I have a normal few months old (IBuyPower brand - awesome) desktop style PC in a full size case.

It has totally normal, fully licensed etc Windows10 as purchased at a big box retailer. FTR I keep it absolutely up to date using the excellent "Update" features in W10.

Surprisingly it has a historic platter drive so I would like to pop in an SSD.

I love Windows but as a mainly Mac developer I have little/no understanding of things like licensing on Windows.

In short

  • Is there a way to "completely move" everything to the new hard drive, so that, I can just turn it on and I will still be completely logged-in everywhere, etc etc.

(On Mac you'd use a certain drive cloner or the like.) (Well, in the days when you could replace a drive on a Mac!)

Failing that, or perhaps easier,

I keep the machine very lean, so there's really no "personal files" to lose or the like. If I did have to reinstall Windows10 from scratch, I'd simply click to download again a few environments like VS etc and that would be fine. So, alternately

  • if the above is a bit hard, is there a way to take out the current drive, throw it away, put in a new SSD, and somehow get Windows10 going again (presumably with my license etc?)

Is either of these two possible?

Ideally the first but the latter would get me by, also, thanks.

  • 1
    Why can't you just clone the drive to the SSD? Windows activation is not linked to the drive. There are tons of questions with answers that describe the cloning process of a HDD to a SSD.
    – Ramhound
    Nov 23, 2020 at 20:10
  • Hmm; so something like "Ease US" is a reliable choice ?
    – Fattie
    Nov 23, 2020 at 20:19
  • 1
    No, but take a look at the answers to some of those questions. Likely candidates will be CloneZilla, or these superuser.com/a/519055/603073 Nov 23, 2020 at 20:23
  • @Fattie Here is the most obvious duplicate
    – Ramhound
    Nov 28, 2020 at 19:13

3 Answers 3


As at all points you still have a fully-functioning HD, you can try/fail as many times as it needs. Most people tend to approach this only after they broke something ;)

A lot of SSDs come with cloning software (usually Windows only, of course), Samsung definitely. Try that first if it's available to you from the manufacturer's site.

Alternatively, Paragon's Hard Disk Manager can clone Win disks on a Mac, though I've only ever used it for older BIOS-based machines, even on Win10, never tried more modern EFI machines. Carbon Copy Cloner will clone the data but it doesn't know how to set up the partitions, Paragon does.

Before you start, grab a spare 16GB USB stick & make a Win10 installer from MS media creation tool https://www.microsoft.com/software-download/windows10ISO (you need to go there on a PC, it redirects Mac) If all else fails, you can start afresh with that… but at all points you still have the original working HD, so that's just belt & braces.

Your entitlement to Win 10 will carry over automatically. No user intervention required.

  • 1
    fantastic info - great tip about samung, thx
    – Fattie
    Nov 24, 2020 at 12:00

If you have an external drive to make an image and a Pendrive, Clonezilla is your way to go.

With Clonezilla you can make a disk image that preserves all partitions an write it to the external drive. Then you only have to boot with the Clonezilla pendrive you create earlier to make an image and restore your Windows image in your new SSD. You always have your original disk so no risk to break anything, and the result is a perfectly cloned disk.

I use this in my work everyday to replace old disks. Just follow the official tutorial and you will be in good hands:


I just want to add that Samsung cloning software is truly reliable, so if yopur disk is a Samsung that is a very good option. If it's another SSD I really really recommend the Clonezilla way.


I have tried the various Linux variants (i.e Clonezilla, Partimage), however, for what you have described the easiest / fastest solution is the Apricorn EZGig Solution. It will provide you exactly the results you have requested: everything is the same, except the hard drive is bigger.


When you factor in the cost of your time and how long it takes to learn Clonezilla, I fell this is the better choice / solution.

  • fantastic info, thanks. I noticed "EaseUS" seems popular? Sorry for this, hope you guys need to clone a Mac drive one day :) (Not that they can be accessed :) )
    – Fattie
    Nov 28, 2020 at 19:16
  • If you choose to try the Apricorn solution, please indicate this in a comment and the results. It really does not get any easier than this and the results are fast.
    – gatorback
    Nov 28, 2020 at 19:19

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