How to transfer Windows 10 to a new hard drive

If you have upgraded and updated your computer and purchased a new hard disk, and you want to use it without losing the current version of Windows

that is already on the old hard disk; So what is the solution?!

Do not worry, we will provide you with the solutions that you can do with the explanation in this article in detail

and you can also keep this article in your favorites to review the steps that you will need in practical application.

Let’s start, if you want to migrate Windows 10 to a new HDD (new hard drive), you’ll have to consider your available options first.

Beginners may struggle with this functionality, but it doesn’t have to be – you just need to know how you’re going to move your files from A to B and make sure Windows starts up from the new hard drive.

There are several ways you can go about doing this.

Here’s what you need to do to start the process.

Before transferring Windows 10 to a new hard drive

Before considering moving Windows 10 to a new hard drive, you should consider backing up your essential files, independently of any new system image you create.

While this process should not have an effect on the original hard drive and files, it can cause data loss if you accidentally overwrite the initial hard drive in the process.

To ensure that your data is safe, you should always perform an independent backup of your files using portable media (such as a USB drive) or online cloud storage.

Once you’ve backed up your essential files, you’ll have two options to consider.

The process for moving Windows 10 to a new drive depends on whether you’re moving to a drive of equivalent or larger size or if the drive is smaller, as the process will be different.


It doesn’t matter whether you’re moving from a traditional hard drive (HDD) to a hybrid hard drive or a solid state drive (SSD), only the size of the hard drive itself matters.

If you’re moving to a drive of equivalent size or larger, you’re free to create a system image to clone your drive using the system imaging tools built into Windows.

However, if you’re moving to a drive that’s smaller than the original, you won’t be able to use this method, as Windows will show an error during the re-imaging process.

Instead, you will need to move Windows 10 to a new hard drive (new hard drive) using third-party tools that will allow you to successfully copy files to the smaller hard drive.

Create a new system image to transfer Windows to hard drives of equivalent size or larger

If you want to migrate Windows 10 to a similar or larger size drive than the original one, the best way is to use a special Windows system imaging tool.

This will allow you to completely copy the original drive to the new drive.

It is important to stress that this method only works if you are using a drive of equivalent size or larger.

If your hard drive is smaller, you will need to follow the steps below to use a third party tool instead.

1 – To get started, you will need to create a new system image to install and install Windows. To do this, right-click the Start menu icon and select the Settings option .

Open Settings

2 – In the Settings menu, select Update & Security > Backup . In the Backup menu, select the Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) option, which is listed under the Find an older backup? (Looking for an older backup).
Update & Security

3 – In the older Control Panel window, select the Create a system image option visible in the left menu.

Be sure to connect an external hard drive (such as an external USB hard drive) at this point, unless you plan to use a network location to store the system image (such as a network attached storage device).

Create a system image

4 – A new system image creation menu will open and automatically start searching for a suitable external drive or network location to store the system image.

If you are using a portable hard disk drive, select this from the On a hard disk drop-down menu.

If you are using a network storage location, choose the On a network location option, and then select an appropriate location on your network to store the file. Select Next to continue.

On a hard disk

5 – Windows will confirm the partitions on your hard drive that will be copied to the new system image. Select Start backup to get started.

Start backup

6 – Allow the system image creation process to finish. Once done, Windows will ask if you want to create a new system repair disk. It might be a good idea to do this, especially if you want to tackle the corruption of your MBR or GPT boot files in the process. However, you can select either yes or no to continue.

Do you want to create a new system repair disk

After creating the new system image, you are ready to use it on your new hard drive. At this point, connect the new hard drive to your computer and remove the existing one.

You can also leave your existing hard drive where it is and format (repartition it), allowing you to repurpose it as a secondary storage drive.

Use the system image to transfer Windows to a new hard drive

With a new system image for your existing hard drive ready, you can use the image to create a complete copy of Windows installed on your new hard drive.

As mentioned earlier, you can only do this if the new hard drive is the same size or larger than the previous system hard drive.

1 – To get started, insert Windows installation media using a USB flash drive or DVD. (i.e. as if you are going to install Windows from scratch)

Once it’s in, turn on your computer and make sure your BIOS or UEFI settings prioritize this drive over any other drives. Once the Windows installation menu appears, select Next, then select Repair your computer in the lower left corner.

2 – In the Advanced Options menu, select Troubleshoot > System Image Recovery .

Troubleshoot > System Image Recovery

3 – Windows should automatically detect the system image on your external hard drive in the Re-image your computer list. If not, select the Select a system image option to manually locate it.

Otherwise, leave Use the latest available system image (recommended) checked, then select Next to continue.

Use the latest available system image (recommended)

4 – With the new system image, the new hard drive will be formatted with the same partitions as the previous drive.

If you want to exclude any partitions first, select Exclude disks and uncheck them. Otherwise, select Next to continue.

Exclude disks

5 – Select Finish > Yes to start the disk imaging process, which will take some time to complete. Once you are done with this process, select Restart Now to boot into your computer.

You can remove the Windows installation drive or disk at this point, and you may also need to change your BIOS/UEFI settings to make sure that the new drive is selected as the first boot disk.

Select Finish > Yes to start the disk imaging process.

If you copied your files to a new drive of the same size, you don’t need to do anything else at this point – Windows will boot as normal, and you can resume using your computer with the new drive.

However, if you’ve cloned your hard drive to a larger hard drive, you may need to take extra steps to make use of the extra space.

Resize the system partition after using the system image

A system image clones your entire drive, recreating all available partitions on the previous drive to the exact sizes as the original partitions to the new drive.

If you have used a system image to move Windows to a larger hard disk, you will need to resize the system partition (C:) to take advantage of all the available space on the new drive.

1 – To do this, boot into Windows on the new hard drive and log in. Right-click on the Start menu and select Disk Management.

Disk Management

2 – In the Disk Management menu, right-click on the system partition (C 🙂 and select Extend Volume.

Extend Volume

3 – In the Extend Volume Wizard menu, select Next, then make sure to select the amount of extra space (equivalent to the number in the Maximum available space in MB box) in the Select the amount of space in MB box. Then select Next to continue.

Extend Volume Wizard

4 – Make sure the details are correct, then select Finish to complete the process.

Confirm Drive Extend

After a few moments, your system partition will be expanded to include the extra space on your drive, ensuring that all available drive space is usable.

Transferring the Windows 10 operating system to a different size hard disk using an external program

Using a fresh system image to clone your hard drive is still the best way to migrate Windows 10 to a new hard drive. Unfortunately, since this process doesn’t work if you’re moving from a larger hard drive to a smaller one, you’ll need to use third-party software to mirror Windows instead.

There are different tools for this method, but one good (and free) option is to use Macrium Reflect Free .

The free version of Macrium Reflect allows you to clone your Windows from a larger hard drive to a smaller one, resizing partitions in the process.

 You can also use this to clone Windows to a larger hard drive if you prefer.

Before following these steps, make sure that both your current hard drive (old hard drive) and your new hard drive (new hard drive) are connected to your computer and can be detected and read in Windows.

1 – To get started, download and install the free home version of Macrium Reflect from the Macrium Reflect website .

Once installed, run the program and make sure the checkbox next to the disk containing the system partition (C:) is checked. Once selected, select the Clone this disk option located below it.

Macrium Clone Drive Option

2 – In the Clone menu, select your new drive (smaller hard) by selecting the Select a disk to clone to option in the Destination section.

Select Destination Disk

3 – With the new disk selected, you will need to delete any existing partitions on the hard disk drive by first selecting them in the Destination category, then selecting the Delete Existing partition option to remove them.

Delete Existing Partition

4 – With any existing partitions removed on the new hard disk drive, drag and drop each of the partitions on the drive (except for the C: system partition) from the Source category to the Destination category.

Leave the system partition (C 🙂 last and then drag and drop this partition into the Destination category.

Copy Partitions

5 – Macrium Reflect will automatically resize your system partition to use the remaining space on the new drive if the new drive is smaller than the original one.

If you want to resize your C partition (or you’re using a larger drive, so you’d like to resize it to use the extra space), select it in the Destination category first, then select the Cloned Partition Properties option.

Edit Partition Size

6 – In the Partition Properties menu, change the size of your partition using the Partition Size box. If you’re using a larger drive, make sure the Free Space box is set to 0MB to make sure you’re using all the available space. Select OK to confirm the change.

Edit Partition Size Option

7 – Select “Finish” to confirm the cloning options.

Begin clone

8 – Leave the options as they are in the Backup Save Options menu that appears next, then select OK to confirm.
Confirm Backup Options

9 – Macrium will need permission to delete the existing partitions and start the cloning process.

Select the available checkbox in the Confirm Overwrite menu, then select Continue to proceed. Allow some time for the cloning process to finish.

Begin Clone Options

Once done, your existing hard drive containing your Windows installer and all other files will be copied to the new drive.

You can shut down your computer and remove your previous hard drive at this point, or use Disk Management to format it (or use a repartition program) and repurpose it instead.

final notes

Whether you use a Windows 10 system image to move to a new drive of the same size, or use third-party software like Macrium Reflect to clone it,

you’ll be ready to boot, work, and use your new drive without any further steps. You may need to resize the system partition if the new hard disk is larger than the original (old hard disk).

If you run into problems, you may want to consider reinstalling Windows 10 and starting over without cloning your entire drive. You can do this without losing your personal files,

but you may need to install the software again and transfer your Windows 10 license in the process.

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