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How to Clone Windows 10 to an SSD

If your old PC is running slow, the easiest way to get it to run faster is to upgrade the hard disk to an SSD (Solid State Drive). While the upgrading and installation is easy, the only issue you may face is how you can get your Windows OS and data on the new SSD without reinstalling. Luckily, it is possible to clone Windows 10 from an HDD to an SSD.

Here’s a guide that shows you how to clone the entire Windows OS with all files and settings intact over to the SSD drive.

Preparing for the Cloning Process

Several preparations need to be done before cloning the HDD’s data onto the SSD. These include partitioning your SSD drive to add an extra volume where the data transfer can occur.

Also, try to keep all your data in one partition to reduce the chance of not completely cloning the drive. It is important to close all programs before commencing cloning.

It is advisable to also do a disk cleanup to get rid of unnecessary files from the HDD drive. This reduces the size of the data to be transferred. It also prevents you from copying unneeded files.

To do this, follow the below steps:

1. In the Windows search bar, type Disk Cleanup and click on its link.

clone-windows-10-ssd-disk-cleanup

2. A box with a list of file types will open. Check the files you want to get rid of or delete. Most of them will be checked already, as they’re the files you don’t need, like temp files and other data. Double-check to make sure you didn’t include files you actually want to keep.

clone-windows-10-ssd-disk-cleanup-files

3. Click “Clean up system files.”

clone-windows-10-ssd-disk-cleanup-files-clean-up-system-files

4. Click OK to begin the cleanup process.

Starting the Cloning

For those computers that only have one hard drive slot, using a hard drive enclosure lets you access the SSD drive via USB. It allows you to proceed with the cloning through the USB port. Laptops typically have 3.5-inch hard drives, so you would need a 3.5-mm USB enclosure to access the drive via USB.

Cloning Hdd To Ssd Hard Drive Usb Enclosure
Example of a hard drive enclosure with USB accessibility

Use CloneGO to Clone the Data

CloneGo is a cloning software available in free and commercial versions. The free version has limited functionality but is available to all and can perform OS and data cloning with ease. If you prefer to use Clonezilla, we have a tutorial for that too.

1. Download and install CloneGo in Windows 10 and then open the program.

2. Click on Copy, then select the source partition (your HDD drive) and a target partition (your SSD).

Cloning Hdd To Ssd Selecting Target And Source

3. Check “Set the target partition as the boot disk.” This will allow you to boot from the SSD drive once the cloning is complete.

4. After selecting the relevant options, click Start. Ensure that your target partition (the SSD) does not have any data you need since it will be formatted during the process.

Cloning Hdd To Ssd Formatting And Cloning

5. It will first format the SSD to the necessary format, then copy (clone) all the data from the HDD to the SSD.

6. After you successfully clone your data to the SSD, shut down your computer. If you are connecting the SSD via USB, you can open your computer, take out the existing HDD and put the SSD card in its place. Make sure the computer is off and unplugged.

Booting it up

With the SSD in place, you can power on and boot up your computer. On the BIOS screen, make sure the SSD is selected as the first boot option. If everything is fine, you should be able to boot up to Windows 10 and all your files and data intact. You will find it run significantly faster.

As you can see, it is easy to clone your Windows 10 to an SSD. You can make use of the same steps, too, to clone from SSD to SSD. The best thing is that your Windows will now be running fast again.