How to Change Primary Hard Drive on Windows 10 | Latest Update

This article will tell how to change primary hard drive Windows 10. In this post, you will learn how to change the default hard drive via EaseUS Disk Copy.

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Updated on Mar 07, 2024

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If your Windows 10 is installed on a smaller hard drive, you will find that your computer will be slower and slower after a long use because there is a lot of data stored on it. At this time, replacing your primary/default hard drive with a larger one will be a good idea.

However, you may lose your system files, programs, and other personal files when swapping a hard drive. Don't worry. This article from EaseUS will tell how to change primary hard drive Windows 10 without losing data or reinstalling Windows. Hurry up and learn!

Method Description Effectiveness Difficulty
1️⃣Clone Old Drive to New Drive Clone Windows to a new hard drive and make it bootable. 👍High. No OS or program installation.
2️⃣Clean Install Windows on Drive Create a bootable USB, boot the PC from USB, and install Windows on the new drive. Medium. Reinstall Windows and apps from scratch. ⭐⭐

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What to Do Before Changing Primary Hard Drive

When you decide to swap your primary hard drive, you must prepare before taking action. You should pay special attention to the following items.

  • Back up data on the old drive. You'd better create a data backup on the old drive to avoid data loss risks. To do this, you can use the Windows built-in backup tools or third-party backup tools, like EaseUS Todo Backup, but if you want to enjoy more practical and advanced functions, it is highly recommended to use EaseUS backup software.
  • Decide the hard drive type. HDD or SSD? If you pursue large capacity but low price, an HDD will be your priority, while an SSD should be your top choice if you prefer high performance. Moreover, when selecting a new drive, you should ensure the disk interface of the new drive is compatible with your PC. Last, you should consider the storage capacity of your new drive. Generally, 500G is enough for OS installation, data saving, and future updates.

Once you get the new hard drive, you can change your primary hard disk on Windows 10.

How to Change Default Hard Drive on Windows 10

To set a primary hard drive in Windows 10 or make a hard drive as the primary drive, you can fresh/clean install Windows on the new SSD/HDD. Alternatively, you can swap the primary hard drive by migrating the OS to another disk. They are the most frequently used and practical ways to install Windows on a new hard drive. Follow the tutorial below to get the complete information.

Method 1. Clone Old Drive to New Drive Without Reinstalling

Cloning is much easier and quicker to install Windows because cloning a hard drive can help you transfer data from one hard drive to another without reinstalling OS or losing data and make the target drive bootable. However, if you prefer the clone method, use third-party disk cloning software, like EaseUS Disk Copy, because Windows does not have built-in cloning settings.

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EaseUS Disk Copy is a dedicated cloning utility for Windows computers. It can help you clone your disks, systems, etc., and make a new SSD C drive. In addition, it enables you to upgrade to a larger hard drive and clone a hard drive with bad sectors thanks to its sector-by-sector cloning technology. The following are some highlights of this cloning tool.

EaseUS disk clone software can suit you well if you want to change your boot drive/primary drive. It can help transfer everything from one drive to another in just several simple clicks. Ensure you download it on your PC and use it today. Here is how to utilize it to clone your old drive to a new one.

1️⃣You must prepare a USB-to-SATA cable to connect the new drive to your PC when cloning.
2️⃣You don't need to initialize the new drive since EaseUS cloning software can recognize the disk even if it's not initialized.

Activate EaseUS Disk Copy for a smooth disk copying or cloning process.

1. Download, install and run EaseUS Disk Copy on your PC.
Click Disk Mode and select the source disk that you want to copy or clone. Click Next to continue.

Select sorce disk to clone

2. Select the destination disk where you want to clone/copy the old disk and click Next to continue.
Click OK to confirm if the program asks to erase data on the destination disk.

Finish copying or cloning disk to new disk.

3. Check and edit the disk layout as Autofit the disk, Copy as the source or Edit disk layout.
Autofit the disk is recommended.

  • Copy as the source option will copy/clone the same layout of partitions on your source disk to the destination disk.
  • Edit disk layout allows you to manually resize or move partition layout on the destination disk.
  • If your destination disk is an SSD drive, do remember to tick Check the option if the target is SSD.

Click Proceed to start the disk cloning or disk copying process now.

Select the destination disk to clone or copy disk

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Method 2. Clean Install Windows 10 on New Drive

To clean/fresh install Windows 10 on a new hard drive, you need to prepare a USB disk with a capacity of at least 8GB. Then, you need to create a Windows 10 bootable USB via the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool and find your Windows product key to activate Windows after installation.

Generally speaking, performing a clean installation of Windows 10 includes 3 parts:

  • Creating a Windows 10 bootable USB.
  • Booting your PC from the USB.
  • Installing Windows 10 on the new drive.

 If you want to get detailed information about this, you can turn to the following article for help.

install windows 10 on new hard drive from usb

How to Install Windows 10 on New Hard Drive from USB

This article will tell you how to install Windows 10 on a new hard drive from USB and offer a better way to help you. Read more >>

It is worth noting that whether you clone your Windows to a new hard drive or clean install Windows 10 on a new drive, you need to replace the old drive with the new drive and set the target disk as your first boot drive in the BIOS settings. After that, you can successfully boot from the new drive and change your primary/startup disk.

To Wrap Things Up

This article describes how to change primary hard drive Windows 10. You can pick the method above according to your needs. It is important to point out that cloning is a better way out than performing a clean installation. This is because cloning can help you migrate everything to a new disk without reinstalling OS or apps.

To clone a hard drive, you must utilize professional cloning software, such as EaseUS Disk Copy. Such a tool can let you clone a drive easily and quickly without trouble. It can also help you fix the cloned hard drive showing the wrong size error. Just download it and have a try! You will find how useful it is!

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FAQs about Changing Primary Hard Drive on Windows 10

1. How do you change the default hard drive in Windows 10?

To change the primary hard drive in Windows 10:

  • Go to the Control Panel and select System and Security.
  • You'll see the Advanced System Settings window. Click Advanced, then click Settings under Startup and Recovery.
  • In System Startup, click the Edit button. This will launch the Windows Boot Manager.
  • Select the hard drive you want to set as the primary drive, then click Set as Default.
  • Finally, click OK, and you have successfully changed your primary hard drive on Windows 10.

2. Should I make an HDD or an SSD my primary drive?

Generally, you'd better use SSD as your primary drive for installing Windows and programs. It will speed up your operating system significantly over using an HDD.

3. Can you run a PC with only an SSD?

The answer is yes. You can run your PC with only an SSD. SSD is pretty fast in terms of read and write speeds compared with HDD. So, many computer users would like a combination of SSD and HDD. SSD is for installing Windows, and HDD is for storing files. But it depends on whether you use an HDD or an SSD.

EaseUS Disk Copy

EaseUS Disk Copy is a well designed and very easy-to-use HDD/SSD cloning and migration tool, a tool which should be ideal for anyone wanting to quickly and easily migrate an existing system disk to a new disk (or newly installed SSD drive) with the minimal of configuration required.

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