Wondershare Recoverit

File Recovery

  • Recovers deleted or lost files effectively, safely and completely.
  • Supports data recovery from 500+ data loss scenarios, including computer crash, partition loss, accidental human error, etc.
  • Supports 1000+ file formats recovery with a high success rate and without any quality loss.
Free Download Free Download Free Download Learn More >
file recovery

How To Copy OS to a New Hard Drive?

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jul 17, 2024 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

Can I move the operating system to a new hard drive? I am planning to update my system and want to copy OS to an external hard drive for safety, but do not know how to copy the operating system.

You can transfer your operating system to a new hard drive or SSD without reinstalling the windows. There are effective way and free tools with the help of which you can move the Windows operating system or Mac OS to the new hard drive.

In this article, we will discuss the ways to copy OS to the new hard drive. Take a look!

Part 1. Whether Copy OS to a New Hard Drive Workable?

It’s never a bad idea to protect yourself with an extra copy of your hard drive. In general, most people clone their drives for one of the following reasons:

Another important reason for transferring OS to a new drive is to save time and effort of reinstalling and re-configure systems.

Whatever the reasons in your mind, let’s figure out how to copy OS to the new hard drive.

Part 2. How To Copy Windows OS to a New Hard Drive?

Sometimes due to heavy data or overload, the hard drive of the system can fail. Therefore, it is important for Windows OS to the new hard drive to avoid the loss of data or to avoid reinstalling the operating system.

Here are the steps that you will need to follow to copy Windows operating system to the new hard drive:

2.1 General way to copy Windows OS to new hard drive

Prepare your system

Before copying and transferring anything, it’s important to clean out the files for quick as well as easy transition.

Thankfully, in Windows, there is a proprietary cleanup tool that you can use to clean your files.

For this, look for Disk Cleanup in Windows and click on the link that appears.

Clean up the disk

Once open, you will see a list of files to delete. Carefully review each file and delete those which are not in use anymore.

When the Disk Cleanup tool cleans the selected files, it will automatically reset to save any changes you have made on your system.

Install a migration tool

To create a clone of your old drive or to move the operating system to an external drive, you will need a migration tool for Windows.

The good news is that there are many free tools available that you can use to copy OS to the new hard drive.

For example, you can choose from NovaBACKUP, Clonezilla, Paragon Drive Copy Professional, and more.

Install Wondershare UBackit

Tip: If you want to back up your files, Wondershare UBackit is recommended. You can use this amazing tool to move all data from your system to the hard drive in one click.

Choose the appropriate option and select the folder or operating system you want to backup. Now, wait some time to complete the process before moving on to the migration of OS.

Choose your destination drive

Now, it is time to connect your new hard drive or external hard drive to the system. You can connect the hard drive with cable or any other means.

Select the destination drive

Make sure you select the new SSD or hard drive as your destination.

Adjust partition sizing

Now, when you move OS to a new drive with migration tools, you will also get options to customize the drive partitions. However, you can choose to delete partitions on the destination drive or can select partition sizes when files migrate over.

Partition of the hard drive

It is better to choose the option to fit and optimize partitions to the new drive.

Once the migration is completed, reboot your system and check to see if everything works. Finally, you are able to move Windows OS to the new hard drive.

2.2 Copy Windows OS to a new drive with Clonezilla

Clonezilla is a tool that you can use to move Windows from an old drive to a new hard drive. Follow the following steps to do so:

Resize the partition

First, you will need to resize your partition to move the Windows to a new hard drive according to the size of the new drive. But, you can skip this step if your destination drive is of the same size as of source drive.

Download Clonezilla

Now, you will need to download the Clonezilla from the official website. Also, you will need to select the CPU architecture, file type and repository to install the right version of cloning for Windows.

For example, you can use file type of “zip” to install Clonezilla to a USB stick and can burn it on DVD later.

Connect the target drive

Connect the target drive

Clone Windows 10 via Clonezilla

Choose the mode in clonezilla

cloning of Windows with clonezilla

2.3 AOMEI Backupper Standard

Another free alternative to moving Windows OS to a new hard drive is AOMEI Backupper. It is a free disk cloning software that also keeps the backup and restores software for Windows users.

AOMEI Backupper Standard

Following are the steps that you will need to follow to use this tool:

create partition with AMOEI Backupper

This is how you can move Windows to the external hard drive.

Part 3. How To Move Mac OS to Another Hard Drive?

Are you using Mac? If yes, then upgrading the original drive in your Mac can help improve the performance. Also, moving your macOS to a new drive can increase the storage capacity of the system too.

Are you wondering how to move OS to another drive? If yes, then follow the below steps to transfer MacOS to another hard drive.

Step 1: Prepare the new drive for installation

First, you will need to connect the external drive to your Mac system. Then, launch Disk Utility (press Cmd + spacebar and start to type Disk Utility). Now, select to show all devices from the options. This is how you can see the new drive in the list.

From the sidebar, select the external drive and click on erase to clean it. Also, you can give your drive the name of your choice.

Erase data from an external drive with disk utility

Now, wait for some time until the Disk Utility creates the partition in your new drive.

Finally, your new drive is ready to install the macOS on it.

Step 2: Get the macOS install files

To download the macOS Big Sur or Catalina, you can search them on Mac App Store and click get to download.

Remember, at this stage, you should not install it, only download its files. If you are looking for a beta of macOS, then sign up for the beta version on your Mac.

download macOS Catalina on system

Now, once you have the macOS files, you will want to install them on an external hard drive.

Step 3: Install or move macOS on the external drive

On your system, go to the finder window, and then go to Applications. Now, try to search for the Catalina or Big Sur installer. Once you find the macOS, click on it, and you will see a new window on the screen.

Here you can see an invite for the installation of macOS and click continue. Make sure to agree to the software license agreement.

After this, tap on Show All Disks, and from the list, choose your new or external drive.

Select external harddrive in macOS

Finally, click install and wait for the macOS version to get installed on the external hard drive.

Finally, run the macOS on an external hard drive by following the following path:

Open system preferences > startup disk

After this, restart your system.


We hope that from the above article, you have learned about how to move OS to another drive or how to transfer OS to the new drive.

Whether you are running out of storage or want to update your system, you can easily copy OS to an external hard drive with the help of the above steps. Also, to back up your files and data, consider using Wondershare UBackit, it is very easy and safe to use.

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

Home > Resources > Answer Hard Drive Problems > How To Copy OS to a New Hard Drive?