Replace the Hard Drive on a Windows 10

Windows 10 comes with some native tools to help you expand your hard disk space. Here’s how to get started on freeing up some room. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly hard disk space is consumed.

Roughly about a year ago, I replaced my primary desktop PC with a newer one. Since I don’t actually save any data on my PC, I opted for a 250GB SSD. After all, I have a few programs installed, but that’s about it.


Now here I am a year later, and I am down to about 21GB of free storage, as shown in Figure 1.


So where did all of my storage space go? Like I said, I don’t store any data on the PC, so it’s not like I filled up the hard drive with pictures, videos or Word documents. The drive is mostly filled with programs, but Disk Cleanup reports 44GB in temporary Internet files, as shown in Figure 2. I periodically clean that out, but all the various updates seem to reclaim that space almost immediately.

I decided to replace my 250GB SSD with a 1TB SSD. The question then became a matter of how to best accomplish the task at hand. I decided to try my hand at using the native tools.


Windows 10 does include a legacy backup application. To access it, enter the Control command at the Run prompt. This opens the Control Panel. Now, go to System and Security and click on Backup and Restore (Windows 7). This will open the Backup and Restore utility, which you can see in Figure 3.


Click on the option to create a system image. You will now see a screen asking where you want to save the backup. I recommend using an external hard drive like what I am doing in Figure 4. Click Next followed by Start Backup, and the backup will begin.


Once the initial backup completes, the backup utility displays a message asking if you want to create a system repair disk. You will need the system repair disk in order to re image the computer. As you can see in Figure 5, Windows prompts you to insert a blank DVD and then proceeds to create the system repair disk.


Once you have finished creating a system repair disk, it is time to shut down the computer and replace the hard disk. Now, boot from the system repair disk.

In my case, the re imaging worked perfectly, but one additional (but not unexpected) step was required at the end. If you look at Figure 6, you can see that although the re imaging process cleared out some of the system clutter, I still only have about 38GB of free space available. This is because Windows restored an image. Therefore, I had to manually enlarge my C: volume.


Open the Disk Management Console by entering the DiskMgmt.msc command at the Run prompt. As you can see in Figure 7, I have over 600GB in unallocated space on Disk 0.

The problem is that this free space is locked away, and is not readily available for our use. If I were to right-click on the C: drive, then there is no option to extend the volume. Fortunately, there is a way to deal with this problem. I will show you how in Part 2.