Okay, so I currently have a 4 TB HDD split into 2 partitions, one of which is my C:\ drive. I run Windows 10, and have lots of programs installed. I also have a 250 GB SSD as a secondary drive, but I want to make a fresh install of Windows 10 on it, to use as my boot drive. I plan to install (keep?) most of my programs and games on my HDD.

The question is, since few of my programs are portable, must I backup the settings (with something like CloneApp) and reinstall the programs one-by-one, or could I just keep them on the HDD and somehow make the new Windows installation detect them? I have 770 GB of software [and that's just in the C:\Program and C:\Program (x86) folders]. Reinstalling it all would take a very long time.

Thanks in advance!

  • Use 3rd party software to image the W10 partition (s), then apply that image to the SSD – Moab Jun 16 '18 at 12:30
  • How do you do that? Is there any specific software you recommend? – Affe Nowu Jun 16 '18 at 12:35
  • Have you tried using Clonezilla? It's the preferred method for me having done this before. – Myles Jun 18 '18 at 13:01
  • I ended up doing a clean install anyway. Good to know for the future, though! – Affe Nowu Jun 18 '18 at 14:37

Your biggest issue is going to be the registry, half of the benefit of a fresh install is clean registry. You can backup c:\users\myusername and put those files back after the fresh install.

You can even junction(mklink /j) c:\program files and c:\program files (x86) back to your hard drive. You will have to boot windows from the installation disk go to command prompt and create the junction without windows running. Otherwise it is a protected folder.

However you would need to extract the relevant registry entries for each software package. If all your programs are part of CloneApp great, but this is like not the case.

You would have to monitor the installation of each program with something like sandboxie or process monitor. Either way its a lot of work.

You could export HKEY_USER, HKEY_CLASS_ROOT,HKEY_CURRENT_USER, and part of HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, but then your just dragging all the dead weight with you. You lose some of the benefit of a fresh install, the more you directly import the worse it is.

Now, if you re-install the programs and this time monitor the registry next time you will be prepared. However, this is a very time consuming effort.


It is always advised, that when moving from HDD to SSD, one will reinstall Windows on SSD, beacuse Windows has some settings "knowing" that it runs from SSD and behaves then faster.

This is much work to do what you need if you want to move the apps to HDD and system to SSD. You would have to change installation paths in registry for all apps. This is nearly impossible.


Disk clone allows you to copy all the content on a disk to another one in the easiest way. And you might be required to clone hard drive in many situations, for example, when you want to create a bootable CD/DVD or USB disk or upgrade hard drive to a newer or larger hard disk, you might need to clone HDD to transfer the whole contents of your hard drive. Especially when the hard drive contains system, you can't just drag and drop files in Windows to the new drive, because just copying and pasting Windows files will result in system unbootable from new hard drive.

To copy or clone hard drive, you should first figure out that a third party disk clone software is neccessary. Here, EaseUS Windows backup software, a professional backup software with powerful disk clone feature is recommended. The program can do a perfect job to clone hard drive by copying your entire hard drive to another with either fast file-by-file copy or sector-by-sector copy. And it also offers safe hard drive disk copy/clone solution to transfer your data on the old disk to a new one, backup system such as clone system disk Windows 10 or image hard drive in case of computer crash or system failure.

  • download and install - http://download.easeus.com/
  • launch it and click Clone option to clone hard drive.
  • select source HDD you want to clone and then click Next in the Disk/Partition Clone windows
  • select the destination disk and then click Next
  • under Advanced options, Sector by sector clone option enables you to clone all sectors from source disk to destination disk
  • preview the disk layout and click "Proceed" to clone hard drive
  • done

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side note: its always better to make clean install then clone

  • How exactly would one benefit from a clean install? – Affe Nowu Jun 16 '18 at 14:04
  • @AffeNowu windows tends to create "junk files" that will be re-cloned on the new drive. such files can cause overal slowdown of whole system especialy when it comes to clone from clasic HDD to SDD. If you have both (new and old) drives same and your OS runs flawlessly, you are good to clone your drives – gamer0 Jun 16 '18 at 22:47

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