Can you install Windows 10 on a second hard drive? Installing Windows 10 on a second hard drive has many benefits, such as dual-booting the system and freeing up space on the first hard drive. EaseUS Software provides two effective ways to install Windows 10 on a second hard drive/SSD. Read on for detailed step-by-step instructions.
- The solutions in this guide are derived from the official method provided by Microsoft for installing Windows from a flash drive. In addition, we have provided a more detailed and comprehensive guide. You can fully rely on this tutorial.
This tutorial covers two solutions to install Windows on a second hard drive/SSD: a third-party OS migration tool - EaseUS Partition Master, and a Microsoft tool - Microsoft Media Creation Tool, to create a Windows 10 installation disk.
|🏅EaseUS Partition Master
|🥈Microsoft Media Creation Tool
|More than 10 minutes
|The target system and original system are the same
|installing a different system
Both methods can meet your needs, but Method 1 offers a simpler and faster solution using a professional system migration tool. Let's see how both methods work.
For other solutions to install Windows without product key, please check the following article:
You can install Windows 10 without product key by downloading the Windows 10 ISO from Microsoft. This page will offer a comprehensive solution on how to do it.
EaseUS Partition Master offers the feature of Migrate OS - this feature helps you to have a Windows 10 system on a second hard disk without reinstalling Windows OS and Apps. Whether an SSD or HDD, the tool simplifies and saves time when installing a Windows system.
Download EaseUS Partition Master and install Windows 10 on a second hard drive without USB:
Note: The operation of migrating OS to SSD or HDD will delete and remove existing partitions and data on your target disk when there is not enough unallocated space on the target disk. If you saved important data there, back up them to an external hard drive in advance.
Step 1. Select "Clone" from the left menu. Select the "Migrate OS" and click "Next" to continue..
Step 2. Select the target disk you want to clone. Click "Next".
Step 3. Click "Yes" after checking the warning message. The data and partitions on the target disk will be deleted. Make sure that you've backed up important data in advance. If not, do it now.
Step 4. Preview the layout of your target disk. You can also click the disk layout options to customize the layout of your target disk as you want. Then click "Start" to start migrating your OS to a new disk
Step 5. When you see a confirming message, asking "If you want to start up computer from the clone target disk", tick "Adjust the order to boot from the clone target disk" and click the respective button through your demands.
- Reboot Now: it means to reboot the PC and boot OS from the new disk immediately.
- Done: it means to make the changes later.
After cloning, EaseUS Partition Master will ask if you want to set up that drive as a boot disk. You can choose according to your needs.
If your target system is not the same as the one on your original computer, you can download the Windows ISO file and do a fresh installation. The process is more complicated. Please follow the below procedure to make a Windows installation disk:
Guide 1. Download the Windows 10 ISO file:
You can use Microsoft's website to download the ISO file you need: Windows 10 Download
- If you've downloaded EaseUS Partition Master, you can use this tool to burn ISO to USB.
Guide 2. Burn the Windows ISO file to USB
After downloading the ISO file, run the Microsoft Media Creation Tool to burn the Windows 10 ISO file to your hard disk. But make sure the hard disk is formatted as NTFS and has enough space. Then, follow the below steps to prepare Windows 10 installation media:
Step 1. After downloading the Windows Media Creation Tool, agree to the Microsoft license terms and create installation media for another computer.
Step 2. In turn, follow the prompts to select the language, Windows version, architecture, and media.
Step 3. Wait for the process to complete to finish creating the USB installation drive.
Guide 3. Set Up the Installation Process
After creating the Windows 10 installation disk, you can install Windows 10 on the second hard drive with USB. Please refer to the following steps:
Step 1. Insert the USB with a copy of Windows 10 into your computer in BIOS and set it as the first boot item.
Step 2. Boot from the installation USB. Then, set the language, time, etc., and click "Next."
Step 3. Click "Install Now" to start the installation process.
Step 4. Enter the product key or select "I don't have a product key" if you don't have one.
Step 5. Select the installation type: Since we are installing Windows on the second hard disk, select "Install Windows only."
Step 6. Wait for the Windows installation process to complete.
The process takes longer and has more steps. Using two hard disks for the same system, you can directly select EaseUS Partition Master for system migration.
There are many reasons to install Windows 10 operating system on a second hard drive. Some users have shared their needs in the Microsoft community, and the following is a typical case:
We have summarized some possible reasons for installing Windows 10 on a second hard drive:
- Dual boot setup: installing the Windows 10 operating system on a second hard disk allows users to select different operating systems at startup, such as Windows 11 and 10.
- Change boot drive: The computer will automatically use the internal hard disk as the boot drive. If users want to boot the PC from an external hard drive/SSD, they need to install the system on a second hard disk.
- Solve space shortage problem: When the C drive is full, or the hard disk space is low, installing Windows on the second hard disk can free up space on the first hard disk.
- Improve performance: Separating Windows 10 operating system files from other data can better protect data and improve computer performance.
- Backup data: Installing Windows 10 OS on a separate hard disk makes it easy to restore the system in case of a system crash or malware attack.
In short, installing Windows on a second hard disk can better protect data and improve computer performance. This article provides a detailed guide. If you find it helpful, you can also click the button to share it with more needy people.
Do you know how to install Windows 10 on second hard drive? If the system you want to install is the same as the first hard disk, you can use EaseUS Partition Master to have Windows 10 OS without reinstalling it. The program is simple and effective for all stages of users. And it offers other more advanced features.
If the target system differs from the original one, you can burn a Windows ISO file using installation media. However, the process is a bit complicated, so please read the instructions in this article in detail.
FAQs About How to Install Windows 10 on Second Hard Drive
Do you have any questions about installing Windows 10 on a second hard drive/SSD? Here we answer all of them for you.
1. Can you install Windows on a second hard drive without USB?
Of course. By migrating/burning the OS, you can install Windows on a second hard drive without USB. You can also move all Windows system files, settings, and personal data to the second hard drive.
2. How do I boot Windows from a second SSD?
If you want to boot Windows from a second SSD, please make sure there is an OS on the second SSD. Then, set it as a boot drive in BIOS:
Step 1. Reboot your computer and click F2/F12/Del to enter BIOS.
Step 2. Under Boot Options, change the boot order.
Step 3. Save the settings and exit.
3. What happens if I install Windows on two drives?
If you install Windows on both drives, this will not affect any data. You can make a dual boot selection if it is two different systems. But if they are the same system, this may waste some space. You can separate the system and data.
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About the Author
Cici is the junior editor of the writing team of EaseUS. She accepted the systematic training on computers at EaseUS for over one year. Now, she wrote a lot of professional articles to help people resolve the issues of hard drive corruption, computer boot errors, and disk partition problems.
I love that the changes you make with EaseUS Partition Master Free aren't immediately applied to the disks. It makes it way easier to play out what will happen after you've made all the changes. I also think the overall look and feel of EaseUS Partition Master Free makes whatever you're doing with your computer's partitions easy. Read More
Partition Master Free can Resize, Move, Merge, Migrate, and Copy disks or partitions; convert to local, change label, defragment, check and explore partition; and much more. A premium upgrade adds free tech support and the ability to resize dynamic volumes. Read More
It won't hot image your drives or align them, but since it's coupled with a partition manager, it allows you do perform many tasks at once, instead of just cloning drives. You can move partitions around, resize them, defragment, and more, along with the other tools you'd expect from a cloning tool. Read More