I have a laptop and a main pc.

The laptop has an old 1TB HDD installed. The HDD is split into 2 partitions. The first partition is the OS partition and the second has a lot of work on it and is mostly full. The laptop has slowed down in recent years, and I want to migrate the OS from the laptop onto an SSD. The SSD is much smaller than the HDD, spanning only 240GB.

On my main PC I have AOMEI Backupper and Partition Assistant installed. I had used them previously to migrate my OS from my old SSD to a new M.2.

I removed the HDD from the laptop and connected it to my main pc and proceeded to clone the OS partition of the HDD onto the SSD. I tried hooking the new SSD up to my laptop and started getting PXE errors and the computer kept booting into recovery mode, not allowing me into windows at all. Changed the BIOS from legacy to UEFI and couldn't boot at all as it wasn't detecting any boot media. Changed back to legacy and plugged in the old HDD and it's working again.

Is there a way to clone the larger HDD without my data partition onto the SSD using my main PC so that I can retain the windows digital license on it, without using any external hardware? I don't have another license for AOMEI Backupper and Partition Assistant and would prefer not getting other copies for the old HDD as they're quite expensive for me.

Edit: If not clear, I'm using my main PC to clone the OS partition from the Laptop HDD onto the SSD

  • I think you should not clone the system partition alone, but the whole disk (including the leading EFI partition, etc...). But since the target disk is smaller than the source disk you need a smart cloning software to do that. I don't know what AOMEI can do or not, I have done such a thing with Macrium Relfect Free: when cloning from one disk to another you can select the partitions to include in the clone, and you can even resize them on the target disk (and you can do that on your laptop PC, assuming you have a USB<->SATA cable for the SSD)
    – PierU
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 9:20
  • I do not have a usb to sata cable. I don't intend to buy one. I just need to know how I can use one computer to clone a second computer's HDD's OS partition onto an SSD. I'm not willing to get rid of the data from the data partition of my HDD.
    – Chamkey
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 9:38
  • OK, you can do what I have described on your main PC if you prefer.
    – PierU
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 9:50
  • @PierU How do I do that?
    – Chamkey
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 10:03
  • What is unclear for you in my first comment above?
    – PierU
    Commented Feb 5, 2023 at 12:49


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .