Mastering the Switch: A Comprehensive Guide to Changing Your Boot Drive in Windows 10


A boot drive is the primary storage device in a computer responsible for loading the operating system (OS) and other essential files during startup. Its performance and capacity have a significant impact on the overall performance of the computer. In this article, we will walk you through the process of changing boot drive on Windows 10.

Changing the boot drive in Windows 10 can be beneficial for various reasons, such as upgrading to a larger drive or switching to a Solid State Drive (SSD) for improved performance and reliability.

Preparing for the Boot Drive Change

Before changing the boot drive, it’s essential to follow these precautions to ensure a smooth and safe transition:

Backup Important Data

When changing the boot drive, there is always a risk of data loss. Therefore, it is crucial to back up important data before initiating the process. There are two popular methods to backup data:

1. Using built-in Windows tools: Windows 10 provides built-in backup tools such as “File History” and “Backup and Restore (Windows 7)” that can help in creating system images or backing up important files and folders.
2. Using third-party software: There are multiple third-party software options available that can be used to create backups, clone drives, and ensure data security.

Gather Necessary Hardware and Software

To change the boot drive in Windows 10, gather the following hardware and software items:

1. New boot drive (e.g., SSD or HDD)
2. SATA data and power cables
3. Screwdriver and screws (if needed)
4. Windows 10 installation media (USB flash drive or DVD)
5. External storage device (optional, useful for data backup)

Installing the New Boot Drive

Once all the preparations are completed, follow the steps below to physically install the new boot drive:

Opening up the Computer Case

1. Shut down and unplug the computer.
2. Follow proper safety procedures, such as using an anti-static wristband, to avoid any damage to the computer components.

Locating the Current Boot Drive

1. Open the computer case and locate the current boot drive by following the SATA data cable from the motherboard to the drive.

Installing the New Boot Drive

1. Securely mount the new drive in an available slot inside the computer case.
2. Connect the SATA data and power cables to the new boot drive.

Closing up the Computer Case

After installing the new boot drive, close the computer case securely to avoid any unintended damage to the internal components.

Installing Windows 10 on the New Boot Drive

With the new drive successfully installed in the computer, it’s time to install Windows 10 on it.

Booting from Windows 10 Installation Media

1. Insert the Windows 10 installation media (e.g., USB drive or DVD) into the computer.
2. Restart the computer and enter the BIOS/UEFI menu by pressing the appropriate key (usually F2, F10, or Del) during startup.
3. Change the boot order to prioritize the installation media over other boot devices.
4. Save changes and exit the BIOS/UEFI menu.

Starting the Windows 10 Installation Process

1. Follow the on-screen instructions provided by the Windows 10 installation wizard, and select the new boot drive as the destination for installation.
2. Complete the Windows 10 installation process by following the instructions presented by the installer.

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Setting the New Boot Drive as the Primary Boot Device

After installing Windows 10 on the new boot drive, set it as the primary boot device to ensure the computer boots from it by default.

Entering the BIOS/UEFI Menu

1. Restart the computer and press the appropriate key to enter the BIOS/UEFI menu.

Changing the Boot Order

1. Locate the new boot drive in the list of available boot devices.
2. Set the new boot drive as the first device in the boot order.
3. Save changes and exit the BIOS/UEFI menu.


Changing the boot drive in Windows 10 is a relatively straightforward process that involves backing up important data, physically installing the new drive, and reinstalling the operating system. By following the steps outlined in this guide and prioritizing safety procedures, you can update your boot drive and enjoy the benefits of improved performance and reliability.


Can I change my boot drive without reinstalling Windows 10?

Yes, you can change the boot drive without reinstalling Windows 10 by cloning your existing boot drive onto the new one using third-party software.

Can I have multiple boot drives in one computer?

Yes, you can have more than one boot drive, allowing you to set up a multi-boot configuration or use one as a backup.

How do I know which boot drive is currently being used by my computer?

You can check the boot order in the BIOS/UEFI menu, where the order of boot devices is listed, with the primary boot drive at the top.

What is the difference between an SSD and HDD boot drive?

SSDs (Solid State Drives) are faster, more energy-efficient, and produce less heat compared to HDDs (Hard Disk Drives). However, HDDs are typically cheaper and offer more storage capacity for the price.

Does changing the boot drive void my computer’s warranty?

Changing the boot drive generally does not void your computer’s warranty, but it may depend on your manufacturer’s specific warranty conditions.

How can I determine the best boot drive for my computer and needs?

Consider factors such as storage capacity, read and write speeds, form factor, and budget to determine the best boot drive for your needs.

Can I use an external boot drive with Windows 10?

Yes, it is possible to use an external boot drive with Windows 10, although the performance may be limited by connection type and speed, and it is generally not recommended for regular usage.

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