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  • How to Move an Installed Windows to a Larger Disk

Note: This procedure is applicable to HDDs, too, but if you want to move Windows from an HDD (which is usually larger) to an SSD (which is usually smaller), read our article "How to Move the Already Installed Windows from an Old HDD to a New SSD Device and Create a Hybrid Data Storage System".

When SSD devices were becoming the go-to system storage devices, they featured relatively smaller capacity and higher prices when compared with traditional, mechanical hard drives. Now, however, larger SSD devices are becoming more and more affordable. As such, more and more computer users are starting to think about swapping their current SSD devices out for larger ones.

But there's one problem that may keep many users from doing so - a new SSD device requires Windows and the other programs installed to make the new system functional. Windows may be installed from scratch, as well as the programs, but this may be a very long procedure. However, there's another way - to move your already installed and working system to a new SSD device; which may be more preferable for many cases. This article will explain how to do that using our disk cloning, data backup, and partition managing program, R-Drive Image.

By the way, you don't need to buy this program immediately. It has a one-month trial period, during which it performs all its tasks without requiring registration.

In this article, we assume that you've already downloaded and installed R-Drive Image on your system.

Some information and advice before we begin:
Changing SSD devices requires some skill in working with computer hardware, primarily for disks with the modern m2 interface. Consult corresponding manuals for safety guidelines if in doubt.

We also strongly recommend you to backup all your personal files in case something does go wrong. Regular data backup is always a good practice, and our R-Drive Image is exactly intended for that.

As an example, we'll move Windows 10 from an old 128GB SSD device to a new 256GB one.

A disk layout for a typical Windows installation
To see the disk layout on your computer, click on "Computer Management" and head to "Disk Management."

A typical Windows disk layout consists of three partitions:
A disk layout for a typical Windows installation
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  • Startup partition - your system starts by reading data and executing commands from this partition. It should remain exactly on the same place, otherwise Windows will not start.
  • Next is the Windows partition - where Windows system files, your programs, and data reside.
  • The last partition is the Recovery partition. Windows will try to recover itself when it gets corrupted.

Moving Windows to the new SSD device
This procedure is for system partitions without BitLocker encryption. See our article, "How to Move a BitLocker-Encrypted System Disk to a New Storage Device" if your system partition is encrypted.

1. Connect the new SSD device to your computer. Depending on the interface of the new SSD device, you can do that through a SATA/m2 port, or a USB adapter.

You may want to go to Disk Management to see that the new SSD device is visible to your system. From now on, we'll refer to the SSD devices as "disks", because Windows and R-Drive Image don't make the distinction between SSDs and HDDs at this level.
New disk in the system
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A pop-up window may appear asking you to initialize the new disk. You don't need to do that. Instead, just click the Cancel button.

2. Close Computer Management, start R-Drive Image, and click Copy Disk.
Action Selection panel
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Inspect the layout of the old disk. It should contain the startup partition, the Windows partition (the system disk), and the recovery partition. The startup partition should remain at the very beginning of the disk with the recovery partition at the very end of the disk. As such, we will need to extend the Windows partition to cover all the remaining place of the new disk.

3. Drag the old disk (Source) to the new disk (Destination).
Dragging the old disk to the new disk
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4. The "Copy options" window will appear.
Copy options window
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Select "Copy all partitions onto original places (copy as is)" on the "Copy method" tab.

5. Verify that the "Same signature for both disk options" is selected on the "Disk signature collision" tab and click the OK button.
Disk signature collision window
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6. Drag the recovery partition to the rightmost place on the diagram.
The recovery partition
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7. Click the right edge of the Windows partition, hold the mouse button, and extend the partition up to the recovery partition.
The Windows partition
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8. Verify that the final layout is correct and click the Next button.
Final layout
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There may appear to be some small free space after the recovery partition. This is not an error. R-Drive Image may align the partition according to characteristics of the disk.

9. Verify that all information on the "Total operation list" panel is correct and click the Start button.
Total operation list panel
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* R-Drive Image will start copying the data from the old disk to the new one while displaying the progress.
Data copying progress
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* When this process is over, R-Drive Image will show the "Disk copied successfully" message.
Data copying progress
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10. Turn off your computer and replace the old disk with the new one. Then turn your computer on and wait for Windows to start.

You may want to go to Disk Management to verify that the new system disk occupies the entirety of the new SSD device - except for the startup and recovery partitions, of course.
New Windows partition in the system
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And that's all. Now you have the entire Windows system, your programs, and files moved to the new SSD device.

Drive Image Feedback
68 feedbacks
Rating: 4.6 / 5
I played with the free trial little realising that my saved image would come to the rescue several months later. I immediately purchased some licences and restored my system with ease. I am most satisfied with R-Drive. I like its clean and simple interface - it makes things easy.
I have been using R-Drive for many years, I trust my data to nothing else. The latest version has enabled me to do things I didn`t think possible in just a couple of clicks. Thanks r-tools!
Is there an ISO available for download so we can restore even though we no longer have a working Windows 10 machine anywhere in the building?
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