Installing Windows on a solid state drive (SSD) can really speed things up. Installing a fresh copy of Windows onto your SSD is fairly straightforward, but transferring an existing installation to another is trickier.
Migrating your Windows operating system from your hard drive to your SSD is a tricky process and can lead to data loss if you are not careful. Therefore, this article tells you how to use DiskGenius to perform this transfer properly.
What is an SSD?
A Solid State Drive or SSD is a storage device that typically uses flash memory instead of moving parts to store persistent data. An SSD, as a storage device, is often described as the successor to hard disk drives (HDDs).
SSDs perform the same functions as HDDs, but more efficiently. For example, they are used in personal computers, smartphones, external storage devices, and game consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
The last type of SSD is the NVMe drive which offers the fastest data transfer speeds of all storage devices. However, this speed comes with a higher price than a traditional hard drive.
Why is an SSD better than a hard drive for your Windows installation?
In the SSD versus HDD debate, SSDs clearly have the upper hand. SSDs are, on average, four times faster than HDDs when reading and writing data. Also, installing your Windows operating system on an SSD can give you a boot time of 20 seconds. Conversely, booting from a hard drive for an identical installation can take up to a minute.
Additionally, SSDs are smaller than HDDs, with less weight and no moving parts. As such, they are less prone to physical damage. Today, HDDs can achieve higher storage capacities than SSDs, but that gap is closing fast. For the general user, this difference is not even apparent.
Gamers, musicians, and graphic designers will appreciate using SSDs for their speed, reduced noise, and increased performance. Additionally, users who travel a lot will benefit from the faster boot times offered by SSDs.
Migrate your Windows from HDD to SSD using Disk Genius
Now that we know why SSDs are good, let’s move on to converting your Windows from a hard drive to an SSD.
1. Back up your important data
Migrating your Windows installation from one storage device to another is a tricky and potentially dangerous process. You can easily corrupt your data or, worse, erase it completely. Therefore, before starting the transfer process, make sure to backup all your data.
The installation process will delete all data stored on the target SSD, so you should backup data on this device as well. You can check out our Windows data backup guide on how to store your data safely.
Additionally, you can back up your data to an external storage device or the cloud. We recommend storing in the cloud for maximum data security as your external storage device may be damaged. However, this option requires an internet connection.
2. Download and run DiskGenius
DiskGenius is a tried and tested disk management and data recovery tool trusted by many users. You can download this free software by visiting the download page on the DiskGenius website. Click on the To download button to download the installer.
After downloading, navigate to the download location and open the installer. Once opened, select your language, read and accept the license agreement. Then wait for the installation to complete. DiskGenius usually creates a shortcut for you on the desktop.
Next, open your Windows desktop, find the DiskGenius shortcut and double-click it to run the program.
3. Open System Migration Tool on DiskGenius
With DiskGenius open, select the Operating system migration tool in the toolbar or go to Tools > System Migration. Make sure you have connected your SSD to your computer. You can connect it as an external device or install it in the appropriate slot on the motherboard.
4. Select the target disk
After opening the OS Migration Tool, identify and select your SSD as the target disk. This step should be fairly straightforward if the SSD is the only other storage device attached to your computer. Therefore, you should disconnect all other storage devices from your PC to avoid confusion.
While selecting the target disk, a pop-up message will warn you that all files and partitions on the target disk will be overwritten. This shouldn’t be a cause for concern if you have backed up your important data. Select OKAY continue migrating.
5. Confirm system migration settings
The system migration settings window allows you to customize how you want the migration to take place. You can set the partition size by dragging the arrows between partitions on the target disk.
Additionally, you can choose to boot from the target disk after the migration is complete. If you want to continue booting from the original disk, you can leave this option unchecked.
Finally, you can prevent your computer from going to sleep during the migration.
After confirming your settings, click the Begin button at the bottom right of the menu.
Another pop-up message will appear, warning you that your files will be overwritten, emphasizing the need to back up your data. Click on the OKAY button if you want to continue.
6. Choose the migration mode
The next step is to choose one of the two migration modes. Hot migration takes snapshots of your current system without shutting it down. Be sure to back up your data before choosing this option. Alternatively, you can choose to restart with Windows Pocket Edition (WinPE).
We recommend using the Hot migration mode as it gives you better control over the transfer process. You can easily stop the migration from this mode. Moreover, if the target disk disconnects from your PC, you can quickly recover to the original disk.
7. Wait till the end
After choosing the migration mode, DiskGenius will create a snapshot of your Windows OS and start copying your data to the target SSD. All you have to do while this happens is wait.
You can continue to use your computer as usual. However, we recommend that you do not do this for two reasons. First, you can interfere with the transfer process and have to start all over again. Second, any work you do on your computer during the migration will not carry over to the new copy of your operating system.
8. Reboot from your SSD
Once the migration is complete, your computer is ready to boot from your SSD. Depending on your migration settings, the restart will happen automatically and you can resume working as usual.
However, if it does not boot automatically, you can enter BIOS in Windows and choose to boot from your SSD. The Windows operating system on your SSD is identical to the one installed on the original disk. Therefore, all your files and settings are intact.
Finally, you should confirm that you can successfully boot from the target disk before formatting the original hard drive.
Getting the most out of your SSD
Finally, you’ve installed Windows on your SSD and are ready to use it to its fullest potential. One of the first things you’ll notice is how fast programs load. Therefore, you can take advantage of this advantage by installing performance-hungry programs on your SSD.
However, beware of indiscriminately filling your SSD with files and applications. The perfect balance would be storing media files and infrequently used programs on your hard drive while keeping your favorite games and apps on your SSD.