SSD upgrade really improves performance. An SSD increases load, load times and reduces power consumption (how SSDs work). Flaw : smaller capacity. Regardless, the trade-off more than makes up for the reduced capacity. But how can you fit a large Windows installation on a tiny SSD?

Unlock your FREE «Ultimate Windows Keyboard Shortcuts» cheat sheet now!

This will subscribe you to our newsletter

Enter your email address
Read our privacy policy

It’s simple. Windows users can upgrade from an HDD to an SSD with just a few software and hardware tools. The whole process should take about 15 minutes of labor — and several hours of waiting.

The things you need

The migration process requires the following components:

  • SSD capacity at least 32 GB. 64 GB or more recommended.
  • A backup drive, preferably an external USB drive, with a larger capacity than the main hard drive.
  • Macrium Reflect Free Edition — Download Macrium Reflect .
  • A freshly formatted USB flash drive or a blank CD/DVD.

Which SSD Should You Buy?

As of 2016, there are three common types of SSDs: SATA, M.2, and Mini-PCIe. It may seem strange at first, but almost all laptops use the SATA standard. Most ultrabooks (what is an ultrabook?) use the M.2 standard. A small number of older netbooks (what is a netbook? in a netbook) use the mini-PCIe form factor. For the most part, your laptop is probably using a SATA connector. Here’s what it looks like:

Samsung SSD

All laptop SATA drives are 2.5″ form factor which means they are 2.5″ wide. Their thickness varies from 7 mm to 9 mm. What you need to know : All 7mm SSDs will fit in any SATA compatible laptop with a spacer. But a 9mm SSD will only fit a device with enough clearance to support 9mm.

There are two kinds of SSDs I recommend buying right now: the Samsung 850 EVO series — which delivers performance and value — or the Silicon Power S55 series which costs around 20 cents per gigabyte.

Step One: Install Macrium Reflect

The SSD migration process once required three different pieces of software: one program made a backup, another reduced partition sizes, and a third copied data to the SSD. The complexity of using the three programs caused a high error rate. Now one program is required: Macrium Reflect. Macrium’s Reflect backup utility does it all. It creates a backup image of the host system and then compresses it by copying it to the target SSD. First, you need to install it.

The installation process is simple. After downloading the installer, double click ReflectDL.exe . The executable then downloads and installs Macrium Reflect. View the next few menus and accept the Macrium licensing terms.

Use the default installation options and download the Windows PE files that allow you to create bootable media. The download process takes about 10 minutes and requires about 530 MB of data. Reflect then creates a Windows PE boot image.


At this stage you must to plug to the computer two devices : USB stick or CD/DVD and external drive . Then run Macrium Reflect .

On first launch, you will see a prompt to create bootable media, either on a USB stick or CD/DVD. Just make sure you select USB stick or CD/DVD as your target. Keep in mind that a recovery drive or USB will only work on the computer it was created on.

macrium reflect the creation of rescue media

Once you’ve created bootable media, take some precautions before copying your data to the SSD. Since SSDs are often smaller than HDDs, you need to remove unnecessary files. Windows 10 itself takes up 16 GB for 32-bit systems and 20 GB for 64 GB systems (the difference between 32-bit and 64-bit), so you may need to delete some files.

Step Two: Delete Unwanted Files

At this point, you need to reduce the amount of data stored on your hard drive to match the size of your SSD. For example, if you purchased a 120 GB SSD and your hard drive contains 200 GB of data, you need to delete at least 80 GB — although I recommend deleting as much data as possible.

We’ve written extensively about reducing the number of Windows installations. . Best Windows Cleanup Methods usually revolve around WinDirStat, CCleaner and some other tools. I suggest just using WinDirStat and the Windows «Disk Cleanup» utility. WinDirStat helps you determine where unwanted files exist on your hard drive. Disk Cleanup helps remove system files that WinDirStat might not be able to remove.


WinDirStat visually displays the data stored on the disk. For example, my hard drive shows the following:

windirstats results from my hard drive

Colored squares and rectangles represent blocks of data. The colors reflect the file type. The larger the block, the more space to store it. Users should be extremely careful when deleting files. To delete a file, right-click on it and select » Delete» in the context menu.

Windows Disk Cleanup

Windows Disk Cleanup offers the most useful tool to clean up your hard drive. In addition to clearing various caches caches caches Disk Cleanup also cleans up leftovers from previous Windows installations (how to clean up). Be careful : Remove Windows.old rules out ability to roll back to an older installation.

windows 10 disk cleanup

Delete restore points

Windows creates frequent backups of the operating system. Sometimes they can take up a lot of space. If you have no other choice, try deleting some restore points. The following describes how to use Windows 10 System Restore. restore

Enable Compact OS

This step is optional. With Windows 10, Microsoft introduced a compact diagram called CompactOS. On average, a compact OS reduces the size of the operating system from 1.6 to 2.6 GB (or more). It also allows users to completely eliminate the recovery partition, which takes up at least 4 GB of disk space. To enable the compact OS, open an elevated command prompt by typing «cmd» in Windows Search. Then right click on command line .

elevated command prompt windows 10

Using the command line, enter the following:

  Compact / CompactOS: всегда 

This will activate the compact OS.

Step Three: Create a Backup with Macrium Reflect

Now you can back up Windows. Since you have already connected an external hard drive, you just need to launch Macrium Reflect and select » Create a backup» in the center panel. Then select Image of this disc at the bottom.


First, make sure you have selected (by checking the box) the required «partitions». A section is a data segment that contains data. Each block represents a section of your hard drive. All sections should be selected by default, but if you find a section that shouldn’t be there (something to the right of C: might not be what you want), you can remove it, not by checking the box.

Second, select folder . This option should be selected by default.

Third, click on three dots to the right of the folder. Select an external drive as the backup destination.

Fourth, and finally choose Ready, to start the backup process.


Step Four: Remove the Hard Drive and Insert the SSD

For most users, this step should be the easiest. Just remove the hard drive and insert the SSD. Matt Smith wrote a great article on physically removing a hard drive. and replace it with an SSD.

ssd-error-signs-drive symptoms

Step five: restore the backup

Now restart your computer. Choose to boot from a flash drive or CD/DVD. This boots the Macrium Reflect recovery image — instead of Windows. Go to tab » Recovery ‘ at the top and select ‘ Browse» for the recovery image file… Then select the external drive and select the backup image of your operating system.

macrium reflect restore image

Choose to copy all data to the destination SSD by dragging each partition onto the SSD. In less than an hour, you should have a fully functional version of Windows installed. If you’re worried about the hibernation file or the swap file, don’t worry. Macrium Reflect automatically deletes both files and resizes all partitions to fit on the SSD. This is really well designed software.

Anyone else love switching to an SSD? Let us know about it in the comments.

Похожие записи