How to Use SSD as Boot Drive? (2024)

SSD, or Solid State Drive, uses flash memory to store data that you can access digitally. This results in the SSD to have faster read, write and access time, making it much more efficient compared to its counterpart, the Hard Disk Drive(HDD). 

As access time on an SSD is low, any applications installed inside the SSD will load much faster than the application installed in a slower storage device. This is why most users install their Operating System in SSD. Doing this allows to load the OS into the RAM much more quickly, decreasing the boot time.

This article explains a step-by-step guide for users who want to use SSD as boot drive.

How to Use SSD as Boot Drive?

Advantage of Using SSD as Boot Drive

Before we jump into the how-to of the topic, let’s see why using an SSD as a boot drive is good for the PC. As data inside the SSD are accessed and written digitally without requiring any physical moving components, the PC can load the OS data faster due to low latency. 

Furthermore, SSDs also have a greater life span due to their lack of moving components. Besides this, here are a few reasons why using an SSD as a boot drive benefits you.

  • Low chance of failure
  • Less prone to physical damage
  • Faster boot time
  • Incredible transfer speeds
  • Fast OS installation

Due to these particular reasons, PC builders always use an SSD as a boot drive. Therefore, if you want to upgrade your PC, installing the OS in SSD is the cheapest and easiest upgrade.

How to Use SSD as Boot Drive?

Now that you know why most users install the OS in the SSD let us see how to boot from an SSD. You need to perform three steps before booting your PC with the SSD. 

Firstly you need to connect the SSD to the motherboard. Secondly, you need to clone an existing OS or install a new one into the SSD. And finally, you need to set the boot priority to SSD.

Below, we have explained each step in detail.

Insert the SSD Into the Motherboard

screwing-SSD-to-motherboard

For the PC to detect the SSD, you first need to connect it to the motherboard. To do this, you need to open up your PC. 

The installation process may vary depending on the type of SSD you use. If you are using a 2.5-inch SSD, you will require a SATA data cable and a SATA power cable. If you are using an M.2 SSD, a screwdriver will be enough. 

If you are using an External SSD, you can simply connect the SSD to a USB drive.

Install OS in the SSD

Once your PC detects the SSD, you will now need to install the Operating system in your SSD. You can either clone the existing OS into your SSD or install a fresh one. 

Note: You can ignore this step if your SSD already has OS installed

Cloning the OS

transfer-clone-hdd-to-ssd

Cloning makes an exact copy of the boot drive or partition. If you have installed any application on the boot drive, you will still have those applications even after cloning the OS. 

If you want to upgrade from HDD to SSD, you’ll find the transition very smooth and easy if you clone your drive. You won’t face any hassle of installing old applications or adjusting previous Windows settings.

Installing New OS in Internal SSD

There are a couple of ways to install an OS to an internal SSD. However, here we have explained the process of installing OS in SSD using Rufus. Rufus is a free tool that you can use to make a USB device bootable.

Make Bootable USB

Using this Bootable USB, you will install the OS in the SSD. You will also need an Operating system iso file that you can download from the internet. Once you have the .iso file, follow the steps mentioned below to install the OS in SSD using Rufus.

  • Connect a blank USB drive to your PC.
  • Download Rufus and run the .exe (executable) file to run Rufus.
  • On Devices, select the USB drive.
  • In Boot selection, click on select and browse the Operating system iso file. By selecting Download, you can also download the OS from Rufus itself.
  • Select Partition Scheme as MBR or GPT, depending on your SSD drive partition style. 
  • Click on Start to start the process.


using-rufus

  • Click on OK if Windows gives you any warning. Once the process completes, your USB will now be bootable.
Set USB as Boot Drive

You will need to set the USB drive as the primary boot device to install the OS using a bootable USB drive. When you do this, the PC will automatically read the files from the USB drive and install the OS. 

Follow the steps mentioned below to install the OS in the SSD.

  • Restart the PC and press the BIOS key repeatedly to enter the BIOS. The BIOS key can be any of the function keys or the Delete key.
  • Once you get into the BIOS, search for settings named Boot Options. This setting is usually inside System Configurations.
  • Enable USB boot. 


enable-usb-boot

  • Once you enable USB boot, search for Boot order. Here you will see all the storage devices connected to the system.
  • Now, use the help menu on the right side to move the storage device. 
  • Move the bootable USB to the top. This ensures that the system reads the file from the USB first.


set-boot-order

  • Save and Exit the BIOS.

Depending on the motherboard manufacturer, you may have different BIOS settings, and setting names will be different. If you cannot find the settings named as mentioned above, you need to search through the BIOS to find these settings.

Install OS

Once you set your USB as a boot drive, the OS installation process will start. During installation, it will prompt you to a window where you need to choose an installation drive. Here, select the SSD and continue with the installation process.

Installing New OS in External SSD

If you are using an external SSD as boot drive, the steps you need to perfrom while installing an OS is quite different. You will need a Windows ISO file and a WinToUSB. WinToUSB allows user to install a version of Windows to the USB drive, in this case the external SSD.

Follow the steps below to install OS in an external SSD.

  • Connect the external SSD to the PC.
  • Press Windows + R key to open Run.
  • Type diskmgmt.msc to open Disk Management. Here, you will see all the storage devices connected to the system.
  • Right-click on the external SSD and select Format.
  • Make sure that File System is set to NTFS and check Perform a quick format.
  • Now download WinToUSB.
  • Install and run the application and select Windows To Go USB.


windows-to-go-USB

  • In Select installation source, click on downward facing arrow and browse the Windows ISO file.


browse-windows-img-file-1024x648

  • In Select destination drive, select external USB drive.
  • Select Partition Scheme as MBR or GPT, depending on your SSD drive partition style.
  • Click on Proceed. The installation process should start.
  • Once the process completes, it is now time to set the Boot priority

Set Boot Priority

Finally, once your SSD has an Operating System, it is time to set the boot priority. In Boot Priority, you can see the boot order of all the storage devices connected to the system. The PC goes through this list to search the drive containing the OS. You need to make sure that the SSD that contains the OS is on top of the list.

To change the boot priority order, you need to access the BIOS.

Note: Depending on the motherboard, your PC might have a different BIOS and different setting names. You might need to navigate BIOS to locate the correct settings.

1-Press the BIOS key repeatedly during startup to enter the BIOS.

2- Search for settings named System configuration and look for Boot Priority. 

3- Move the SSD or external SSD containing recently installed OS to the top of the boot priority list. If you cannot move the list item, you can refer to your BIOS help menu.


set-ssd-boot-order

4- Once you make the necessary changes, Save and Exit the BIOS.

5- Now, the PC should boot from the SSD.

Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

My name is Mohamed, and I'm the creator and editor-in-chief of Tech To Geek. Through this little blog, I share with you my passion for technology. I specialize in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, focusing on providing practical and valuable guides.

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