How to Move OS to Another Drive without Reinstalling and Data Loss

Written byMariaUpdated on Jun 19, 2023
Gerhard Chou
Approved byGerhard Chou

Table of Contents

Before we start: how to do if you want to move operating system to another drive or SSD without reinstalling and data loss? In this page we will introduce a disk cloning software to help you transfer OS and data from a hard drive to another hdd or SSD.


Why Transfer the Operating System to A New Drive

With the continuous use of the computer, the available storage space of the hard disk will gradually decrease and lead to low disk space problems. Moving the OS to a large disk or new SSD and using the old disk as a secondary device to store personal data is a good choice.

The system hard drive may fail due to overload, service time limit, virus, or other unknown reasons. Transferring the operating system from the old hard drive to the new one can help you reboot the system and back to your normal work immediately without reinstalling the operating system and applications.

Another big reason to migrate a current Windows OS is to save the time and effort to reinstall the systems and applications and reconfigure the settings that are required for a clean install. To transfer your operating system to a new drive with the help of a system migration software, you can keep your system files and personal data intact.

Above all, if you need to migrate your OS to a new SSD or another HDD, we'll explore how to move your Windows OS to another drive in this article.

Moving Windows OS to another with a disk cloning software

Donemax Disk Clone is the system migration software we recommend you try to move Windows OS to another drive or SSD. It can easily clone a system partition or disk to another and keep the data the same as the source disk. Additionally, the cloning software offers sector-level cloning to ensure you completely clone all the sectors on the drive and make 1:1 clone of the hard disk. It helps you clone the OS to another hard drive in Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista.

It provides two cloning methods: disk cloning, and partition cloning to meet different needs.
A partition clone is capable of copying a partition to an existing section or unallocated space. Then you will have 2 same partitions on your PC with the same data.

To migrate the operating system, the disk cloning is recommended, which ensures that the disk layout is consistent with the source system disk. If you want to copy every sector of the selected system drive (usually the C: drive) to the destination disk, you can check the box before sector-by-sector clone.

How to Move the Operating System to Another Drive in Windows 11/10/8/7?

1. Preparation: connect the new hard disk for cloning

Before moving the operating system to the new drive or SSD, you need to install or connect the target hard drive to your computer and make sure it is detected.

If the computer is a desktop, you can use the extra slot to install it inside. However, if your computer is a laptop, you will need a USB cable, adapter, and case to connect the target drive as an external hard drive at first for cloning.
In most cases, hard drives use SATA slots, but it's safe to check before buying a new hard drive because there are other disk interfaces, such as M.2, PCIe, IDE, SCSI, etc.

2. Transfer Operating System to Another Hard Drive in Windows 10, 11

Step 1: Launch Donemax Disk Clone. To transfer Windows OS, please select the system disk as the source disk and the newly installed hard disk as the target disk. If you want to clone the disk at the sector level, please check the box before Sector-by-sector clone.

Select OS drive as the source

Step 2: Check and edit the disk layout of the target disk. If you are cloning the disk to an SSD, check the option "If the target is an SSD".

Edit the disk layout

Step 3: click "Clone" to start the OS cloning.

Start OS cloning

After cloning, you can start the system from the newly installed hard disk.

How to boot the Operating System from a new hard drive:

Step 1. Shut down your computer.
Step 2. Install the new hard drive with a screwdriver to replace the original drive.
Step 3. Close the computer's cover and connect the power cord.
Step 4. Boot your computer and press a F2, F8 or Del to enter the BIOS setting. You will see it on the initial screen.
Step 5. Go to the Boot tab and change the boot order and set the new hard drive on top as the first boot order. After that, save the changes and reboot to see if it boots from the new drive.

Change boot settings

FAQs on moving OS to another drive

To move Windows 11 to a new drive follow the steps:
  1. Install the new drive to your PC
  2. Download and install Donemax Disk Clone on your computer
  3. Launch the software and select Disk Clone
  4. Select the system drive as the source disk and the new drive as the target
  5. Click "Next" to clone system drive
  6. And then the Windows 11 will be transferred to the new drive
  7. Change the boot order to boot from the new drive
Yes of course! With partition cloning of Donemax Disk Clone, you will have an option to clone the Windows 10 system drive (usually drive C:) to another partition like drive D: or E:. If your PC is running low on free space, you might not be able to install important Windows updates, and your PC's performance may be affected. You'd better move the system drive to a larger disk.
Yes, if SSD is large enough to hold all the data on the Windows 10 hdd. It is possible to clone a 1TB hard drive to a 500GB SSD if the Windows 10 drive is used less than 500GB, you can clone a 1TB disk to a 500GB SSD with Donemax Disk Clone.

In Conclusion

That's how to transfer the operating system to another hard drive. Donemax Disk Clone is a professional disk cloning tool that makes partition cloning or disk cloning easier for ordinary users. ItW provides expert features such as SSD alignment, sector-by-sector cloning, etc. which ensures that you can successfully boot your computer from the cloned hard drive. Besides, it allows you to clone the OS drive to a smaller SSD in Windows.

Contributing Writer


Maria is one of the senior writers & editors of Donemax who lives and works in Sydney, Australia. She loves PC, Mac and Internet Technology. She has 6 years of writing articles about data recovery on PC/Mac, disk cloning solution, data eraser and computer OS optimization, etc. She is also interested in testing various software and digital products.

Gerhard Chou
Editor in chief

Gerhard Chou

In order to effectively solve the problems for our customers, every article and troubleshooting solution published on our website has been strictly tested and practiced. Our editors love researching and using computers and testing software, and are willing to help computer users with their problems