How to move Windows from HDD to SSD keeping all the data

The replacement of a hard disk by an SDD (solid state drives) offers great advantages in any computer equipment. Greater speed in data transfer, better operating system startup times, in accessing applications or in reboots from sleep or hibernation modes.

How to move Windows from HDD to SSD keeping all the data

How to move Windows from HDD to SSD keeping all the data

The absence of mobile parts of SSD allows them to improve the emitted noise, the heat emission and the consumption, while advanced formats such as M.2 with sizes similar to a memory card, allow to create increasingly thin and light equipment, an aspect essential in mobile computing.

Physically replacing a hard drive with an SSD is simple as we saw in this practical guide. From there we have to install the operating system. One of the methods is to replace the unit by booting from the SSD and perform a clean installation on it (previously saving the personal files on an external drive) or using recovery discs from the manufacturer.

But what happens if we want to keep the existing operating system, applications, settings and personal user data, moving an entire copy of all data from the hard drive to the SSD. Most manufacturers include cloning tools with the purchase of the SSD. The basic idea is to create an image of the hard drive operating system partition and move it to the SSD.

On a desktop PC, simply install the SSD next to the hard drive and clone is performed. If we have a laptop with a single bay the subject changes and we need conversion kits and / or wiring that passes the data from a USB to the interface of the SSD, usually SATA, before performing the replacement of the units.

If we do not have this type of adapters or cloning software, we can use another method that is used to move any Windows system installed on a hard drive and then copy it to a USB, keeping the partitions, system, applications and all data.

Delete unnecessary files

The advantage of hard disks over SSD is its lower price per GB and therefore hard disks usually have a higher capacity than SSD. The cloning is a 1: 1 copy so the capacity of the SSD must have a minimum size to the amount of data to be transferred. An example. If we have a partition with 300 Gbytes of data occupied on the hard disk and the SSD is 250 GB, we will have to reduce 50 GB in order to transfer the data.

In these cases or we acquire solid state units of higher capacity (more expensive) or we must previously eliminate unnecessary files, freeing space with the Windows disk cleaner or uninstalling some applications or games.

Download and install Macrium Reflect

The entire migration process can be done with the Macrium Reflect software, available in a free version and a trial for 30 days. Download and install the application on our computer.

Create the boot unit

The installer of Macrium will be responsible for downloading the necessary Windows PE files, to create the boot unit that we can record in a CD / DVD optical drive, in a USB pendrive or in an external storage unit that we will also use in the next step to create the backup image

Create the backup copy

From the same Macrium Reflect we can create the backup copy of our team. Activate the creation of a “backup-disk image”, mark all partitions and select the folder of the external drive where it will be created.

Replace the hard drive with the SSD

Once the boot disk is created and the backup is the time to replace the hard disk with the SSD. Since the vast majority of these SATA drives have a standard 2.5-inch format, we will need a 3.5-inch adapter to couple it to our PC tower. If it’s a laptop, it’s a matter of replacing one unit with another.

Restore the backup

Once the SSD is installed, restart the computer from the boot drive created on CD / DVD, pendrive or external USB disk. Select the created backup image.


Personally, in a replacement of the storage unit and after safeguarding personal files, I would recommend performing a clean installation from scratch using a boot disk or the manufacturer’s recovery discs, but if you need to clone the hard drive to move a complete installation of Windows and its data, this method using applications like Macrium Reflect works really well.

Most manufacturers include cloning tools with the purchase of an SSD. The basic idea is the same as we have done here: create an image of the operating system partition of the hard drive and transfer it to the SSD.

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