Buying an SSD drive to replace an old hard drive is one of the most efficient ways to speed up your computer. At first, it seems like a tedious process, and you may even think that you are going to lose important information. But knowing how to clone HDD to SSD hard drive in Windows 10 is easier than you think. And even more so when you use a program to clone your hard drive for free.
Keep in mind that you will always need a program to facilitate the process. Maybe you can get a USB hard drive docking and pass the information through Hardware, but that requires extra investment. So, here we will explain the best way to do it with the free hard drive clone program that is most suitable for you.
When cloning the hard drive, it is important to follow each procedure step by step. Sometimes problems related to booting Windows through the new SSD may arise. This is generally associated with the BIOS and is fixed in a matter of minutes.
Advantages of cloning HDD disk to SSD
The process of cloning an HDD disk to an SSD consists of copying absolutely ALL the contents of a unit and transferring it to a new one. In this case, to an SSD drive, which is the modern version of hard drives and offers greater benefits. In general, the main advantage of migrating your files to this type of memory unit is the possibility of improving performance on the computer.
During this process, all files are copied. In addition to saved files, the OS, partitions, and boot loader are also passed. It is possible to clone HDD to SSD or vice versa. You can also clone between 2 SSD or 2 HDD, or even clone a hard drive to a USB drive.
Cloning a hard drive is also the fastest way to replicate the same operating system on different drives efficiently and safely, without having to install it. This advantage applies especially for large companies, with a large workstation.
For example, installing Windows 10 on 40 or 50 computers manually can be complex for one person, and time-consuming. Instead, using the multicast cloning system to transfer the image simultaneously on multiple computers is instantaneous. And that’s possible with Clonezilla, a great free hard drive cloning program.
Which SSD should you choose?
The advantages of the SSD are quite clear, and once you use it surely you will not need another storage unit. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing yours. And is that despite finding various manufacturers such as Samsung, Crucial, Intel, Kingston, SanDisk, among others, all are based on the same standard and the same purpose.
Before Cloning Hard Drive to SSD in Windows
The first thing I want to make clear is that the process in general is not as risky as it seems. When passing a copy of the data from one unit to another, we will always have the data on the original hard drive. This is useful when a process goes wrong, which is unlikely.
Even so, there are certain considerations that we have to take into account before explaining how to clone a hard drive easily. Let me explain what the main ones are.
Get a Target Unit with Enough Space
We already recommend some of the best SSD drives you can buy; but all these processes also work to clone other types of drives, be it HDD, SSD or USB. What you have to keep in mind when purchasing your own storage unit is that it must have a memory size equal to or greater than the original disk. This is of great importance.
Defragment the Hard Drive without Programs
Keep in mind that mechanical disks tend to spread their data, leaving empty spaces for files that were deleted. If you want to have everything ready to clone an HDD, you should defragment it before starting the process. That way, you allow the data blocks to be sorted, making the read and write operation much faster.
To defragment an HDD hard drive, you can use Windows 10’s own tool, which is achieved by placing ” Disk Defragment ” in the search box; next to the start menu. Once the corresponding unit is selected, you just select Optimize and wait a few minutes.
This step should only be done with HDD units since it is the mechanical disks that present this problem. SSD drives, being solid, do not have empty memory spaces. It is also a useful process to make disk cloning much faster.
Prepare a bootable USB flash drive
It is not a process that you must follow with every program to clone a free hard drive. However, there are tools like Clonezilla that require it. That is why it is convenient to have a formatted USB, with at least 2 GB of memory. Or whatever is enough to burn the ISO image.
The process to create a Bootable USB is quite simple, but it depends on the program. We advise you to use Rufus, which is very intuitive, you can download it from its official website for free and it does not need installation.
NOTE: The options marked should be the ones that come by default so that you would only have to load the corresponding ISO image and execute it. The device should be the USB drive that you are going to use and the boot choice is the ISO file that has been downloaded.
Free Hard Drive Clone Program
Each program used to clone the hard drive for free has a very similar execution mode. Most focus on creating ISO images, but they will also allow you to clone an HDD to an SSD for free, quickly, and safely. These tools are open source, and although most are quite intuitive, it is convenient to follow the procedure to the letter. Free Hard Drive Clone Program
Each program used to clone the hard drive for free has a very similar execution mode. Most focus on creating ISO images, but they will also allow you to clone an HDD to an SSD for free, quickly, and safely. These tools are open source, and although most are quite intuitive, it is convenient to follow the procedure to the letter.
This is one of the best tools to clone a hard drive to SSD. Perhaps the only downside is its unfriendly and attractive interface, which can confuse you a bit. But don’t worry, the process is quick and guarantees full cloning in a matter of minutes.
- The first thing you should do is download the ISO image from its official website. To do this, access this link and select the ” Stable ” alternative. Then look for the option ” Select File Type ” and check the ISO box. In the end, you just have to proceed to download the file.
- When you prepare the boot disk, you have to restart the computer, connecting the target hard disk and the USB.
- After turning it on, you will see the Clonezilla home screen. From here, select the first option, which will start loading the default options.
- After setting the language and keyboard options, you can start Clonezilla.
- At this point, you will see the functions. To clone an HDD to an SSD, you must select the one that says Device-Device. The others are focused on remote cloning and multicast, one of the best features of this program to clone up to 40 disks at the same time.
- The tool will show you another screen where you must choose between expert and normal mode. I recommend you select the expert mode since the difference between the two is minimal. At least with this option, you will have some extra functions available.
- Now confirm if you want to clone 2 disks or 2 local partitions. In this case, choose the first option and select the corresponding source drive and destination drive. I remind you that the memory of the destination disk should never be less than the source disk, or you will see an error.
- In the new window, you have a series of advanced options. They are part of the expert mode, and being in Spanish you can understand the function of each one. You must leave the first 5, which are marked by default.
- The new window warns us about the option to check and repair the filesystem. You can skip it, but it’s best to select the option to check and repair interactively. That ensures cloning the SSD hard drive correctly.
- Now you must choose the partition table you want to use. In this case, leave the one that appears by default which is ” Use partition table from source disk ” and continue.
- A screen tells you what action you want to take at the end of the process. Choose the first one.
- At this point, the program to clone the hard drive to SSD starts running. Just read the summary of operations and warnings. When checking that everything is correct, you must press the “y” key, followed by “Enter” to continue.
- The program warns that the destination drive will be overwritten, with all the data from the source drive. It also asks if you want to clone the bootloader from the original disk; an option that you can with the letter “Y” to continue.
Once the process has finished, you will see a window with its summary. Now you can restart the computer, but this time from the new SSD hard drive. To do this, make sure to disconnect the source hard drive and the Bootable USB.
EaseUS Todo Backup
In this case, we will use the free version of EaseUS Todo Backup, a program quite similar to Clonezilla, which does not need a Bootable USB. Also, its graphical interface is friendlier.
- Download the tool from its official page. You can purchase a license for other functions, but the free version is used to clone a hard drive to SSD.
- With the program downloaded and installed, you can see the main interface. It brings a series of functions, but the one that interests you is the “Clone Disk / Partition”.
- The process is very simple since you only have to select the source disk and a destination disk. It is best to leave the partitions selected automatically since there are the system and the bootloader.
- If you enter advanced options, you will see 3 extra options that you can configure before carrying out the process. You have to check the first, which says ” Optimize for SSD “.
- The second function is useful when you are going to clone 2 HDDs and the third is paid, which is used to create a portable and functional USB with Windows 10.
- After selecting the corresponding units and configurations, you will see a summary of the operations to be carried out. Make sure to verify that you have chosen each hard drive correctly before starting the process, as the target drive will be overwritten.
- Finally, select Proceed and then click Continue, once you are sure to start.
Cloning an HDD hard drive to an SSD may take some time, depending on the size of the drives. When finished, you will receive a warning message, but the tool does not have a dynamic allocation for space. In that case, you must extend the partition volume manually, taking advantage of Windows 10’s Disk Management.
This is a partition editor that works in the Linux environment. This free hard drive clone program can also be used to create, delete, move, resize and inspect partitions and hard drives. It’s totally free, and you can download it on its official website.
To make it work, you have to mount the ISO image on a Bootable USB. The procedure is similar to the one we follow with Clonezilla, but its interface is much simpler, although it is in English.
Copying the partitions is very simple, in addition, it supports any type of data and guarantees great portability. It is also capable of cloning a different operating system on each partition.
Professional Alternatives to Clone HDD to SSD
We have already mentioned some of the best free tools to clone HDD hard drive to SSD. However, if you are looking for more complete and professional alternatives, you may want to consider paid programs. All with quite useful additional functions.
In general, it is much better to opt for these versions with a license, because the free versions are usually more limited and can sometimes cause problems. But don’t worry, as most of these tools offer a trial period of up to 30 days. Use this trial period to determine whether or not to purchase it. Let’s see the most popular ones.
Acronis Disk Director
This is one of the best tools that you can use to clone your SSD hard drive. Acronis Disk Director is one of the best-known brands for data protection, bringing with it a wealth of features. You have recovery options and partition management, plus you can clear your data to migrate to a new SSD disk.
Despite being a paid program, it has 30 free days where you can explore all its functions. It also has the Acronis True Image tool, with which you can configure an active cloning system. So if you are a company, or you are going to install Windows 10 on several computers, it will be very useful to clone different SSDs at the same time.
Another software that offers a 30-day free trial is Macrium Reflect. A program for cloning hard drives, as well as making backup copies of files. It works on images of disks, partitions and is able to clone entire drives with your Windows 10 system.
This program has different tools, which can be used according to the complexity of the unit. You can do or schedule a simple backup or clone disks to other storage units. It also brings management tools and paid functions that can be quite useful. Its interface is simple, fast, and is capable of starting the process with few steps.
AOMEI products are popular. They are mainly characterized by being efficient, safe, and very easy to use. Such is the case with AOMEI Backupper, a tool dedicated to different tasks related to the backup of storage units. Without a doubt, one of their best products to clone HDD hard drives to SSD.
The cloning and recovery options offered by this program are quite comprehensive. Although you can get a free version, you should bear in mind that it is barely capable of cloning and copying files. The only way to clone the hard disk with the operating system and the bootloader is necessary to acquire a license. And it offers several alternatives and prices to choose from.
Checking the New SSD
Once you finish cloning the HDD to an SSD, regardless of the program you have used, you will already have Windows 10 installed on the unit. With all the data saved on the new SSD, it is time to disconnect the old hard drive, to finish mounting the new drive.
On certain occasions, you may have a problem with starting. If your computer won’t turn on, it most likely doesn’t have the SSD configured in BIOS. To solve it, you must enter that configuration menu, select the SSD as the new boot drive and restart the computer.
When the computer restarts and the system boots, you will see that everything is in place; just as it was on the old hard drive. You are going to get Windows 10 along with all the files and personal files that you had before cloning the hard drive. If for some reason something is missing, you can get it on the old disk. You can recover files before formatting it.
Once everything is ready with the new SSD, touch the last step. You must think about what you are going to do with the “spare” HDD; and if it is still in perfect condition, you can get another use out of it.
The best thing to do is to format the Windows 10 hard drive from the same computer and then use it as a secondary storage drive. This will allow you to have more space to save backup copies, in addition to improving performance in Windows 10.
Extend partition volume on new SSD disk
When you start using the new SSD disk, after cloning it with a program that does not reorganize memory, you will notice that the occupied space is only that of the source disk and not the total of the destination disk. For example, when cloning a 50 GB HDD on a 250 GB SSD, we will only have 50 GB available after performing the process. Where are the 200 GB missing?
What has happened is that the program made an exact copy of the disk and its partitions. To solve this, you simply need to take advantage of the Disk Management tool that is built into Windows 10. The process to extend the partition volume is simple:
Press the Windows + X keys and look for the Disk Management tab.
Find the SSD hard drive that has unallocated space.
You can create a new partition on top of that free space to use it in another way, such as installing a second operating system on the hard drive. But in this case, we are only going to extend the primary partition so that it occupies the entire extent.
Click on the partition with the right button, and click on the “Extend Volume” tab.
Follow the instructions of the wizard, until it finishes extending the partition volume.