Can You Clone an HDD While It Is Running?

Can you clone an HDD while it is running? If you have to clone disks while Windows running, this post will help you clone your disks with detailed steps.


By Lucas / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Can I clone a hard drive while Windows is running?

Cloning disk is a nice choice for backup or upgrading disks. Mostly, users will need to reboot several times during the whole process. If you’re running some programs or your virtual machine, which is testing or checking some programs, is running, restarting your device will interrupt your work.

So, is it possible to clone the drive while Windows is running?

The answer depends on what cloning software you select.

Normally, cloning tools are using cold cloning, also known as cold migration to transfer data from one drive to another. Thus, if you want to clone a hard drive or drive on a Windows PC or a virtual machine running Windows, you’ll need to find a cloning tool that employs the hot clone method which allows users to clone disks and drives while Windows is running.

How can you clone HDD while it is running?

Honestly, it’s unnecessary to restart your computer over and over again. Just cloning a disk, it’s not a big issue. Here, we recommend you AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, a disk and partition tool for all Windows PC users.

It supports Windows 11/10/8/8.1/7/XP, to clone a hard drive or SSD, the “Disk Clone Wizard” feature can help you. With some clicks, you can clone your disks while Windows running. And if you just want to migrate OS and leave other data on the source drive, you can choose the “Migrate OS to SSD” feature which also doesn’t require rebooting the PC.

Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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▶ Preparations:
1. If the target disk is a new one, you need to initialize it.
2. Make sure the target disk is installed steadily on your computer.

Now, let’s see the details.

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Partition Assistant. Then, in the top toolbar, click “Clone” > “Clone Disk”.

Disk clone wizard

Step 2. Choose a clone method in this window. Generally, we recommend the “Clone Disk Quickly” and click “Next”.

Clone quickly

▶ Notes:
Clone Disk Quickly allows you to adjust the size of the partition on the destination disk and supports cloning larger disks to smaller ones.
Sector-by-Sector Clone allows you to clone all sectors on the source disk to the destination disk.

Step 3. Choose the old disk as the source disk in this step and click “Next”.

Select source disk

Step 4. And choose a new disk as the destination disk. If the destination disk is SSD, you can check “Optimize the performance of SSD” and click “Next”.

Select destination disk

Step 5. In the Edit Disk window, you can resize the partition to fit the new disk and click “Next”.

Edit disk

Step 6. Finally, click “Apply” to submit the operations.


Step 7. When this is done, you can continue to use Windows. And when the clone is over, Windows will not reboot.

If you clone a system disk, next time, you’ll need to boot into BIOS to change the boot drive from the old disk to the cloned disk.


Can you clone an HDD while it is running? Yes, with AOMEI Partition Assistant, you can clone your disk or OS when you’re using the PC. Besides, this tool also has other functions like converting partition type between MBR and GPT without data damage, transferring installed apps, disk speed tests, and so on. What’s more, if you need to efficiently manage your Windows Server, you can choose the Server Edition.

Lucas · Staff Editor
I prefer peaceful and quiet life during vacation,but sometimes I watch football match if my favorite club performs brilliantly in that season. And I love reading, painting and calligraphy, thus I send my friends festival handwriting cards every year.