseUS Todo Backup, which enables you to clone your Windows from one disk to another. If the used space on your HDD is larger than the total size of your SSD, which is quite common, you can consider migrating OS to your SSD only. As long as your SSD is larger than the used space on your system and boot drive, you can clone the OS from your HDD to the SSD without any boot issues. As for the other partitions on the HDD, you can either manually copy the files to another hard disk or use the partition clone feature in EaseUS Todo Backup to get things done.

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Why Choose SSD over HDD

ssd vs hdd

When you consider upgrading your hard drive, you can either migrate the hard drive to a larger one or migrate from an HDD to SSD, depending on what the hard drive is used for. If your hard drive is for data storage, switching to a bigger HDD could be quite helpful to store much more content. However, if your hard drive is the system disk, learn how to install an SSD without reinstalling Windows is a more advisable choice for you can boost your computer performance to a great extent. 

Advantages of SSD over HDD

Structurally speaking, an SSD is flash storage with no moving parts, while an HDD is a magnetic storage with mechanical parts inside. That decides SSDs are much smaller than HDDs, both in size and capacity. Although SSDs have less capacity, there are multiple advantages of SSDs that will make you think the defect of size is negligible based on the technology they use:

  • Faster reading and writing speed
  • Better performance and reliability
  • Stronger durability
  • More energy-saving and less noise-making
Given its pros and cons (like a smaller size, higher price, and easier to wear out), the optimal use of an SSD is to apply it as the system disk on your computer.

What Can You Benefit After Switching to SSD

More directly, with an SSD installed on your computer as the system disk:

  • You can boot your computer, open applications, and access files much faster
  • Your data stored on SSD are much safer
  • You will spend less money on electricity bills and enjoy a quiet working environment

Based on the information above, it's really a wise choice to clone your existing HDD to an SSD. Then here comes the question, how to clone an HDD to an SSD. As far as I know, there is no built-in tool in Windows that allows you to clone a hard drive to an SSD. Luckily, there is third-party software for you to finish the task.

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Replace C Drive with SSD for Windows 11/10/8/7 [Without Data Loss]

A solid-state drive(SSD) will significantly improve your computer's startup time, shutdown time, and overall speed. This article will show you how to replace a C drive with an SSD on a Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7 computer.

replace c drive with ssd

Issues You May Encounter After Disk Cloning

Although many users can successfully clone an HDD to an SSD, there are always some expectations. Here we list some frequently asked questions and the corresponding solutions in case you need it.

Issue 1. Disk Boot Issues

The causes of disk boot issues are various. I'll show you three situations.

You can manually select the disk or partition to clone using the "Clone" feature in EaseUS Todo Backup. However, when you attempt to clone the Windows operating system from your HDD to the SSD by manual selection, you may select the C drive only. That will certainly cause boot issues if the system partition and boot partition are different partitions. (For your information, the boot partition is a primary partition that has the boot loader, which is used to boot the system. The system partition is a partition that contains the OS folder. Both are necessary for booting your computer.) If that's your case, you can contact our support team ([email protected]) for remote assistance. They will help you create the system partition, which will solve the boot issue.

When you try to clone an HDD to an SSD, you may connect the HDD to a computer and make the source disk a USB drive. In such a case, you will need to edit BCD (Boot Configuration Data, which helps to make the Windows system partition bootable) on the cloned SSD. For a detailed guide on how to edit BCD, you can refer to the official document from Microsoft.

Another culprit for disk boot issues after disk cloning is the lack of a necessary driver. Fortunately, you can use DSIM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management), a Windows built-in command-line tool, to add the driver. Also, you can refer to the official document from Microsoft for help.

If there is any situation you cannot handle after cloning your HDD to an SSD using EaseUS Todo Backup, feel free to contact our support team ([email protected]) for assistance.

Issue 2. Software Asks or Activation

The software installed on your system disk may ask for activation after you clone the HDD to SSD. Here you will need to contact the software producer. They will help you reactivate the software.

Issue 3. Get a Misaligned SSD After Cloning

It happens that your SSD is misaligned after the disk cloning. Misalignment will reduce the performance of your SSD. Thus, if you find your SSD is misaligned, you can use the 4K alignment feature in the free partition manager - EaseUS Partition Master to align sectors on your SSD. You can check the alignment of your SSD following the steps below:

Step 1. Press "Windows + R" and enter msinfor32.

Step 2. Go to "Components" > "Storage" > "Disks".

Step 3. Check the value of "Partition Starting Offset". If the value is not divisible by 4096, your SSD is misaligned.

The Bottom Line

To minimize the possible issues, I recommend you follow the guidelines strictly to clone an HDD to an SSD. If you do have encountered unexpected issues you cannot fix after using EaseUS Todo Backup, contact our support team is welcomed.

FAQ on Clone HDD to SSD

1. Is it OK to clone HDD to SSD?

SSD performs better than HDD in many aspects, so most people choose to replace HDD with an SSD. You can clone HDD to SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7 with the aid of disk clone software, like EaseUS Todo Backup, to clone your hard drive to SSD.

2. Does cloning a drive make it bootable?

EaseUS Todo Backup will clone OS and all the boot-related partitions or files to ensure it's bootable. So you can use it to clone a hard drive with confidence.

3. How to clone HDD to SSD without OS?

If you want to clone HDD to SSD without OS, you need to use a USB bootable disk cloning software, like EaseUS Disk Copy, to access the unbootable computer and clone the hard drive. Then follow the steps below:

  • Launch EaseUS Disk Copy to your computer, and connect a USB or external hard drive to the PC.
  • Click "Create bootable disk", select the USB as your device, then click "Create". 
  • Wait for the process to complete, and you will get a bootable disk.
  • Connect the bootable USB and a new SSD to the computer you want to clone the disk, and boot the computer from the bootable USB disk in BIOS.
  • Open EaseUS Disk Copy, select "Disk Mode", choose the source disk and target disk, and click OK.
  • Check the layout, and click Proceed to start the cloning process.

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Updated by Larissa

Larissa has rich experience in writing technical articles. After joining EaseUS, she frantically learned about data recovery, disk partitioning, data backup, and other related knowledge. Now she is able to master the relevant content proficiently and write effective step-by-step guides on computer issues.

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Written by Jean

Since graduating from university, Jean has been writing tech articles and has been a valuable member of the EaseUS team for over 5 years. Her areas of expertise include data recovery, disk partitioning, data backup, and multimedia world.

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