How to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to SSD

If your PC is having speed issues, acting sluggish and struggling to run multiple apps, a good way to boost speed is to move your Windows 10 operating system to an SSD.

This is not a quick task and shouldn't be performed without knowing exactly what to do.

Here, we run though how to move Windows 10 from your old hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD).


Before you attempt to move Windows to SSD you should backup the data on your machine. It's unlikely that you'll lose any information, however, just in case, a full backup is advised.

Next, you'll need to do is check size of the hard drive that you've currently got in your PC. The best way to do this is to check the amount of space currently being used, so you don't end up purchasing a USB that is much larger than you need.

Now you know how much space you'll need, you'll need to buy an external USB drive that is equal to or greater than the size you need.

Depending on how much space you need, you should be able to pick one up for between £50 and £250.

Step 1

To get things started you'll need to go to the recovery program inside Windows 10. From there you'll be able to see an option to 'create backup image' or 'create backup ISO'.

If you select create backup image, from there, you'll need to plug in the external USB hard drive and tell it to create a backup.

This usually takes 1-2 hours to copy over. Using a USB provides a good method of extracting your Windows OS because everything on there will be installed, including all apps and preferences.

So, when you install Windows onto SSD from your USB it will be like a carbon copy of your previous operating system.

Step 2

Once its finished you'll need to remove your old hard drive and plug the new SSD in.

Now, you'll have to make sure the USB hard drive with the copy of your Windows OS is plugged in to the back of the PC, if there is a port.

The front ports are also fine, although it is better to use a port on the rear of the machine as they connect directly to the motherboard, which means they are detectable at root. The front ports sometimes can't be detected until you load Windows which you don't have at this stage.

Step 3

Next, you'll need to boot up the PC. You'll probably see a slash screen and from there you can either go into BIOS - which is essentially the brain/core of the computer. For more modern computers it will ask for you to press delete in order to select a bootable drive.

It is always best to check your user guide to find which is the best way to boot from a USB drive for your machine.

If you selected to boot in BIOS, you will now need to go to 'bootable devices' and select USB to be the top device.

After that, you will save and reboot the PC. If you connected to bootable devices without going through BIOS you can select the USB device directly from that screen.

Step 4

What will happen next, is it will ask you where you would like to install Windows and you will select SSD. It will then install Windows as it would normally.

A guide to installation will pop up and it will be complete.

Method 2

As mentioned earlier, there are a couple of ways to go about moving Windows 10 to an SSD. Here's an alternative one.

If you have an external hard drive reader you could use a program that would directly clone the drive that you're running off onto said drive.

You would need another PC to do this because if you try to clone the drive you're currently using, it simply can't do it.

You can then do a direct carbon copy from one drive to another. The only problem is that it will have all the current drivers (programs that tell the PC how to handle a piece of hardware), which could mean it won't boot up properly.

Most large businesses will use the clone technique over the image creation as it is much quicker. But if you're only using it for a few PCs, then the image way is much safer and doesn't require the extra hardware.


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