How to install Windows 10 on SSD: Convinced by your trusted “technological” friends, you have finally managed to purchase an SSD to be installed on your computer, so as to speed it up a bit, thanks to the best reading and writing performance that disks of this type are able to offer respect to classic mechanical discs. The problem, however, is that now you have no idea how to proceed to make your new purchase operational: how to mount it on your computer? How to make it work? But above all, how to install Windows 10 on SSD ?
If you are looking for a guide that can answer all these questions, then I am happy to inform you that you have found it! Below, in fact, I will explain by wire and by sign how to put the SSD unit you purchased to work: first, I will show you how to connect the new disk to the computer, and then proceed with the explanations relating to the installation of the Microsoft operating system. In addition, I will take care of explaining how to fully clone the old disk to SSD and, finally, I will show you how to install Windows 10 on an external SSD.
How do you say? Just can’t wait to get started? Perfect, then do not wait a moment longer and read carefully everything I have to say on the subject: I am sure that, once you have finished reading this guide, you will be perfectly able to make your new disc work. I can guarantee that the computer will thank you!
How to install Windows 10 on new SSD
Have you decided to replace your “old” mechanical disk with a new generation SSD , with the firm intention of using it as a primary disk? Then carefully follow the instructions that I am going to give you below: first, I will explain how to install the new storage medium on your computer, then how to proceed with the installation “ex novo” of the operating system or with the cloning of the contents of the old hard disk. Happy reading and good luck for everything!
Mount SSD in the PC
To install a new SSD in your computer, without touching the mechanical disk already present, you must first obtain a new SATA cable , an additional power cable and, in some cases, also a 3.5 “frame to be applied to the case (so as to to be able to correctly insert the SSD into the slots designed to hold the mechanical disks, which are much larger in terms of physical dimensions). If you do not have them, you can purchase a “pre-packaged” kit for connecting a new SSD to the PC like what I propose below.
If, on the other hand, you intend to completely replace the old mechanical disk (in case, for example, it has broken), you will most likely be able to use the SATA cable and the power cable previously connected to the mechanical hard disk, purchasing instead the only frame.
Once you have obtained the necessary, fix the SSD to the chassis using the screws provided, disassemble the computer case (after disconnecting it from the mains ), then insert the chassis in one of the slots of the case designed to contain hard disks and optical readers and screw them in using the larger screws.
Afterwards, if you have decided to place the solid state drive next to the existing one, take the new SATA cable , connect one end to the SSD and the other to the motherboard, then use one of the power cables that “pop up “from the computer power supply (or a new cable, if you have a modular power supply) to supply the disk with electricity.
When you are done, mount the case again, connect the power cable, turn on the computer and check that the disk is correctly detected by the operating system.
If, on the other hand, you intend to add a second SSD to a notebook , the matter is slightly complicated: except for the very high-end laptops, they are designed to accommodate only one disk at a time. But, if you really don’t want to give up having two discs at the same time, you can remove the DVD burner , if any, and install the SSD in its place, using a special 2.5 “disc caddy .
After installing the SSD inside the caddy, however, you will necessarily have to disassemble the notebook, remove the optical reader from the inside and place the caddy in place of the latter. If you have never carried out such an operation before, do not hesitate to ask the help of a relative, friend or expert technician who is able to complete the replacement without causing damage.
If you need additional help on the steps to be followed to install a new SSD in your computer , or to replace the hard disk with an SSD , I invite you to refer to the specific guides that I have dedicated to these topics.
Install Windows 10 on internal SSD
Once you have completed the “assembly” of the new SSD, you can finally “start it up” by installing a copy of Windows inside it. In this chapter of the tutorial, I will explain how to install Windows 10 on an internal SSD from scratch (therefore without pre-existing programs or drivers). If, on the other hand, you want to clone the existing installation of Windows 10 on SSD, you can use the steps indicated in the immediately following section .
First, get a USB stick or a DVD containing a copy of Windows 10 : if you don’t already have it, connect to this website and click on the Download the tool now button to get the Microsoft media creation utility.
When the download is complete, start the program obtained (eg MediaCreationTool1903.exe ), accept the Microsoft license conditions by clicking on the appropriate button, then affix the check mark next to the option Create installation media (USB flash drive, DVD or ISO file for another PC , click on the Next button and check that the selected options ( Language, Edition and Architecture ) are consistent with what you want to achieve.
Otherwise, remove the check mark from the item Use the recommended options for this PC and use the appropriate drop-down menus to choose the version of the operating system you prefer.
When you are done, click on the Next button and indicate whether to create a USB flash drive or to download the ISO file to be burned to disc later. Once you have selected the option you prefer, press the Next button : if you have chosen to create the USB drive, select the latter from the list of available drives and, aware that the files inside it will be deleted , click on the Next button , to start creating the installation media.
If you had opted to download the ISO image, however, you must wait until the file is completely downloaded to your computer. When this happens, all you have to do is burn it to DVD using the program you prefer; if you don’t know how to do it, you can consult my guide dedicated to burning ISO files , in which I have provided you with all the necessary information.
For more information on the Windows 10 download procedure, I invite you to consult my specific guide dedicated to the topic .
Note : if you have already installed and activated Windows 10 on your PC, you will not need to get a new serial code, as this will be “read” by the motherboard that was combined with your previous copy. Otherwise, you will have to buy a valid Product Key to proceed with the activation of the operating system: I explained how to do it in my tutorial dedicated to the purchase of Windows 10 .
Once you’ve got everything you need, you need to set your PC to boot from USB or DVD (depending on the installation medium you have chosen): to do so, enter the computer ‘s UEFI and change the boot order of the devices. You can access UEFI in the following way: right click on the Start button (the Windows flag placed in the lower left corner of the screen), choose the Settings item from the proposed menu and click on the Update and security icon attached to the new screen that opens.
Then, click on the Start item (on the left), then on the Restart now button located in the Advanced Startup box and, when the menu with the restart options appears, select the Troubleshooting icon , then the Advanced Options icon and thereafter, UEFI firmware settings . Finally, click on the Restart button and wait for the PC to restart.
If you do not succeed in this way, the PC may instead be equipped with the classic BIOS : in this case, you must restart the computer and, as soon as the first power-up screen appears, repeatedly press the button to access the BIOS settings, which usually corresponds to F2, F10 or Del .
In any case, when you arrive in the configuration panel, go to the Boot / Start section and set the USB device or DVD player as the first boot device: in this way, the PC will boot from the Windows installation media that you have created in previously. Next, set the SSD disk as the second boot drive , leaving the old disk instead as the “last choice”. Once this is done, connect the USB stick or insert the Windows DVD into the computer, then save the settings and wait for the PC to restart again.
For further information on the steps to be taken to access UEFI / BIOS and to act on the settings of the configuration panels, I refer you to my tutorial on how to enter the BIOS .
If everything went in the right direction, shortly after starting the PC, you should see a message inviting you to press a key to start from USB / DVD : therefore, perform this operation and wait for all of them to be loaded into memory the files needed to start a fresh Windows installation (may take a few minutes).
Once the files have been uploaded, you should be able to see the Windows installation screen: indicate the language , time format and keyboard layout to use, click on the Next and Install buttons , enter the Product Key in the appropriate text box and click the Next button . If you don’t have one (if, for example, your copy of Windows is “tied” to the motherboard), click on the item I don’t have a product key .
Subsequently, if necessary, choose the version of Windows you want to install, based on the license you have, click again on the Next button , put the check mark next to the item I accept the license conditions , click again on Next and then click on the Custom voice : install Windows only to access advanced installation options.
In the next window, select the SSD drive on which you intend to install Windows: if you have not previously formatted the disk, it should appear as Unallocated space . If you can’t recognize the new disk “on the fly”, I suggest you take a look at the columns Total size , Available space (which, for an empty SSD, should be identical to the total size, or at most different than some MB) and Type (for a disk that does not contain an operating system, this column is usually empty).
Once the SSD unit on which to install Windows is identified, click on the relevant item, then on the Next button and you’re done: the program will install the Windows operating system on the SSD, restarting, when necessary, the computer.
After installation is complete, if everything went the right way, is expected to start the new copy of Windows: at this stage, you must do to adjust the privacy settings , the of Cortana settings , the network settings and finally associate a Microsoft account to the system (or create a new local user), using the wizards proposed on the screen.
Note : if the new copy of Windows 10 does not start but the one already existing on the “old” disk, access the UEFI / BIOS settings again and set the SSD unit as the first boot device.
When you’re done, you should have a fully functional new copy of Windows available; as a final step, I recommend that you update the installed drivers wherever possible, following the steps that I have described in my guide to updating the drivers .
Clone Windows 10 to SSD
If, however, you intend to create a mirror copy of your current disk on the newly installed solid state drive, you can clone the hard disk using the free EaseUS Todo Backup Free program . After connecting to the software website, click on the Download for free button , type an email address in the box that appears, click on the Try Todo Backup Free item and, on the next page, click on the Download item (corresponding to the Free column ).
When the download is complete, start the downloaded file (e.g. tb-free.exe ) and click on the Next, Accept , Next buttons for two more consecutive times and, to end the setup and start the program immediately, on the Finish button . If the software does not start automatically, you can recall it using the icon added to the Windows Start menu .
The first time you start the software, you should see a screen indicating the differences between the free and paid versions of the program: to proceed without purchasing any license and access the main screen of the software, click on the item Later located at the bottom right.
Once in the new window, click on the ☰ button located at the top left, then on the Clone system item , residing in the menu that opens, then check that the current disk in use is indicated at the top of the screen (the one containing the copy Windows you want to clone) and put the check mark next to the name of the SSD placed at the bottom, to set it as the destination drive.
Then, click on the Advanced Options button located at the bottom, affix the check mark next to the item Optimize for SSD and click on the OK button to apply the change. Finally, start the disk cloning process by clicking on the Proceed button , remembering that the data already present on the SSD will be deleted : keep in mind that this operation could last even several hours, depending on the size of the disks involved and the power of computer processing.
Note : I do not recommend using the computer for other operations during the copy phase, in order to avoid the creation of new files and the consequent prolongation of the cloning operation.
When you are done, you just have to restart the computer and, to use the newly created disk immediately, access the BIOS / UEFI as I showed you earlier and set the SSD disk as the first boot device.
Furthermore, if you wish, you can “recycle” the old hard disk by formatting it and using it to store your personal data: I explained how to do it in my guide dedicated to formatting hard disks .
For further explanations regarding the cloning of disks on SSDs , I invite you to read the guide that I linked to you earlier, in which I analyzed the topic in great detail.
How to install Windows 10 on external SSD
The steps to be performed to install Windows 10 on an external SSD are slightly more complex than those necessary for installing Windows 10 on an internal disk, but not more difficult. Mainly, the whole procedure involves the use of WinToUSB : a free third-party software that can “prepare” any USB disk (including external SSD drives) to make a copy of Windows and to install, inside, the operating system.
The Free version of WinToUSB can be used to set up the Home and Educational versions of Windows 10. To install the Pro operating systems, however, it is necessary to purchase the paid version of WinToUSB, with prices starting from $ 29.95 .
Before proceeding, also, make sure that you have connected the SSD to your computer and that you have the Windows 10 ISO image on hand : you can get it by following the steps I showed you in the previous section of this guide.
To get WinToUSB , connected to this website , click on the Download button and wait for the program (eg WinToUSB_Free.exe ) to be completely downloaded to your PC. Then, start the package just obtained, click on the Yes and OK buttons , Accept the terms of the license agreement by ticking the appropriate item, click on the Next button for four consecutive times, then on the Install buttons and, in conclusion, on Finish .
When setup is complete, start WinToUSB using the icon created on the Windows desktop and click on the Yes button to access the main interface of the program: when it opens, click on the icon of the sheet with CD located in the left bar, then on the small folder icon located next to the Image file text field and, using the File Explorer panel, select the Windows ISO file that you previously downloaded, indicate the version of Windows to be installed by clicking on its name (e.g. . Windows 10 Home ) and press the button Next .
At this point, select the external SSD from the upper drop-down menu and then specify how to format the latter, based on the type of computer from which you will have to boot the disk.
- MBR for BIOS – for older computers equipped with the BIOS system.
- GPT for UEFI – for modern computers equipped with UEFI system.
- MBR for BIOS and UEFI – to use the external SSD on both categories of the computer. If you don’t know what to choose, I recommend checking this option (available only in the paid version of the program).
Once you have made your choice, aware that all the data already existing on the SSD will be deleted , click on the Yes button and wait for it to be formatted. Afterwards, click on the Next button , to start the process of copying the Windows files, which may take a few minutes.
At the end of the operation, click on the Exit and Yes buttons , restart the computer and access the UEFI / BIOS settings to set the primary boot from the USB disk: if you do not know how to do it, you can follow the instructions I have given you in one of the chapters precedents of this guide.
Finally there we are: if everything went smoothly, at the next startup you should access the preliminary phase of Windows 10 configuration, during which the system will configure all the settings necessary for its correct functioning (by restarting the computer several times, if necessary).
After the preliminary phase, you will simply have to configure Windows 10 according to your preferences (language, keyboard, time zone, PC users, privacy settings, Cortana operation and so on) following the procedures that are shown on the screen.
Note : WinToUSB has a feature that allows you to clone the Windows installation in use directly on the external SSD. To access it, start the program and, from its main screen, click on the disk icon (the one on the bottom left) and then on the Next button . However, this functionality is only available in the paid version of the program.