Best Strategy of Using SSD for OS and HDD for Storage

January 31, 2019

Use SSD for OS and HDD for storage could be counted as one of the best hard drive setup. You can enjoy fast speed and ensure data storage. This guide tells how.

Advantages of using SSD for OS and HDD for storage

"So most people get a SSD to put their OS on to make it run faster and I figured I'd do it too. Now when I want to use any programs from my old HDD, such as Malwarebytes, games, Ventrilo, etc., I get issues like missing DLLs or access issues. I think I've cleared any access problems, but my question is this:

How can I run my OS off my SSD and all my other programs off my HDD without these issues? I have seen a few things about moving the Users folder over and that may fix things. I also don't want to reinstall everything. If at all possible I just want to keep running everything from what's already on the HDD. The SSD can support a lot of stuff, but I still want to only put certain things on and leave everything that doesn't require super speed on the HDD."

This is a typical question comes from PC users of “SSD for OS, HDD for storage” setup on Superuser forum. He actually pointed out one of the advantages of installing OS on SSD: faster running speed and it is true. Faster running speed could be counted as the biggest preponderance of SSD comparing to HDD. However, there are other merits of SSD that you may have not aware. 

Comparing to traditional hard drive, SSDs come with high quivery resistance capability, low power consumption standby, running noiseless and low operating temperature features, which provides a deeper level of protection for your OS when disaster come to visit. Nevertheless, SSDs are comparatively smaller than HDD that’s why it is best to use SSD for OS only and use HDD for storage.

How to use SSD for OS and HDD for storage in Windows?

You may choose different solutions based on your needs. If the PC is brand new and you want to install OS from scratch, it is better to clean install OS on the SSD with its installation disc. Then format the system partition on HDD to free disk space up.

Tips: You may be not allowed to format system drive under Windows environment, click to learn how to fix System Partition not allowed to be formatted.

Another instance would be you don’t want to reinstall everything after using the computer a period of time. All necessary and favorite programs are appropriately installed as the user in the example did. You only want to move OS as well as some applications that demanding fast speed to the new SSD. Definitely just move Users folders won’t help anything on migrating OS to SSD. 

On the contrary, that operation will possibly cause system mess up. More specifically, you store Windows all information including registry entries, DLLs on C drive early and now you move them to another partition yet Windows does not know it. The best way is move the whole system related data to SSD using AOMEI Partition Assistant to ensure success boot.

AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is free OS migration and hard drive formatting software that can assist you use SSD for OS, HDD for storage. It supports Windows 10/8/8.1/7/XP/Vista based PC. In theory, you move OS from HDD to SSD first with “Migrate OS to SSD” feature and then format previous system drive for another usage using this same software. Moreover, the software will automatically align partitions on SSD with its advanced technology. No need to reinstall or re-configure system and programs. Download it to have a try.

Set SSD OS drive and HDD storage with free AOMEI Partition Assistant

1. Install the SSD to PC properly and make sure it can be recognized by Windows. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant. Click Migrate OS to SSD in the left Wizards pane. Then select the positive option in the next pop-up window.

Migrate OS to SSD

2. Select the new SSD that you will use it for OS directly and click Next.

Select Disk Space

3. You have options to resize the system partition on SSD and change the drive letter if you wish. Type specific partition size into boxes is also available.

Resize Partition

4. This Note might be helpful and bear it in mind and click Finish.


5. Finally, click Apply and then Proceed to execute the pending operation. It may ask to reboot the computer and complete the task in reboot mode.


6. You’re half done. The previous system drive will be completely moved to SSD and showing as D drive after migration. Now test if the SSD can boot normally. Change boot superiority to SSD in BIOS or remove HDD to test, and the latter method may assist you do the test more thoroughly.

What you need to do next after testing is to format the older system drive C on HDD. It won’t allow you to format, delete, or change the system drive under Windows environment. Therefore, you need to accomplish this with the help of the same software AOMEI Partition Assistant. 

Create a bootable device via “Make Bootable Media” wizard, so that you can format C drive under Windows PE mode. The bootable device could be USB stick or CD/DVD. For more detailed steps with screenshots, please refer to aforementioned guide on “System Partition not allowed to be formatted”.


  • To move OS from/to GPT disk, you need to upgrade to Professional edition. The free software support MBR to MBR only.

  • This method is not suitable for laptop that with only one drive bay because it is hard to realize SSD for OS and HDD for storage disposition. If you want to replace the old HDD with SSD in laptop, please refer to how to switch from HDD to SSD.


Using SSD for OS and HDD for storage is probably the best arrangement for desktops, which makes full use of the preponderance of each type of disks. Luckily, all complicated operations can be easily managed when you turn to AOMEI Partition Assistant. 

This all-around software will solve lots of practical issues for your PC in the future if you keep it on the PC. For example, extend C drive to non-contiguous space when the system drive is out of space. It supports a large number of removable devices, so it is easy for you to format Lexar USB or erase SanDisk USB flash drive.