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. 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 an HDD to an SSD is a simple and efficient process that can save you time and effort. In this guide, we'll show you how to clone a 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 HDD to SSD

  • 0:00 - Intro
  • 0:36 - Overview
  • 1:20 - Tutorial

🧩Extend Reading: How to Clone M.2 SSD with Only One Slot

What to Prepare for Cloning HDD to SSD on a Computer

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

🎰1. Select the fastest disk cloning software

With the Windows SSD cloning software - EaseUS Disk Copy, 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 do 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 a hard drive to SSD?

✅2. Back up existing files on the target disk

If files exist on your SSD, back it up (EaseUS Todo Backup can help) before the disk clone. Cloning an HDD to the SSD will erase all the data on the target device.

🏹3. 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 more significant than the used size, at least 152 GB. Here is a complete guide about how to check disk usage in Windows.

🧭4. Create the same partition style

Ensure the target disk's partition style is in accordance with the source disk. If not, you must 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 select "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

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

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

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Step 1. 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).

Step 2. Download a Disk Cloning Utility

EaseUS Disk Copy is the SSD cloning software that integrates multiple functions, including system clone, disk clone, and partition clone. 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.

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Step 3. Get Ready with the Clone Procedures

Step 1: In "Disk Mode", select the HDD that you want to clone.

select the hard drive that you want to clone

Step 2: Select the SSD as your destination.

select the SSD

Step 3: Edit the disk layout and then click "Proceed" to continue.

As the destination is an SSD, you are suggested to tick "Check the option if the target is SSD".

confirm the message

A warning message tells you that the data on the SSD will be erased. Click "OK" to continue if you do not have important data on the destination disk.

check the diak layout

Step 4: Wait for the process to complete.

click proceed to start the cloning process

Step 4. 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

boot from the cloned disk in bios settings

You may have noticed a system clone option in EaseUS Disk Copy when you connect a new blank disk to your computer, 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. If 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 Disk Copy to get things done.

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Why Choose SSD over HDD

ssd vs hdd

When upgrading your hard drive, you can either migrate the hard drive to a larger one or from an HDD to an SSD, depending on the hard drive used. 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 a system disk, learning 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, an SSD is flash storage with no moving parts, while an HDD is a magnetic storage with mechanical parts inside. That means SSDs are much smaller than HDDs 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 wise to clone your existing HDD to an SSD. Then comes the question of how to clone an HDD to an SSD. As far as I know, no built-in tool in Windows 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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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 if needed.

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 Disk Copy. However, by manual selection, you may choose the C drive only when you attempt to clone the Windows operating system from your HDD to the SSD. That will undoubtedly cause boot issues if the system partition and boot partition are different. (For your information, the boot partition is a primary partition with the boot loader used to boot the system. The system partition is a partition that contains the OS folder. Both are necessary for booting your computer.) You can contact our support team ([email protected]) for remote assistance if that's your case. They will help you create the system partition, solving 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 must edit BCD (Boot Configuration Data, which helps to make the Windows system partition bootable) on the cloned SSD. You can refer to the official document from Microsoft for a detailed guide on editing BCD.

Another culprit for disk boot issues after disk cloning is the lack of a necessary driver. Fortunately, you can add the driver to use DSIM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management), a Windows built-in command-line tool. 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 Disk Copy, 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 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 by 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 strictly following the guidelines to clone an HDD to an SSD. Contact our support team if you have encountered unexpected problems you cannot fix after using EaseUS Disk Copy.

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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 disk clone software, like EaseUS Disk Copy and EaseUS Todo Backup, to clone your hard drive to SSD.

2. Does cloning a drive make it bootable?

Whether EaseUS Disk Copy or EaseUS Todo Backup will clone the 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, 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 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 and is now a professional editor at EaseUS. She is good at writing articles about data recovery, disk cloning, disk partitioning, data backup, and other related knowledge. Her detailed and ultimate guides help users find effective solutions to their problems. She is fond of traveling, reading, and riding in her spare time.

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Written by Jean

Jean is recognized as one of the most professional writers in EaseUS. She has kept improving her writing skills over the past 10 years and helped millions of her readers solve their tech problems on PC, Mac, and iOS devices.

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