Effective Methods for Move Windows 10/11 to Another Hard Drive

Maria updated on May 23, 2022 to Disk Clone

Migrate Windows 10/11 to Another Drive

Lily: When I bought the computer, I thought I wouldn't have too many files, so I bought a smaller hard drive, and now my job has changed, and the files have become more and more. I need to replace my hard drive. Its available space becomes smaller. How to do system migration? Install Windows 10 or Windows 11 on my new hard drive? Thanks for any help!

So how to solve this problem? Here we introduce several effective solutions:

Migrating Windows 10/11 to a new hard drive is roughly divided into the clean install, built-in backup restore, and third-party backup software.

Clean Install: This is the easiest and quickest solution. Just reinstall a new system on the new hard drive. It also solves performance, memory, startup, etc., issues, but the problem is that you have to reinstall all necessary software and clone your stuff, which is very time-consuming.

Built-in backup and restore: This solution preserves system partition contents, including operating system, software, settings, and personal data. It allows you to create a system repair disc to repair the system when it fails to boot. Restore Windows 10/11 to a new hard drive and reinstall the software wirelessly. The main problem with this solution is the inability to restore images created on larger disks to smaller disks.

Third-party backup software: DMclone can help you migrate Windows 10/11 to a new hard disk through disk clone, which can transfer everything from your old drive to another one without reinstalling anything.

Solution 1: Clean and Install Windows 10/11 to A New HDD

1. Download the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool (https://www.microsoft.com/en-hk/software-download/windows10) on the Microsoft website to create bootable media (minimum 8GB required).
2. Once created, connect the bootable boot drive and new disk to the computer and make sure they are detected in Windows. Next, choose to boot your computer from this boot drive via the BIOS. (Different models of motherboards may have different setting interfaces, you can check how to operate the specific model above)

 Windows media creation tool

3. Enter the installation interface, start to select the language version (select according to your needs, mine is the default), and click Install Now
4. If you don't have a product key, click I don't have a product key
5. Select the version, generally choose the professional version, and click Next
6. Click to accept the agreement and click Next
7. Because we want to reinstall, choose, customize: install only windows (advanced)
8. At this time, you will be asked to choose the disk where the system is installed, and we will choose our new disk.
9. The computer will restart after the mirror copy is completed. When the computer restarts, unplug the U disk. After restarting the computer, install the software and settings according to your own needs.

Solution 2: Windows Built-in Backup and Restore

Step 1: Backup the system

1. Open the system [Backup and Restore (Windows7)] function: [Control Panel] → [System and Security] → [Backup and Restore (Windows7)]

Windows system backup and restore

2. Choose where to save the backup
After entering the Backup and Restore page, select [Set Backup] to enter the page where you want to save the backup location. Choose your external mobile hard disk on this page to facilitate subsequent system restoration. The external hard drive capacity should be larger than that of your current system.

Windows system backup and restore

3. Select the backup content
After choosing where to save the backup, click Next and choose what you want to back up. Here we select the [Let me choose] option and click Next. Select all the drive letters and data files that need to be migrated, and select the option below [Include drive Windows 10 (C:), system image of Windows Recovery Environment (S)]. After the content selection is complete, click the Next button to start the backup. The backup time will depend on your capacity, usually 30 to 90 minutes.

Windows system backup and restore

Step 2: Restore the System (migration)

Suppose the target system can boot up successfully. Open the backup and restore function, click [Select another backup for restoring files (N)], and then select the previous backup file to restore.

Suppose the target system is damaged and becomes unbootable. It is necessary to reinstall a system on the target system in this case. After booting with the Startup Disk, select System Restore to restore the System and data you previously backed up.

Solution 3: Apply Cloning Software to Move Windows 10(Recommended)

Although the built-in backup and restore of the Windows system can help us complete the system migration task, it is easy to have problems during the execution of the job and cause the migration to fail. Migrating to a new disk, with the help of more professional and practical cloning software, you can do more with less. DMclone has the following advantages:

1. Support different clone types: disk/partition clone, which can meet your different needs.
2. It clones faster and safer.
3. Strong compatibility, suitable for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP.
4. Simple operation.

How to Clone Hard Drive with Donemax Disk Cloning Software

Step 1: Select clone source and clone target.

Select a disk or partition as the clone source in the pop-up clone window. The target can be an empty disk or unallocated space as the clone target. Click next.

Disk cloning software

Step 2: Edit the destination disk layout.

To edit the cloned target disk layout, you can select auto fit disk layout, clone as the source disk, or manually edit disk layout.

select target disk

Step 3: Perform cloning.

After confirmation, click "execute" to start the cloning process.

Start disk cloninge

Tip: When the target partition or disk is occupied, other cloning fails under the normal system. The software will prompt you to create a WinPE image(.iso file). When the ISO file is made, the system will automatically restart and enter the WinPE system to perform the cloning operation. 

How to Start the System from the New Hard Disk?

How to boot the system from the new hard disk after migrating the Windows 10/11 to the new hard disk? We need to go into the BIOS and modify the boot order.

1. Install the new disk on the computer and restart the computer.
2. Press a specific key on the initial startup screen to enter the computer BIOS interface. (Different models of motherboards have different hotkeys for entering the BIOS, you can find them online)
3. Set the boot priority to the new hard drive in "BOOT," then save the changes and reboot.
4. After this is started, the system on the new disk is allowed.

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