Need to upgrade hard drive to a larger drive or an SSD in Windows 10? Read this article carefully to get the best free disk cloning software to help you.
at Lily / Last update July 15, 2021
How do I move Windows 10 to a new hard drive?
The hard drive on our American Legion Post computer is getting shaky and I’m wanting to get a new drive and install back into the same computer – same motherboard etc. The Windows 10 OS is the upgrade to an existing installation of Windows 7, so I do not have a disk. Is there a way to put this Windows 10 OS on a new drive or do I have to purchase Windows 10?
– Question from Microsoft.com
Just like this user, you may want to upgrade hard drive in Windows 10 because the current drive is failing. Upgrading hard drive is also needed in following situations:
в—€ The current drive has small capacity, so you want to upgrade to a larger hard drive to gain more storage space.
в—€ The computer is running slowly, and you want to replace hard drive with SSD to improve the working speed.
The most important part of hard drive replacement is OS transfer. Some users choose to reinstall Windows after replacing the old hard drive. However, the reinstallation process is really time-consuming and all your data and applications will be erased. You have to reinstall those applications and recover files after reinstalling Windows 10. How frustrating it is!
Is there an easier way of replacing hard drive in Windows 10? Disk clone is the answer.
Best free disk cloning software – AOMEI Backupper
AOMEI Backupper Standard, the best free disk cloning software for Windows, can help you with upgrading hard drive in Windows 10. It offers you the features of Disk Clone and Partition Clone, and you can use them to clone either the entire disk or a particular partition. All data in the source including the operating system, applications and user files will be transferred to the destination after cloning.
And if you are replacing hard drive with SSD in Windows 10, you can use the SSD Alignment option to optimize the SSD performance. All Windows PC operating systems like Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP are supported. JustВ download this freeware and learn how to upgrade the current hard drive to an SSD via AOMEI Backupper from the next part.
How to upgrade hard drive to SSD in Windows 10 step by step?
1. Connect the target SSD to your computer and make sure it is detected.
в–Є If there is an SSD drive bay inside your computer, you can install your SSD there.
в–Є If there is no SSD drive bay available, you can connect it externally through a SATA-to-USB adapter.
2.В Backup files on the destination SSD, because the drive will be overwritten during the cloning process.
в–¶В Detailed steps of upgrading hard drive to SSD with AOMEI Backupper:
Step 1.В Run AOMEI Backupper. Click вЂњCloneвЂќ on the left pane and select вЂњDisk CloneвЂќ.
вњђ Note: To clone OS only to the destination SSD, pleaseВ upgradeВ to AOMEI Backupper Professional and use theВ System CloneВ feature. The Pro edition also allows you to clone system disks between different partition styles (MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR).
Step 2.В Select the current hard drive as the source disk and click вЂњNextвЂќ.
Step 3.В Select the destination SSD you have connected to your PC and click вЂњNextвЂќ.
Step 4.В Tick вЂњSSD AlignmentвЂќ to improve the reading and writing speed of the target SSD. Confirm the operation and click вЂњStart CloneвЂќ.
>> Sector by sector clone: it will clone every sector on the source disk no matter it is used or not, thus costing more time. It requires the destination disk to be equal to or larger than the source disk.
1. Boot from the cloned SSD.
If you have installed the target SSD in the SSD drive bay, you can change boot order in BIOS to boot from it.
If you have connected the target SSD externally, you can now remove the old hard drive and put the new drive there. A mounting bracket may be needed to fit the size of the HDD drive bay.
If the source and destination disks are in different partition types (one MBR, one GPT), you should then change boot mode in BIOS to boot from the cloned drive.
2. If the cloned SSD works perfectly, you canВ wipe dataВ on the old hard drive to release storage space.
About Windows 10 license after upgrading hard drive
You may care about whether Windows 10 license can be transferred to the new hard drive. There are four different situations for your reference:
1. If you upgraded from a retail version of Windows 7, 8, or 8.1, you can transfer your license only once.
2. If you have a full retail copy of Windows 10, you can transfer as many times as you want.
3. If you upgraded from an OEM Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 license or used OEM Windows 10 license, then the license cannot be transferred.
4. If you upgraded using the Easy Upgrade to Windows 10 Pro Pack from Windows 10, you can transfer the license using Digital Licensing.
To sum up
ThatвЂ™s all about upgrading hard drive in Windows 10. AOMEI Backupper offers you the easiest way to upgrade hard drive to SSD. Apart from the clone feature, AOMEI Backupper is a professional backup and restore tool. You can use it to backup Windows 10 to NASВ and upgrade motherboard and CPU without reinstalling Windows. DonвЂ™t hesitate to give it a try!
What You Need to Clone Hard Drive to Larger Drive
Does your hard disk often run out of space which makes you unable to upgrade the software, applications, system or store more data? If you are suffering from such kind of things and decide to purchase a new hard disk, it’s definitely a huge project and time-consuming job to reinstall everything, especially the operating system and all the applications on the new hard disk. Fortunately, EaseUS Disk Copy can reduce your worry of reinstalling everything on your new hard drive.
Support Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP
Here are all the essential things you should prepare before taking actions to upgrade to a larger hard drive:
#1. A way to connect both hard drives to your computer
If you’re using a desktop computer, you can always try to install the second drive alongside your old hard drive to clone it. It’s impossible for laptops to install two hard drives together, so you should prepare something like a SATA-to-USB cable to connect the larger hard drive (HDD or SSD) to your laptop via USB. By the way, you can also install your new drive in an external hard drive enclosure to replace the USB cable.
#2. A copy of EaseUS Disk Copy – your best disk cloning choice
Customers treat EaseUS Disk Copy as the model of the disk cloning market. First of all, it provides users with the most efficient way to clone not only an entire hard drive but a single partition to the other. With the multiple built-in features, you can migrate OS in one click, upgrade hard disk, clone HDD to SSD, and even replace a failing hard drive without booting into Windows.
With the help of EaseUS clone, it’s all too easy to clone an old hard drive to a larger one.
Support Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP
Video Tutorial on Cloning Hard Drive to Larger HDD/SSD
For a direct guide, watch and follow this video, you’ll successfully clone your hard drive to a bigger HDD or SSD:
How to Clone Hard Drive to Larger Drive with EaseUS Disk Copy
EaseUS Disk Copy is very easy and quite safe to use. Any time when you need to upgrade hard drive from old to new, from small to large or from a mechanical HDD to stable SSD, feel free to apply EaseUS Disk Copy.
EaseUS Disk Copy
Upgrade your hard drive to a larger one now
Follow the steps to clone your hard drive to a larger one without reinstalling Windows and programs:
Step 1: Choose “Disk mode” and select the smaller hard drive as the source disk.
Step 2: Choose the bigger hard drive to save the data and then click “Next”.
Step 3: A warning message tells you that the data on the destination disk will be overwritten. Click вЂњOKвЂќ to continue if you do not have important data on the destination disk.
Step 4: Edit the disk layout and then click “Proceed” to continue.
- “Autofit the disk” resize the layout on destination disk according to the size of it to make the disk as the best status.
- “Copy as the source” doesnвЂ™t change anything on destination disk and the layout is same as source disk.
- “Edit disk layout” allows you to manually resize/move partition layout on this destination disk.
Step 5: Wait for the process to complete.
Clone Hard Drive FAQs
1. Can I clone a larger hard drive to smaller SSD?
Make sure that the used space on your hard drive is less than that of the total capacity of the SSD. Right-click on your hard drive in Windows Explorer, and choose Properties. There you will check how much space has been used. If the used space is within the SSD capacity, download EaseUS Disk Copy to clone the larger hard drive to smaller SSD.В
2. How do I install a larger hard drive?
After cloning a smaller HDD to a larger hard drive, you can now safely remove the old drive from your computer. Next, replace the old hard drive with the larger hard drive.
3. How to clone a laptop hard drive?
To clone a laptop hard drive to a new one, you need to use a SATA-to-USB cable or an external hard drive enclosure to connect the new drive to your laptop. Next, follow the above guide to use Disk Copy to clone a laptop hard drive.
By Tina | Follow | Last Updated December 11, 2020
How to upgrade hard drive to a larger one with ease? This article will show you how to clone hard drive to a larger drive by using the professional partition manager – MiniTool Partition Wizard.
Quick Navigation :
- How to Upgrade to Larger Hard Drive without Data Loss?
- Bottom Line
- Clone Hard Drive to Larger Drive FAQ
- User Comments
How to Upgrade to Larger Hard Drive without Data Loss?
As we all known, when a computer is used for a long time, a large number of data can be saved on the local disk, making it difficult for us to keep more files and the performance of computer will become less and less. In this case, you can choose to clean up disk space to allocate some free space or upgrade to larger hard drive.
Needless to say, the latter is a better choice. However, the progress of hard disk upgrading is difficult and much worse situation is to lead to data loss.
But don’t worry. In this post, we will show you how to upgrade your hard drive with an easy and safe way.
To replace a hard drive without reinstalling Windows 10, you can take advantage of a piece of professional partition manager. Thus, MiniTool ShadowMaker is strongly recommended.
MiniTool Partition Wizard is designed to optimize disk use. It comes with so many powerful features so that you can completely control your hard disk and partition, such as clone disk, extend partition, resize or move partition and so on.
Thus, in order to upgrade hard drive to a larger one, you can purchase MiniTool Partition Pro from the following button.
And in the following part, we will show you how to perform a hard disk upgrade without data loss.
Step-by-step Guide to Upgrade to Larger Hard Drive
Now, we will introduce the way of hard drive upgrade without data loss. Here we use the function of Copy Disk of MiniTool Partition Wizard for example. The operation methods are very easy even those inexperienced users can operate it well. And we also introduce the operation methods step by step.
Step 1: Preparing work
- Install MiniTool Partition Wizard on your computer.
- Launch it.
- Select the hard drive you want to upgrade and right-click it. And here, we choose the system disk.
- Choose Copy from the context menu to continue.
Step 2: Start to hard disk upgrade
- Choose a target disk and click Next to continue. Please backup all important data on the target disk in advance, because all data on the target disk will be deleted during the copy
- Choose a copy option and click Next.
- If you are an SSD or Advanced Format users, we recommend that the Align partitions to 1MB should be ticked, because it can improve the performance.
- Check Use GUID Partition Table for the target disk option will turn the target disk to GPT partition style. However, the free edition of MiniTool Partition Wizard won’t allow you to check this option. To clone MBR system disk to GPT disk, you need to purchase a license to continue.
- If you check Use GUID Partition Table for the target disk and the source disk is a system disk, please remember to change BIOS mode to UEFI for a successful
Step 3: Read note
If you want to boot computer from the target disk, you need to confirm the target disk as the default boot disk and click Finish.
Step 4: Confirm the changes
- You can preview the changes and click Apply to execute the changes.
- Then you are required to restart your computer to complete hard drive upgrade process.
When all steps are completed, you have successfully cloned hard drive to a larger one without losing data.
Besides the MiniTool Partition Wizard, MiniTool also provides another program for you to upgrade to larger hard drive. It is MiniTool ShadowMaker that can also help you to replace a hard drive without reinstalling Windows 10.
From the above information, we know that MiniTool Partition Wizard is very convenient to upgrade to larger hard drive and it is very easy to operate even to those inexperienced people. And the most appealing point is that this software can successfully upgrade hard drive without data loss. Thus you can download it for getting more extraordinary experience.
Now it’s your turn to have a try. If you have got a better trick, welcome to share it in the comment zone. For any questions related to MiniTool software, you can contact us via [email protected] .
Clone Hard Drive to Larger Drive FAQ
To upgrade hard drive, you can choose to clone the hard drive to a larger one since this way would not lead to data loss.
- Install MiniTool Partition Wizard and launch it.
- Then choose original hard drive as clone source and choose Copy from the context menu.
- Choose a target disk.
- Choose copy options and click Next.
- Read the note and click Finish.
- Click Apply to confirm the changes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tina is a technology enthusiast and joined MiniTool in 2018. As an editor of MiniTool, she is keeping on sharing computer tips and providing reliable solutions, especially specializing in Windows and files backup and restore. Besides, she is expanding her knowledge and skills in data recovery, disk space optimizations, etc.
On her spare time, Tina likes to watch movies, go shopping or chat with friends and enjoy her life.
Problems of upgrading Windows 7/10 system hard drive
Windows 7 system hard drive upgrade problem:
The lifetime of a hard disk is just a few years. To some extent, the hard disk will go on strike and fail to satisfy your requirement for speed and storage. After the new release of Windows Operating System – Windows 7, many people are so excited to replace their old operating system with Windows 7, having the really cool new features from desktop improvements to how you do things easier like networking, an organization of files and better performance.
However, after the excitation, there comes the disaster that your hard disk is so small and old that can hardly run well with Windows 7. At this moment, if you want to keep this new operating system on your PC, the best way is to upgrade your hard drive to a larger one. But many people are reluctant to do this. On the one hand is that they have to reinstall the operating system on the new disk again and also they would lose the personal settings and applications which they want to keep. On the other hand is that users have already stored a large number of data and files on the older disk. If they choose to upgrade to a larger hard drive, it means they have to transfer all data to the new one, which is considered to be time-consuming and unsafe for they may lose some important files or some applications that can’t be transferred to another place with a simple manual copy.
Windows 10 system hard drive upgrade needs:
Due to the increasing number of Windows 10 users, more and more users are feeling that their old computer or old hard drive cannot run fast with the new system. A perfect solution to this issue is to upgrade system hard drive to a bigger HDD or SSD.В
The best way to upgrade Windows 7/10 system hard drive
Given these troubles, many people wouldn’t upgrade their Windows 7/10 hard drive unless they have no choice. So is there any easy and safe way to solve this problem – upgrading to a larger disk without reinstalling Windows 7/10 system or losing any data?
Surfing on the Internet, you will find numerous ways to help you out. Of course, the common recommendation offered by most people is to choose professional hard drive clone software which can create an exact copy of one hard drive to another one, keeping all the partitions and data including the operating system intact as they were in the original (source) disk. Among the sea of software, which one is the best for your PC and the data?
How to upgrade Windows 7/10 system hard drive?
EaseUS Todo Backup is specialized for home and business users. It not only offers a professional and perfect way for backing up the system and important data but also prevails in cloning function. There are two modules of disk clone for your selection, namely, file by file clone and sector by sector clone.
Support Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP
File by file, as its name suggests, only copies the used space of your hard drive at a much faster speed and you can resize the partitions of the new hard disk according to your own need. One thing must be clear is that this module is only available when the file system is intact.
If something goes wrong with your file system, sector by sector clone is highly recommended. Though the cloning speed is a little bit slow, it is a very safe way to protect your data and successfully upgrade your Windows 7, Windows 10 system hard drive. By the way, if you want to transfer your system to a new hard disk with a different configuration, you can use Recover to dissimilar hardware.
With this Windows hard drive clone software, you won’t be annoyed by losing your data or reinstalling Windows 7/10 system on the new disk. Just a few clicks help you to upgrade the Windows system drive.
Video tutorial: upgrade Windows 7/10 system hard drive without reinstalling Windows
Step 1: Launch EaseUS Todo Backup and click “Clone”.
Step 2: Select the source disk which contains the operating system.
Step 3:В Choose the destination disk.
These advanced settings can help you clone a drive more stable and smoothly in some special case. However, without these advanced settings, EaseUS Todo backup can still give you an exact and intact clone.
Optimize for SSD – If the destination disk is an SSD, checking this option will ensure sector alignment in the process.
Sector by sector clone – A sector by sector clone ensures that the destination hard disk/partition is exactly the same as the source hard disk/partition. It will clone all the sectors if the option is checked, even if the sector is blank. As a result, the target will be equal in size to the disk being cloned after the process. This option is found in the same step where you choose the destination hard disk/partition both in the Disk clone and Partition clone wizard.
Create a Portable Windows USB drive – This option ensures that the cloned USB system disk is able to boot normally.
Step 4:В Preview and save the changes and the software will start to clone your system disk.
W e all know that the computer system runs on the operating system like Windows, Mac or any other like these and the fact here is that the operating system is installed on the storage of the computer that is the hard disk. Now you might be also familiar with the thing that the hard disk of the different computers comes with the variable amount of storage space available or usage. If you are the one who is feeling like your hardware of the computer is lacking up the space compared to your work requirements then most probably you would like to install the another hard disk with more storage space available. But doing so means that you are going to start from the beginning with your computer, and you would also need to install the new operating system and after that shift all your data. This could consume a lot’s of time. You don’t wish to go through these many steps? If yes, then there is the method with which you could upgrade to the larger hard drive without even need to re-install up the Windows. Go through this article as we have written about that amazing method.
How to Upgrade to a Larger Hard Drive Without Re-Installing Windows
The method is quite easy and simple, and you just need to follow some of the simple steps by step guide below to proceed.
Steps to Upgrade to a Larger Hard Drive Without Reinstalling Windows:
1. The very first thing that you would require is to connect both of the new as well as old hard drives to the same computer. This could be easy with the PC, but for the laptops, you could need to get some other modules for the purpose. SATA-to-USB cable would let you connect up your new hard drive to the computer that is running without the old HDD removed.
Upgrade Hard Disk Without Reinstalling Windows
2. For the process, you would also require to the backup software like EaseUS Todo Backup app. Using this, just backup all the data of your old HDD and somehow place it anywhere else. This should be considered as the must step because while doing the rest of the procedure there is the probability that you could lose all your data.
Upgrade Hard Disk Without Reinstalling Windows
3. At last, the thing that you would need is the Windows System Repair Disk. This won’t be either required in the procedure but in the case of any faults that might arise in your operating system of the computer then using this disk all that could be solved easily.
4. All you now have to do is to connect the both of the disks to your computer and then run the EaseUS Todo Backup app and from there choose the Clone option placed on the top right of the software screen. You would then be prompted to select the disk partition if there are any or either clone to the entire disk. Choose the similar options, set up your preferences and then go on by clicking the next button.
Upgrade Hard Disk Without Reinstalling Windows
5. When you have finished with all your satisfied settings for cloning, start the process by clicking on the Proceed button. Your new disk would be cloned with the same data as well as the same operating system, and after the completion of the process, you would be ready to plug in your new HDD and remove the old one. Just do that and boot up your computer, that’s it.
Upgrade Hard Disk Without Reinstalling Windows
These days personal computers are owned by mostly everyone. Both computers and smartphones have become an integral part of our lives today, as a lot of work depend on them to a great extent. When we use a computer for a long time, we tend to save loads of files on them which degrades the overall performance of the computer in the long run.
The hard disc tends to last for a few years only, after which they usually degrade to a great extent or gets damaged. It deteriorates in speed and storage even if it is in a working state. Rather than suffering from it, it is always better to upgrade to a larger hard drive. When we do that, it is essential to install fresh windows on the New Drive.
But doesn’t always work, as we can easily upgrade to the larger hard drive, without even losing any form of data. There is a working method, with the help of which you won’t be losing any data when you upgrade to a larger hard drive. Without reinstalling the windows you can do the upgrade. For that, firstly, you need to use, EaseUS Todo backup. This software is perfect for both business and home users, and it is a very easy method, with the help of which the important data can be backed up to the new hard drive, without much of a problem.
Step 1: Firstly, you will have to connect both the new and the old hard drives to the main computer. Although it can easily be done with PCs, it is slightly difficult with laptops, to get other modules. SATA to USB can help you to connect the laptop with the hard drive, with the help of the USB cable.
Step 2: When the hard disc is ready to be used after it is plugged in, you can move the data easily. Install EaseUS to do Backup software, and click on the option Clone.
Step 3: Here, you will have to choose the partitions or the portions which you wish to clone.
Step 4: Next Select the New hard disc or the target drive, where you want to put the clone files.
Step 5: To Make sure that the cloning process is completed, you will have to wait for a few minutes which can even be a few hours.
You can follow these steps to ensure that the upgrade is done to a larger hard drive, without even installing the windows again. You can easily upgrade without facing any kind of problem or even losing any of your data while transferring the files. This is one of the most popular software and a highly rated one which makes the transfer convenient and a lot less time-consuming. After following the steps, you will be able to use your computer just the same as before without any problems.
When you need to move C drive to larger disk, you can use the freeware: AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It is able to help you transfer operating system drive to a large hard disk and boot from it successfully without reinstalling everything.
By Emily / Last Updated June 28, 2021
В Hi, all. I got a new computer a few days ago. Its startup drive is a 250GB HDD and it has a 50GB system drive (C: drive). However, I have a 1TB SSD that i would reather use as my primary drive. So, i wonder if it is possible to move the current OS drive to my larger SSD (insteading of reinstalling the OS on the SSD) and use that as the startup drive. If possible, whatвЂ™s the best method of transferring the C drive to larger disk without reinstalling everything.
Why move C drive to larger disk?
The C drive is usually the partition where the operating system is installed. However, it is more likely to get full quickly because it many kinds of files are writting into this partition continuously, such as Windows updates, Windows services (Paging file, Hibernation, Backup and Recycle Bin) or other Windows files (temporary, cache, logs).
When C drive is gettting full, Windows operating system will pop out a warning message on bottom right and ask you to turn on storage sense, and your system will run much slower, stuck and reboot unexpectedly or even crash.В Therefore, more users want to move C drive to another larger hard disk to solve this issue as soon as possible.
Freeware to transfer C drive to a larger hard disk
To move C drive to a larger hard disk, the best way is to use a professional OS migration tool, which can help get around the hassle of reinstalling Windows operating system and other personal programs installed on the C drive. Then you can try the free partition manager: AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.
This freeware comes with the вЂњMigrate OS to SSD WizardвЂќ, which can migrate OS partition, and other OS related partitions to another hard disk (SSD/HDD) and boot from the destination disk without boot problems. However, there is one thing you have to bear in mind: the free edition only supports moving OS drive between MBR disk and MBR disk. If you are planning to moving C drive to a GPT larger disk, or from GPT to MBR disk, please upgrade to Professional edition.
Easy steps to move C drive to a larger HDD or SSD
Now, you can free download the OS migration software and follow the steps to transfer Windows 10, 8, 7 drive to a larger hard disk.
вњ”Please make sure there is enough unallocated space on the destination larger hard disk. If there is not, you can back up important data and delete or shrink another partitionВ to get more unallocated space.
вњ”Connect the larger disk to your computer and make sure it is recognized successfully.
Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Click on вЂњMigrate OS to SSDвЂќВ under Wizards list.
Step 2. Choose the unallocated space on the larger disk and click on вЂњNextвЂќ.
Step 3.Now, you can resize the new C drive on the larger disk as you need or prefer.
Step 4. Click on вЂњApplyвЂќВ to commit the pending operation.
When it is done, the C drive will be moved to the destination disk. To boot from it, you can swap out the old startup disk with the larger disk. Or you can reboot your computer, enter BIOS settings, change boot order, make the destination disk as the first boot device and boot computerВ from it.
Further study on getting a bigger C drive
The above content is about how to move C drive to a larger hard disk so that you can get a bigger C drive to store a large amount of data. Apart from that, you can also own a larger C drive via adding more unused space on the current startup disk to the system partition. Namely, if there is lots of unused space on other partitions (like D: drive), you can transfer them to C drive (ex: make C drive bigger and D drive smaller).
To achieve this purpose, you can use the AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, and its вЂњAllocate Free SpaceвЂќВ can help you move unused space from one drive to another drive within 3 steps, an quite easy and simple way to make C drive bigger.
Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right-click the partition, which has lots of free space, and choose вЂњAllocate Free SpaceвЂќ. Here we select D drive.
Step 2. Then, you can decide how much free space to transfer to C drive.
Step 3. Click вЂњApplyвЂќВ to commit the pending operation.
After reading this article, you can learn how to move C drive to larger disk without reinstalling everything in Windows 10, 8, 7. Besides, you will also know how to make C drive bigger and another partition smaller to make the current startup disk partitioning structure more reasonable. Additionally, the recommended software is also able to convert MBR and GPT without deleting partitions, clone SSD/HDD/USB flash drive/SD card, convert primary drive to logical drive without data loss, etc. For Windows Server users, the AOMEI Partition Assistant ServerВ is a great choice.
If you find your old hard drive has not enough space for daily use, you can upgrade to a larger hard drive without reinstall Windows.
By AOMEI / Last Updated November 12, 2019
Upgrade to larger hard drive without reinstalling Windows
If you feel that your high-quality videos, images, music data and other files are filling your hard drive, then you should consider an upgrade to a larger one. Do you need to fresh install Windows 10/8/7 for upgrading system drive?
A fresh install may seem easy for some of the users, but it is a lot of work and cumbersome. Besides Windows, you need to re-configure your system, reinstall all the applications and games. Some paid programs will require you to reactivate it.
Actually, you do need to reinstall your Windows and programs thanks to a process called hard drive cloning. Compared to a fresh install, cloning hard drive is much easier to upgrade your hard drive to larger capacity without losing any of your data.
What do I need to upgrade a hard drive?
There are a few things that you need to prepare for a hard drive upgrade without data loss.
A larger HDD or SSD
Before you decide to buy a large hard drive, there is something you need to know first. You need to check what kind of hard drive fit on your computer, connection slot, size, etc.
If you want to upgrade to a hard drive larger than 2TB, you need to check if your motherboard supports UEFI boot. You can boot your computer into BIOS to see if there is a UEFI mode besides Legacy mode. You can also consult with the Motherboard provider.
As you may know, a disk initialized as MBR (master boot record) partition style has a 2TB disk size limitation. A disk larger than 2TB needs to be initialized as GPT (GUID partition table) if you want to use its full capacity. A GPT disk can only boot using UEFI boot mode.
Cables or tools to connect both hard drives to your computer
If you have a desktop computer, then you need a SATA 3 cable and power cable to install the new drive on your computer. Most of the desktops, if not all, have one or more extra power cables.
If you want to upgrade your laptop hard drive, then you should check if your laptop has an extra drive bay to install a secondary hard drive. If not, you should prepare a SATA-to-USB cable to connect your larger hard drive to your laptop via USB port.
A copy of free cloning software
For the disk cloning software, I recommend AOMEI Backupper Standard. It is free and easy to use. It provides an option to adjust partition size on the destination disk so it will not leave unallocated space on the cloned hard drive. Besides, it offers “sector by sector clone” method which helps you make an intact duplication of the source hard drive.
Clone to larger hard drive-Step by Step guide
After you get things ready, you can follow the steps below to clone your hard drive to a larger one.
Step 1: Connect the new hard drive to your computer internally or externally. Free download AOMEI Backupper, install and open it.
Step 2: In the Home screen of AOMEI Backupper, click Clone and select Disk Clone. If you only want to migrate OS to the larger drive, you can select System Clone instead, which is available in the AOMEI Backupper Professional version.
Step 3: In the next screen, select your original hard drive as the Source Disk by clicking it and then click Next.
Step 4: Click on the larger hard drive which you intend to replace the old one to set it as Destination Disk, and then click Next.
Step 5: To avoid unallocated space after cloning, you can upgrade to Professional edition to fully use these space. Clicking “Edit Partitions” will bring you to this interface.
Step 6: Click Start Clone to start the clone.
The cloning process will take an hour or so, depending on how many data that needs transferring. During that time, you can still use your computer to watch a movie or do some other stuff.
If you want to upgrade disk to SSD, you can also use this freeware to do the clone. It allows you to clone HDD to smaller SSD. Besides, it provides an option to Align partition to optimize for SSD.
When the clone is done, you can reboot your computer to BIOS and set the cloned drive as the first boot device. If you upgrade to larger hard drive for a laptop, then you need to shut down the laptop and replace the old drive with the cloned one.
Tips: To clone MBR disk to GPT disk without converting its partition style on system disk, please upgrade to advanced editions.
Besides the cloning feature, you can also use AOMEI Backupper to backup your old hard drive and then restore it to a larger one. You will need a USB drive to make a bootable media and then use it to boot your PC to complete the restoring process. This is really helpful when you cannot connect both drives to your computer at the same time.
I recently purchased a certified refurbished computer that has nice stats, and a tiny hard drive. The first thing I want to do is swap out the hard drive for a bigger one. My computer came with a certificate with the computer’s Win 10 registration number, but I did not get a DVD or USB drive to reinstall Windows with. Once I swap out drives, I no longer have an OS.
My question: how do I install Windows 10 once I swap out the hard drive?
Thanks in advance.
Hi LumpyP , you can reinstall Windows 10 at any time, you will not need a Product Key, Activation will be automatic and it will not cost you anything !
Since you previously had Windows 10 installed and activated on that PC during the installation process skip the steps which ask for a product key and select the option ‘I am Reinstalling Windows 10 on this PC’, and activation will not be an issue, your PC will have a digital entitlement stored on the Microsoft Activation Servers
Click this link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/software-downlo.
to download the Media Creation Tool (Click on Download Tool Now), with that you can download the latest Windows 10 ISO (Select Create Installation Media for Another PC), you can create a bootable USB flash drive (min 8GB) using that tool
Then, Boot your PC from the Installation Media you just created (change Boot Order in your BIOS) to begin installing Windows 10
If you have problems booting from a boot disc, you may have UEFI BIOS:
Insert the Bootable Installation Media, then go into your BIOS and make the following changes:
1. Disable Secure Boot
2. Enable Legacy Boot
3. If Available enable CSM
4. If Required enable USB Boot
5. Move the device with the bootable disc to the top of the boot order
6. Save BIOS changes, restart your System and it should boot from the Installation Media
Power to the Developer!
MSI GV72 – 17.3″, i7-8750H (Hex Core), 32GB DDR4, 4GB GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, 256GB NVMe M2, 2TB HDD
10 people found this reply helpful
Was this reply helpful?
Sorry this didn’t help.
Great! Thanks for your feedback.
How satisfied are you with this reply?
Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.
How satisfied are you with this reply?
Thanks for your feedback.
If you replace the hard drive ensure you have the Original Product Key.
You may find the key by opening PowerShell (Admin)
Right click on Start > Select PowerShell (Admin)
Copy/paste the following into the Window then Press Enter
wmic path softwarelicensingservice get OA3xOriginalProductKey
The Window that appears will reveal the Product Key. Write it down and keep it in a safe place when finished.
Create a Recovery Copy of the OS you now have just in case you need it for the new hard drive. The Digital License is tied to the Original Product key on the unit. Start > Type Recovery
If given the option to create a Backup use it.
When finished, Use the Media Creation tool to download the .iso file from here.
Once you’ve downloaded the .iso file you can burn it to USB to Install Windows 10 on the Unit. You’ll need a third-party tool such as Imgburn or Rufus to create the files.
See these detailed instructions for creating the media.
Note: This is a non-Microsoft website. The page appears to be providing accurate, safe information. Watch out for ads on the site that may advertise products frequently classified as a PUP (Potentially Unwanted Products). Thoroughly research any product advertised on the site before you decide to download and install it.
Once you’ve created the media perform a Clean Installation of Windows 10. Follow these steps.
Note: Andre Da Costa is a trusted Microsoft MVP