How to Replace a Windows PC’s Mechanical Hard Drive with a SSD

This blog post is about how to replace a Windows PC’s mechanical hard drive with a SSD.

The instructions in this blog post are the actions I took to transfer my Windows operating system from my old slow hard drive to a SSD. I hope you find the information helpful.

SanDisk SDSA5Ak-064G

Introduction
I purchased a cheap used SSD via eBay. The drive is only 64GB, but that is enough for my Windows 10 files and some important applications. Then I’ve setup a secondary slower mechanical SATA hard drive to contain my other applications and files.

Using the SSD I’ve noticed improved performance, both during boot and general use. I found the upgrade to be worth the effort, and I’m happy with my second-hand purchase. Obviously, others might not be so lucky using second-hand solid state drives, but I’ve been fortunate.

How to copy a mechanical hard drive to a solid state drive

Note: The instructions assume you’ve already connected the SSD to your computer, but are still booting Windows 7/10 using your old mechanical hard drive.

Warning: Before continuing, please make sure you perform a backup of any files.

2nd Warning: After performing the hard drive transfer, please make all files on the mechanical hard drive have been successfully transferred to the SSD. I also recommend you don’t erase/wipe the mechanical drive until you’re happy with the new drive.

  1. Download MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition and install the application. *
  2. Run the program and click on ‘MiniTool Partition Wizard Free’ in the top-left of the window.MiniTool Partition Wizard Free
  3. Select ‘Migrate OS to SSD/HD’.Migrate OS to SSD
  4. Now choose option ‘A. I would like to replace my system disk with another hard disk.’, and then click ‘Next’.Replace system disk
  5. Select your destination disk. i.e. SSDSelect a destination disk
  6. If the destination disk is correct, select ‘Next’ to continue.
  7. A new window will open, and if you’re happy to wipe the destination drive (the SSD) select ‘Yes’.warning message
  8. On the next screen, your required options might be different. Below is a screenshot of what I used for my specific circumstances. When satisfied with your selections, select ‘Next’.review the changes
  9. Once you’ve read the note on the next screen, select ‘Finish’.
  10. At the top-left select ‘Apply’ and then ‘Yes’ to confirm you wish to proceed.
  11. A pop-up window will appear, mentioning ‘Operation “Copy partition” cannot be completed because drive C: is being used now.’. Select ‘Restart Now’ to reboot and allow the application to proceed.copy partition notice

Your computer should show the Windows logo and then ‘Welcome to Partition Wizard’ with white text on a black background. Do not interrupt this process.

copy partition

Hopefully your mechanical to SSD transfer occurs without any problems.

* I used version 10.2 at the time of writing.

Do you need to change your boot order?

If like me, you left the mechanical drive in the same computer after transferring its contents to a SSD, you probably need to change your computer’s boot order in the BIOS. When you first switch on your computer, you should be able to access the BIOS using a keyboard button, and then change the boot order and save the changes.

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