By Emily / Last Updated November 1, 2019

How do I clone my laptop hard drive to SSD?

“I want to copy or maybe clone all the things on my Dell laptop HDD that contains OS as well into my new SSD drive. Then when I replace it on my laptop, everything would be normal as usual with secure boot, just like the way that previous HDD. So anyone knows how to clone my laptop hard drive to SSD in Windows PC? Thanks!”

- Question from www.cnet.com

Why clone laptop hard drive to SSD in Windows PC?

Many older, especially the cheaper, Windows laptops are equipped with traditional mechanical hard drives. That is a little outdated and slow in performance. Besides, HDDs have internal moving parts, so they are prone to damage during carrying around.

Upgrading to a new, super faster solid-state drive is the surest way to speed up computer. But there is one headache: moving Windows installation and other customized apps from HDD to SSD can be tricky, especially when the SSD is smaller than the traditional hard disk drive.

Fortunately, there is a way to migrate Windows 10/8/7 to an SSD without reinstalling Windows. That is cloning laptop hard drive to SSD. It may take a few extra steps, but a lot less time and more effective.

Powerful laptop hard drive to SSD clone software

To clone a hard drive is different from copying personal files, music, and movies.etc. The "Ctrl C+ Ctrl V" does not work for system files, directory files, and some applications. In that way, you might be unable to run systems or access applications as normal. Consequently, you will have to reinstall everything once again.

So, you need to use a professional hard drive cloning tool. There are numerous different disk cloning software on the market, but for cloning HDD to SSD successfully with secure boot in Windows 10/8/7, I highly recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

This software has the “Disk Copy” function, allowing you to transfer all data, including Windows and programs, from one disk to another and ensure successful boot after clone. Besides, it provides two different disk clone methods for you to choose:

⋆Clone Disk Quickly: this method will clone only used space from one hard drive to another, so you can clone laptop hard drive to smaller SSD as long as the destination disk is larger than the used space of the source disk.
⋆Sector-by-Sector Clone: this way will clone both used and unused sectors from disk to disk, so the destination hard drive must be larger than the source disk. But this method can help clone BitLocker encrypted hard drive.

Steps to clone laptop hard drive to SSD drive with secure boot

Now, we will show you how to copy laptop hard drive to SSD in Windows 10/8/7, as well as how to boot the laptop from cloned SSD drive step by step. The same steps are applicable for cloning dell, HP, Asus, Acer, and other brands laptop hard drive to a solid-state drive.

1. Make preparation for cloning

Prior to laptop hard drive cloning process, below preliminary work are necessary:

  • Remove unnecessary files or programs from the current hard disk to make it small enough to fit your SSD drive.

  • Connect SSD to your laptop and make sure it is recognized successfully. You may need an external USB to SATA adapter, dock or enclosure.

  • Back up files you need to keep on SSD drive because all the data will be erased during the cloning process.

  • If you are planning to clone MBR system HDD to GPT SSD drive, verify your motherboard supports UEFI boot mode. That’s because you must upgrade BIOS legacy to UEFI boot mode cloning, otherwise, you cannot boot from the destination disk.

2. Start cloning laptop hard drive to SSD

Now, you can download AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional demo version and follow the steps to clone your laptop hard drive to smaller SSD drive.

Step 1. Install and Run AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro. Click "All Tools" > "Disk Clone Wizard".

Clone Disk

Step 2. Choose a method to copy the selected disk, and click "Next". Here we select "Clone Disk Quickly".

Copy Method

Step 3. Choose the source laptop hard drive you need to clone and click "Next".

Source Disk

Step 4. Select the destination disk and tick option "Optimize the performance of SSD", and click "Next".

Target Disk

Step 5. Here, you can adjust partition size as you need and hit on "Next". Because we are cloning laptop hard drive to smaller SSD, so the first option "Clone without resizing partitions" is greyed out.

Edit Disk

Step 6. Carefully read the note about how to boot from the destination disk if necessary and then click "Finish".

Boot Note

Step 7. At last, click "Apply" and "Proceed" in the main interface to start cloning the hard drive.

Proceed

3. Boot from cloned SSD securely

When the cloning process is done, you need to boot from the destination disk. For this task, do as below:

Step 1. Turn off your laptop; disconnect SSD drive, power cable, and other connected cables.

Step 2. Open the laptop back cover. Uninstall the old hard drive from the laptop drive slot and install the cloned SSD drive with a screwdriver.

Step 3. Screw the back panel covering the drive back on.

Step 4. Reboot your laptop, long-press ESC, F1,F2, F8 or F10 during the initial startup screen to enter BIOS environment.

Step 5. Get to the Boot tab and check the boot list. Use the arrow keys to move cloned SSD at the top of the boot priority list.

Step 6. Save and exit the BIOS setup utility. And your laptop will boot from cloned solid-state drive successfully.

Tip: if the cloned SSD won’t boot, you can check whether the boot mode (BIOS and UEFI) is compatible with the SSD drive partition style (MBR or GPT), system files are complete, or SSD driver is outdated.

Final Words

So, with AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, you can easily clone laptop hard drive to SSD in Windows 10/8/7 to upgrade HDD to SSD or replace HDD with SSD in laptop or desktop.

It is not exclusively designed for cloning hard drive. Thus, you can also use this software for migrating only OS to SSD, extending NTFS system drive without rebooting PC, recovering lost partitions, converting MBR and GPT without deleting volumes and more. If you need to clone Windows Server disk, please try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.