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How to Move Windows 10 to an SSD

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How to Move Windows 10 to an SSD

If you still use a hard drive for your primary boot drive, it may be time to move Windows to a different drive. You will need to transfer your operating system and all data to the SSD drive in order to keep your data intact but also enjoy SSD speed. It’s not as difficult as it sounds and you will be back up and running much faster than if your computer was brand new.

Windows 10 doesn’t make this simple, but the instructions below make cloning and swapping your Windows 10 install to a new hard drive as easy as possible.

We’ll show you how to move Windows 10 to an SSD in just a few steps. This guide is intended for people who only want to switch drives. However, it may work for those who build new computers or swap out old ones. This method won’t work for any virtualization project. However, you may be able to find these services if your budget allows.

Before you start trying to move Windows 10 to a new drive, it’s important to install the new drive so it’s ready for the process. Check out our .how to build your PC for more information.

Macrium Reflect 8 download options.

Download Macrium Reflect Free

As part of our guide, we’ll be using Macrium Reflect Free. This software will let you clone your main drive with Windows 10 installed on it to a new SSD for free. For cloning, you will need a destination SSD larger than your main drive. This won’t work if it isn’t.

Step 1: Head to the website and choose the Reflect 8 Free Commercial option. Click the Download free button and enter in your email. Choose I need a personal free license.

Step 2: Once you choose that option, click the Continue button and then check your email for download instructions.

Step 3: Visit the link in your email, download the app, and install it. During setup, choose the Free option and choose Download at the bottom. Make sure the Run installer directly after downloading button is also clicked so the app will auto-install.

Step 4: Follow instructions on your screen. Keep clicking Next on the prompts and uncheck any boxes for installing extra software. Click the Finish button and let the app install. When done, click Launch now.

 Macrium Reflect Free on Windows 11.

Configure Macrium Reflect 8 for drive cloning

Once Macrium Reflect 8 is installed, you can open the software and start the cloning process. Here’s how.

Step 1: Click on the Local disks tab at the top and choose your main disk with your data. Choose the Clone this disk option in the middle of the app. This will be your main disk, which will contain multiple partitions.

Step 2: Next, click all of the check marks on the main disk. Check that all partitions and everything are in order.

Step 1 of cloning a disk in Windows 11.

Step 3: Head down to the Select a disk to clone to area, then select your new SSD from the list in the app. Reboot the app if you don’t see it. You’ll want to choose the Erase disk option and erase the SSD so it’s blank, as in our screenshot below.

Step 3 of cloning a disk in Windows 11.

Step 4: To continue, choose the Copy selected partitions when I click next option and make sure it is checked. Click the Next button to proceed.

Step 5: You’ll be taken to an optional schedule page. Skip this, and click Next. You’ll see a summary of everything you’re about to complete, as we have below. Click the Finish button.

A summary of cloning disks in Windows 11.

Step 6: In the pop-up menu, choose the Run this backup now box. Agree to any warnings, and click Continue > OK.

Step 7: Sit back and wait while your disk is cloned. It may take a while depending on how fast your computer is and what type of SSD you have. Our clone took seven minutes.

The final step of cloning a disk in Windows 11.

Step 8: When done, you should see that your drive is now fully cloned and both look the same in Macrium Reflect 8’s utility, as pictured above.

A compressed air can being aimed towards the inside of a PC to remove dust.

Ekaterina Krasnikova/Getty Images

Change your new SSD to the boot drive

To end this process, you’ll want to set your new drive as the main boot drive. If you don’t plan on using the drive for another purpose, you can keep it in your computer. You can also physically remove it.

Step 1: Boot into your PC’s BIOS or UEFI settings. Usually, ESC works for this, or you can use the Delete key. For more information, visit the support page of your computer maker or online guides.

Step 2: Head into the Boot settings tab and remove or disable your old drive as one of the boot options, then add or enable the new drive in its place instead. Some BIOS and UEFI allow you to drag the drive around, or choose it from a list.

The BIOS settings on a Windows 11 PC.

Step 3: Once you have your new drive as the main boot option, click the Save and exit button, usually labeled in the BIOS. Now your system should boot to the new SSD.

Frequently asked questions

Is it worth moving Windows 10 to a new SSD?

Moving your data from a spinning hard drive to an SSD can have a huge performance advantage. SSDs are much faster than hard drives, meaning if you can move Windows 10 to a new drive, your PC will boot a lot faster. Apps and games will load faster, as well. We have a dedicated guide that explains the differences, but ultimately, your whole system will feel more responsive once you have Windows installed on an SSD.

Do I need to reinstall Windows when moving to an SSD?

You don’t need to reinstall Windows if you move to a different drive. As long as you are using the software mentioned in this article, it’s not necessary to reinstall Windows.

Using special software, you can “clone” your drive and copy over Windows exactly the way you left it. You might have to activate Windows again if you transfer to an SSD. This is not a good idea. Our separate guide covers issues with Windows activation.

If all else fails, you can back up your existing Windows 10 installation and restore from it at a later point after installing Windows 11 to the new SSD on your PC. Our guide also covers backups and reinstalls.

In our guide, we use Macrium Reflect 8 as clone software, but there are many others, like EaseUS Todo Backup Free or AOMEI Backupper Standard. If you have issues with your drive, we recommend that you put it back in your computer and back it up on an external SSD. Next, you can clean-install Windows. You can then restore files and apps manually.

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign

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USB logos finally make sense, thanks to a redesign


Author: Mark Hachman
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As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more

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New Pixel Watch leak reveals watch faces, strap styles and more
Google Pixel watch



The Google Pixel Watch is incoming
(Image credit: Google)

We’re expecting the Google Pixel Watch to make its full debut on Thursday, October 6 – alongside the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro – but in the meantime a major leak has revealed much more about the upcoming smartwatch.

Seasoned tipster @OnLeaks (opens in new tab) has posted the haul, which shows off some of the color options and band styles that we can look forward to next week. We also get a few shots of the watch interface and a picture of it being synced with a smartphone.

Watch faces are included in the leak too, covering a variety of different approaches to displaying the time – both in analog and digital formats. Another image shows the watch being used to take an ECG reading to assess heartbeat rate.

Just got my hands on a bunch of #Google #PixelWatch promo material showing all color options and Watch Bands for the first time. Some details revealed as well…@Slashleaks 👉🏻 https://t.co/HzbWeGGSKP pic.twitter.com/N0uiKaKXo0October 1, 2022

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Full colors

If the leak is accurate, then we’ve got four silicone straps on the way: black, gray, white, and what seems to be a very pale green. Leather straps look to cover black, orange, green and white, while there’s also a fabric option in red, black and green.

We already know that the Pixel Watch is going to work in tandem with the Fitbit app for logging all your vital statistics, and included in the leaked pictures is an image of the Pixel Watch alongside the Fitbit app running on an Android phone.

There’s plenty of material to look through here if you can’t wait until the big day – and we will of course be bringing you all the news and announcements as the Google event unfolds. It gets underway at 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm BST / 12am AEDT (October 7).


Analysis: a big moment for Google

It’s been a fair while since Google launched itself into a new hardware category, and you could argue that there’s more riding on the Pixel Watch than there is on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro – as Google has been making phones for years at this point.

While Wear OS has been around for a considerable amount of time, Google has been leaving it to third-party manufacturers and partners to make the actual hardware. Samsung recently made the switch back to Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, for example.

Deciding to go through with its own smartwatch is therefore a big step, and it’s clear that Google is envious of the success of the Apple Watch. It’s the obvious choice for a wearable for anyone who owns an iPhone, and Google will be hoping that Pixel phones and Pixel Watches will have a similar sort of relationship.

What’s intriguing is how Fitbit fits in – the company is now run by Google, but so far we haven’t seen many signs of the Fitbit and the Pixel lines merging, even if the Pixel Watch is going to come with support for the Fitbit app.

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.

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