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When should you transfer your Windows installation to a new hard disk or solid-state drive? It is preferable to create a Windows OS copy to a different hard drive - HDD or SSD - after you have just finished installing the Windows OS and numerous drivers, along with other often used software.

Alternatively, the capacity of the current system disk will be exhausted after some time of use, resulting in a gradual decline in performance. To increase the computer's overall performance and running speed, you may need to copy Windows OS to a new HDD/SSD with greater capacity at that time.

So, the question is, how do you transfer Windows to a fresh disk? You may trust some software to accomplish your goal effectively. You can easily transfer your Windows installation to a new hard drive without first reinstalling or backing it up.

clone Windows OS

How come you copy Windows to an external drive?

Let's say that after a long period of use, your disk has become old and weak, and perhaps it lacks enough storage space, causing your computer to perform slowly. Or your hard drive intermittently becomes unresponsive. You may be fed up with Windows and want to clone it to an external hard drive. Here are the top three justifications:

1. Replace or upgrade the old disk.

Making a clone of the smaller disk onto the larger one will duplicate all the data on the smaller disk, giving you access to greater storage space. Cloning a hard disk to an SSD is preferable, but computer speed is paramount. An SSD, it is stated, can offer ten times the speed of a regular HDD.

clone Windows OS

How to clone a hard drive on Windows?

Ensure your computer can read the disk or drive you purchased. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your drive to learn how to set it up and establish a connection. Look at our troubleshooting guide for help with an external hard drive that isn't being recognized.

Fix External Hard Drive Not Recognized on Windows

Fix External Hard Drive Not Recognized on Windows

Open Disk Management and quickly fix external hard drive not showing up or not recognized issue on Windows PC.

DoYourClone for Windows is designed for cloning hard drive on Windows PC. With this software, you can move everything of Windows OS to an external hard drive and create a bootable clone.

DoYourClone - Best Disk Cloning Software

  • Clone HDD, SSD, external storage device.
  • Clone Windows OS to external hard drive.
  • Support both disk clone and partition clone.

Follow the steps below to clone Windows OS to a new SSD or HDD or external device:

Step 1. Open DoYourClone on your PC, choose Disk Clone mode.

Step 2. Select the computer disk as the source disk and select the external hard drive as the destination disk. (If you tick “Sector by sector clone”, the external hard drive should be equal or bigger than the source disk.) Then click Next.

clone Windows OS

Step 3. Then you can preview the clone layout, if the external hard drive is SSD, tick “Check the option if the destination is SSD,” then click on Clone button to securely clone Windows OS to the external hard drive.

clone Windows OS

FAQs about cloning Windows operating system

1. How to clone Windows OS to an external HDD/SSD?

  1. Download and install DoYourClone for Windows and open it.
  2. Connect the external hard drive to your computer.
  3. Choose disk clone mode.
  4. Select the source disk (Windows disk) and select the destination disk (external hard drive).
  5. Click Next, then click Clone button.
  6. Securely clone the Windows OS to the external hard drive.

2. How to boot from the cloned SSD?

Case 1: Changing the boot drive in BIOS settings so both drives can be used simultaneously.

  • After restarting, press F2/F8 to access the BISO menu.
  • Select the cloned SSD as the boot disk under the Boot tab, then save the configuration.
  • You can restart the computer after the cloned SSD has been successfully booted.

Case 2: Your laptop only has room for a single solid-state drive. Here's what you should do:

  • Put your laptop to sleep and remove the clunky old disk.
  • Put in the new SSD or hook it up.
  • When you turn on your laptop again, it will use the cloned SSD instead of the original one.

3. Can I clone Mac OS to an external hard drive?

Yes, DoYourClone offers a Mac version to clone Mac startup disk to the external hard drive, create a bootable clone backup for Mac.


A copy of your system will be made after the procedure is finished. Before saving the system clone, the destination drive must be formatted. The information would be lost if that happened. If you want to keep the data on the destination drive, back it up first. The software's other functions will make the sector-by-sector clone feasible. All partitions, used or not, can benefit from being cloned. Alignment parameters for the target SSD can also be adjusted.

Therefore, making a system clone to keep the OS intact is crucial. The OS can be shielded from crashing in case of a virus or malware infection or application or system file corruption. In addition, the OS can suffer data loss from natural calamities.

DoYourData Author

Written & Updated by Darren

Darren is an senior editor at DoYourData. Since 2021, Darren has written 100+ articles about data recovery, Mac file recovery, disk management, disk clone, computer issue fixes, etc. He helps lost of users to recover important data, get the reliable data backup solution, find optimization for PCs and Macs.

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