Should you install the Operating System on an SSD or HDD?

Install Operating System on SSD or HDD

When adding a new SSD to the system, a common doubt is if you should install Operating System on SSD or HDD. In this article, we’re going to approach that usual question among many others.

As you can tell from our informative article on SSDs, those are awesome devices and bring a lot of advantages in comparison to the old HDDs. Also, nowadays you can find great deals on SSD hard drives.

They are many times faster and anything you load on an SSD will perform much quicker. But unfortunately, the cost per gigabyte is still higher than on a regular HDD, and many have to take e compromise of having a smaller SSD combined with a bigger Hard Disk for extra storage space.

Table of Contents

  1. What is an SSD on a computer?
  2. So, should you install the Operating System on an SSD or HDD?
    1. Can you transfer programs from an HDD to an SSD?
    2. How to copy operating system to SSD
    3. What is the best filesystem for SSD Windows 10?
    4. Does Windows 7 support SSD?
    5. Does Windows XP support SSD?
  3. HDD or SSD for games
  4. Wrap-Up

What is an SSD on a computer?

A Solid State Drive (or SSD), is a type of PC storage without mechanical components. It belongs to a new generation of storage devices and substitutes for your traditional mechanical Hard Disk Drive (HDD).

Like smartphones, tablets, thumb drives and memory cards, SSDs rely on semiconductor memory that stores data on flash memory chips.

It uses nothing but integrated circuits, no spinning disks of any kind or other moving parts. As a result, it’s able to read and write data much faster than a mechanical hard drive and it’s also more reliable, shock-proof, and silent.

So, should you install the Operating System on an SSD or HDD?

Solid State Drives being many times faster than mechanical Hard Discs, are the preferred storage options for anything that is going to be used more often.

Installing your operating system on the SSD will get your Windows to boot up may times (often more than 6x) faster and to perform almost any task in much less time.

Most of the reading and writing of the drive happens where the OS is installed. And also, the faster that drive, the less time you’d spend waiting for those programs to load.

So, the answer is clear yes, you should install the operating system on the SSD drive so it can take advantage of the speed increase.

Can you transfer programs from an HDD to an SSD?

Also, if you have enough free space, the SSD is where you should install your Windows apps. and programs. Considering the lower prices you can get a 256GB or a 512GB drive nowadays, you won’t have any storage issues.

Bear in mind that so you can achieve optimal performance, always use SSD for operating system and HDD for storage.

In the case your storage space is on the short side, just use the SSD for operating system only.

How to copy operating system to SSD

You just got a new SSD, so what’s next? You can opt for reinstalling your Windows and all your apps from scratch. That is a good way to start new with a fresh, pristine-clean system.

But while it may be a preferred option for many, for others it’s just an unwanted hassle and a loss of precious time. Dealing with setting up Windows again, getting all of the personal files and folders back on a new drive, and reinstalling all the apps is not for everyone.

For those who just want to keep everything as it was in the previous hard-drive, there is a great option to migrate all the data to the new SSD: cloning the old hard drive onto the new one using dedicated software. It’s a fairly fast and easy to do process and everything will be exactly as you left it on the old drive.

But remember, before migrating your Windows to the SSD drive, make sure you back up all your data. This protects your important files in case something goes wrong with the process.

In another article, we’ll teach you, step by step, on how to put operating system on SSD. Stay tuned.

What is the best filesystem for SSD Windows 10?

NTFS and FAT32 are the two available formats to choose from when you need to set up your new SSD to run Windows 10.

NTFS is the recent file system Windows uses by default. It is more efficient and secure and does not limit the files and partition size. It makes it easier when reading / writing large files.

FAT 32 is an older file system, was introduced more than 20 years ago with Windows 95 and offers better compatibility with other operating systems. Though, it lacks the permissions and other security features present in NTFS.

Unless you have a very unusual workload for your computer, it is never a good idea to use FAT32 over NTFS. If you are using Windows 10, NTFS is also the best choice. And more, it provides better compatibility for SSDs helping these new drives to get better read / write performance.

NTFS doesn’t do a significant-enough amount of extra writing to the SSD to make it worth the inferior performance, and the less safety that FAT32 gets compared to NTFS.

Does Windows 7 support SSD?

It’s a very common question as Windows 7 is still used by many today. And the answer is yes, Windows 7 offers SSD support as long as it’s using a feature called TRIM.

TRIM provides information regarding deleted data to help SSDs to get the best performance, as unlike the old mechanical hard drives, and because of the different way they operate, this information needs to be given.

Does Windows XP support SSD?

You can run Windows XP on an SSD but you won’t get the much out of it. Windows XP SSD trim utility is not supported,  however, most modern SSDs are able to detect when a file is deleted, and erase the corresponding NAND cells even if the OS doesn’t provide that information via TRIM.

Sure you can get it to work, but at the expense of reliability and loss in power.

HDD or SSD for games

HDD or SSD for games, in which should they be installed? Despite operating much faster than HDDs, don’t expect higher frame-rates or better playability by installing your games in an SSD.

Those are influenced mainly by your computer’s CPU and graphics card. So you won’t get any kind of significant in-game performance advantage.

However, if games are installed on an SSD they will boot faster than games that are installed on an old Hard Drive. They will take significantly less time to load and will perform quicker when going from one game menu to another.

And these are the main advantages of installing your games on an SSD.


This article clarifies some of the doubts surrounding SSDs and their usage. If you got a new Solid State Drive, just copy your Windows to it.

The operating system should always be installed on it so you can take advantage of the quicker boot and the overall performance improvement when using it.

If you have enough storage space you should also transfer programs from HDD to SSD to experience all the speed advantages. Games will also benefit from better loading times and less menu-to-menu latency.

Check out some of our other awesome articles: