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How to move Windows to another Drive – A Step-by-Step Guide

There are many instances in which you might require moving your operating system, in most cases the Windows to another hard drive. Figuring out how to move the file will help you ease the process, even if it seems intimidating to a beginner. Rebuilding an operating system can be difficult and complicated which is why this is a better solution.

The step-by-step process of ‘how to move windows to another drive’ can make the process easier to comprehend. It does not exactly work as copying and pasting it where you like. It requires the cloning process, which makes an exact carbon copy of your system. There are many tools that can help you in the process, including your PC itself. Since that’s the easiest and most convenient way to do so on your own, it requires you to follow the procedure thoroughly.

There are two major things to take into account; some precautions you need to take, and some disclaimers you need to be aware of in order to be successful at the process. Let’s take a look at each of the components that are important for the process.

Things you’ll require:

  • Your hard drive, and the replacement hard drive that you need to store/transfer your Windows onto.
  • A USB flash drive that’s expendable to store data
  • A separate storage disk to make sure your backup has enough space
  • The cloning tool. There are several different free online tools and paid options are available as well.

Here are some recommendations for the clone tool you can find online; CloneZilla, Mondo Rescue, Macrium, and Paragon Backup & Recovery Free.


In terms of precautions, there are a few things you should consider before getting started.

  • Make sure your system is not affected by any virus beforehand because the cloning process copies over everything from a system. If you have a virus in your system, it will get copied when an image is formed.
  • If the operating system itself is corrupt for any reason, your data might be hindered on top of the copy being affected. This can vary depending on the damage your system is already under, not always uniform, but it’s better to solve the issue beforehand than run the risk later.
  • Last is not as much of a disclaimer but ensure you have enough space on the new drive so that there are no hindrances once the process starts.


Starting the process might seem intimidating when you have not dealt with many tech-related prompts, but you don’t need to be a professional to do this. Some precautions are necessary to ensure success and make sure you do this properly but you don’t need to be a genius of any sort.

Step 1

On your “This Computer” or “My Computer” option on your system, go to Manage. This is easy if you are familiar and often manage and organize your own computer or solve any minor system issues. This will bring you to a few options, choose Disk Management, from what you are shown.

Usually, in the case that you have already installed the new disk, your windows will automatically detect it on its own. Make sure you do this step before starting on the procedure so as to not have to stop before. If this is already plugged in, the disk management option will automatically detect its format and initialize it. Click okay on the NTFS option to move forward.

Step 2

This point is when you need the clone tool downloaded, therefore, start downloading if you have not. There are already many options, mentioned above, in addition, you can carry out your own research for any particular tools that have features you would like to try.

Additionally, you need a tool that will help you mount the data for boot. Make sure you’re covered in that regard as well so that it can ease the procedure and you don’t have to stop once it’s time to keep the data in the flash drive.

Step 3

The next step in the process of ‘how to move windows to another drive’ requires the USB flash drive. Make sure you are either using a new device or it is empty before you use it. In any other case, plug it in and format it so that you have ample space and there are no overlaps. This will mainly be concerned with the clone tool, as you make the image. Finally, click on My Computer, right-click and go to Manage once again. Here you will be shown the multiple disks on your system. Make sure you know the precise hard drive you want an image of, double-check if you have to. This includes a C drive or any other particular one in use.

Right-click on the specific hard drive that you want and format it to NTFS Quick. End this step by giving it a drive letter. This is one of the main steps, therefore, make sure you don’t mistake the drives and be careful about the steps before and that follow. Now you need a tool that helps you create a live bootable version of your drive.

Step 4

Previously where we used to burn discs for a bootable version, when we still were in the CD and DVD era. That era was helpful in its own way when we had the bootable disc to make sure we had storage options. But it has been a long time since CDs have been out of fashion. Meanwhile, we have USB flash drives to help us in our storage and especially portable storage needs.

In this case, when the storage option is not as basic as copy-pasting, you need a tool that will help create a bootable USB drive. Along with the clone tool, it is important you have a tool to create a live bootable. Whichever clone tool you are using, might have its own tool for this process as well, so make sure you check if that’s an option to avail.

At this point, go to your tool, click on wherever you find ISO in the program. From here find the clone tool live that is currently in process. It will have a live.ISO file, that might be done or might be in process. In case it is in process, let it take its time. Once it is finished, mount it to the flash drive. This is also a point to be extra cautious, make sure the place/location you are mounting it to is the USB flash drive in use. Hit enter once confirmed.

Step 5

This is finally the time you reboot your system. Depending upon different systems, different keys are assigned the BIOS function. Find the key in your system/PC and click on it. Make sure you boot off the USB flash drive as well.

In many common systems, either the windows DEL key or F2 in some cases, find yours regardless. Here you can manually go to the boot system where it is taking place and boot off the USB flash drive. This process will start your clone tool directly. The last few steps will require you to choose the default option and keyboard etc.

It might take a while to finish, depending upon your drive size, speed of the transfer, etc. Make sure you account for this when you start the procedure as well because you cannot use your PC for any other purpose while you are at it.

Once the process is done, you can use the cloned disk wherever you wanted to transfer the drive in the first place. It will work and be in the exact same way it was in the system you are using. This includes any of the files that have viruses, thus the read the disclaimer for precautions before. Ultimately, this is yours to use as you like, you can also keep it somewhere in case you want a backup.

It is important to mention that the above procedure focuses on how to move Windows to another drive, while you can have similar needs with a Mac computer. Make sure you look for Mac-specific guides that focus on the particular operating system. This might have differences in steps as well as the programs/software you use.

This concludes the procedure on how to transfer or move your Windows to another drive safely, on your own, and without making many monetary expenses. This of course is prone to change if you use paid software etc. but that’s completely up to you and what you prefer to work with. Make sure you take proper precautions so your data is safe.

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