One of the quickest and easiest ways of gaining extra performance from a PC is to switch from an older mechanical hard drive to a newer and much faster SSD variant!
In fact, even if you are already using an SSD then there might still be reason to switch a newer SSD, one providing more storage space and making use of the latest technologies such as NVMe which will enhance your PC or Mac even fuhrer!In this guide I will be looking at some of the specialist software which will help in making this migration quick, simple and help mitigate the need for moving files manually or having to re-install Windows which might otherwise be the only way to make use of a newer, faster SSD! Finally, at the end of the guide, you will find some of my top choices for SSD migration software as reviewed here on BestBackupReviews.com, Let’s go!
What is SSD Migration Software
SSD migration software is basically regular disk cloning software which has special provisions for cloning from regular (mechanical) hard disks to the newer generation of super fast solid state hard disks (SSDs).
Disk cloning software itself will allow one hard disk to be copied exactly to another hard disk, this includes not only the users data but also the operating system and any applications which might have been installed upon it as well. Once the process of cloning to a new disk has finished, the newly cloned disk will be an exact replica of the old disk* and can then be used to replace the older disk in the PC (and said PC will then immediately be ready to use with the original Operating system, applications and any user data on the new disk as it was on the old).
* whilst cloning software will replicate the data exactly on the new disk, it can also be configured to make use of and integrate any additional space on the newer disk if available.
When cloning disks to SSD disks, Specialist disk cloning software is needed due to the way that SSD drives operate, store and (crucially) delete data, as such, when wanting to migrate away form an older style mechanical drive (or even an older SSD) to a new SSD drive you will need such cloning software to make this task possible.
What is the alternative to SSD Migration Software
Without special SSD migration software the only ways to migrate your system to a newer SSD drive would be to re-install your operating system from scratch using the new SSD drive or make use of an image backup using backup software which supports recovering to dissimilar hardware.
When considering re-installing your operating system (e.g. Windows), such a measure would also involve re-installing all of your applications, moving over your user data from the old disk to the new and then configuring the system as it was before manually. This is, of course, a very time consuming process and runs the risk that you might never get the system exactly how it was before due to software installers or licence keys going missing or becoming deactivated in the process (some software is licenced to a specific PC only once).
If you make use of system image backups then these could also form an alternative to the use of cloning software, an alternative which could possibly involve booting your PC via some recovery media and then restoring form the latest available image backup to the new SSD disk now installed into the machine.
Whilst this recovery method is a possibility, it should be noted that a lot of backup software which supports system image backups also features specialist disk cloning modules as well. With this in mind, this recovery method probably shouldn’t be used whenever this cloning based alternative is available.
Look out for Free SSD Migration Software
Whenever you purchase a new SSD drive you might also be eligible for some free SSD migration software provided by the disk manufacturer themselves (usually available as a download form said manufacturers support website when applicable). Such software is a great way to get your entire system migrated over to your new SSD drive in the fastest and most cost effective way!
Although such software is free to use, there are still some important things to be aware of! For example, such software is usually locked in such a way that it only supports migrating to said manufacturers hardware and is usually set-up in such a way that it cant be used for anything else except the migration itself (meaning it isn’t ideal for larger projects, backups, archiving etc.).
As such, if you simply want to migrate your drive and nothing else then this is a good option however, if your SSD manufacturer doesn’t provide such software or you want more features (such as the ability to store an image file of the old disk as a backup) then you will need to look at some more professional SSD cloning software.
What Happens after SSD Migration Finishes
When you have finished migrating from your old hard drive to your newer SSD drive there is, unfortunately, still some work to do before your migration is finalised!
Firstly, after cloning has completed, you will need to ensure that your system is now booting from the newly cloned SSD drive as opposed to the older drive which the data has been copied from. The easiest way to do this is by simply opening up your PC case (after switching it off and disconnecting the power) and then physically removing the old disk drive from the PC entirely, this way you can be assured it is only the new disk which is being used at this point going forwards!
The main problem with removing the old disk is that it is (of course) no longer usable by the PC any more! Many older disks which are replaced are still perfectly usable and often make for useful secondary disks useful for storing large files such as photos and videos which would otherwise take up valuable space on the new disk.
If you do want to keep you old drive installed and make use of it as a secondary drive then you must tell your PC to boot into the new SSD drive and (preferably) then re-format the old drive to regain the full allocation of storage space back.
This process begins in your PCs BIOS (or UEFI) system, here you can set the boot order which tells you system which disk drive to boot from first, second and so on until a working operating system is available. It is here that we would tell the PC to boot form the newly migrated SSD drive (although many PC manufacturers have their own BIOS / UEFI system so you will need to look up the specific instructions for doing this for your own model of PC).
After updating the PC to boot from the new SSD disk drive, the next step would be to reclaim the disk space form the old disk by deleting any old operating system partitions and then fully re-formatting it. The Windows Disk Management tool will allow all of this to be done up to and including re-assigning the newly formatted drive a drive letter to be used within Windows.
Once formatting has completed and the drive letter is set, this drive will be usable in within Windows just like any other disk drive might be (e.g. an external hard drive).
Our Favourite SSD Migration Software
In this final section is listed some of our favourite SSD Migration software as per the reviews made here at BestBackupReviews.com.
As was mentioned a little earlier on, if all you require is basic SSD migration software then you might first want to check your SSD manufacturers website and see if they have any free offerings available for this task. If you want something much more than just basic SSD migration, such as full system image backups, advanced encryption and compression options and the ability to save a cloned drive as an image file, then some of these professional software tools listed below should better suit.
1. MiniTool Partition Wizard (Free)
MiniTool Partition Wizard is a free to use disk cloning and disk partition management tool which runs within Windows. It features a full suite of tools with one of the most important being the disk cloning tool which fully supports SSD migration.
This means with Partition Wizard you can clone your existing hard disk and the software will automatically resize and (if necessary) optimise for use with an SSD when applicable. A great disk cloning solution made even better by the fact it is free!
Click Here to download MiniTool Partition Wizard for free!
2. EaseUS Partition Master Professional
Partition Master Professional is an impressive disk cloning and disk management tool from EaseUS. The cloning of both individual partitions and entire disks is made easy thanks to the specialised cloning tool on offer. This tool allows for any cloned disks (or partitions) to be automatically resized to accommodate a larger target disk and (if necessary) automatically optimised for use on with SSD drives.
Finally, in addition to disk cloning some other great tools are included such as a secure drive cleaning tool, file system and disk surface integrity checking tools and secure wiping tools to permanently erase an entire partition or disk.
EaseUS Partition Master can be obtained form the official EaseUS website!
3. Macrium Reflect 8 Home
Macrium Reflect 8 Home is a solid piece of backup software which places a clear emphasis on creating image based backups whilst providing the necessary tools to manage and make the most from them.
Amongst this additional functionality are tools for easily cloning an existing drive over to a new SSD drive alongside the ability to image a disk and save it as an image file.
A free version also exists should you only require the more basic parts of the application (including SSD migration)
Macrium also offer a 30 day free trial of Reflect 8 Home.
4. Acronis True Image 2021
Acronis has become a market leader in the backup and disk imaging world in recent years and rightly so, with True Image 2021 they have continued to refine their flagship backup offering and it continues to impress!
One of the biggest selling points of True Image is, aside form the core backup application, is that it includes a full suite of supplementary system tools including a specialist disk cloning tool which is suitable for cloning to both mechanical and SSD hard disks.
Acronis offer a 30 day free trial of True Image 2021 including a trial of their excellent cloud storage, Click Here to find out more!
5. AOMEI Partition Assistant (Free)
AOMEI Partition Assistant is a free and easy to use disk management utility featuring many free disk management tools.
Containing many useful features including disk partitioning tools, data recovery tools, secure data wiping tools and of course tools for cloning entire hard drives Partition Assistant is a great addition to any PC. Included within this offering are some great disk cloning tools which make cloning disks and partitions easy by automatically resizing partitions and (if necessary) optimising for SSDs during the cloning process.
AOMEI Partition Assistant can be downloaded for free by Clicking Here!
6. Paragon Migrate OS
* Now a part of Paragon Hard Disk manager
Migrate OS is the professional disk cloning software from Paragon, a company with a solid reputation for producing PC imaging and utility software including the excellent Hard Disk Manager suite!
Focused on providing a professional set of migration features, including the ability to migrate an SSD drive and migrate a live system which is in use, Migrate OS is the tool to turn to if you ned more than the more basic cloning offerings form other providers.
You can find out more about Paragon Migrate OS by Clicking Here!