[Stepwise] How to Clone Hard Drive to USB Flash Drive in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7

How to clone hard drive to USB flash drive in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7? With this step-by-step guide, you can easily clone HDD or SSD to USB flash drive using AOMEI Partition Assistant.


By Dervish / Updated on April 29, 2024

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Why need to clone hard drive to USB flash drive?

Cloning a hard drive means to move the data of the hard drive to another hard drive. In other words, it is copying/cloning the hard disk. Some users hope to back up their data avoiding of data loss, just like a help-seeker from Reddit:

Is there a way to clone a hard drive to a USB flash drive? I have an HP Elitebook laptop from 2012 and Im kinda worried about the hard drive failing and me losing all of my data. Is there a way that I can move all of the data to a USB flash drive while still keeping all of it on my hard drive? I've looked up how to clone a hard drive to USB and haven't found anything.

And others want to clone hard drive to USB external hard drive for the following reasons:

● Configure a new PC: Enterprise users will have a set of standard software for use. When you have a brand-new computer, you can directly migrate various applications or even OS that have been backed up to the USB to the new computer without re-download and reinstallation.
● Upgrade hard drive: As the SSD's write-read speed is faster than HDD, you may need to upgrade HDD to SSD. Hence, you can clone the HDD to a USB flash drive firstly, and then copy all data to the SSD from the USB external drive.
Create a bootable USB: You can create a bootable copy of your Windows disk, once you encounter the Windows fail to boot, you can use it as a great backup.

After figuring out why we need to clone SSD/HDD to USB flash drive, then you know how to clone a disk to a USB external drive in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7?

The best clone freeware for cloning hard drive

Since Windows does not offer any built-in tool for cloning hard disk to USB, here, we recommend the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard as the best cloning software. This freeware is specifically designed for computer management, and can help you easily clone disk and partition. It enables you to clone a whole disk or a partition to another storage device with ease.

It allows you to copy everything, like programs, files, and OS to the USB without any data loss or reinstalling. You can also use it to clone a hard drive before replacing it and create a bootable WinPE bootable disk.

And it provides “Clone Disk Quickly” method allowing you to clone larger hard drive to smaller drive if your USB flash drive is smaller than the source disk. It simplifies the cloning operation with an easy-to-use interface and several options, you can finish the cloning process in a few steps.

Besides, if you only plan to clone Windows operating system, you can try Migrate OS to SSD without data loss.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7
Secure Download

If you want to clone the system disk, you should upgrade to Professional edition. But if you plan to clone a data disk, there is no limit on partition style.

How to clone hard drive to USB Flash drive in Windows 11/10/8/7?

Connect the USB flash drive to your computer, and check out the steps to use AOMEI Partition Assistant to clone HDD/SSD to USB flash drive.

Step 1. Install and open AOMEI Partition Assistant. And click “Clone” > “Clone Disk”.

Disk Copy Wizard

Step 2. To choose a disk clone method, “Clone Disk Quickly” is recommended, as it supports copying larger drive to smaller drive, and takes less time than “Sector-by-Sector Clone” way.

Copy Disk Quickly

✍Tip: If you need, you can also choose the “Sector-by-Sector Clone”, which would clone drive with all sectors including bad sectors, whether used or not.

Step 3. Select the hard drive you want to clone as the source disk and click “Next”.

Select Source Disk

Step 4. Choose the USB or other external drive as the destination disk, and click “Next”.

Select Destination Disk

Step 5. You can adjust the size of the partition on the USB flash drive. If you don’t need to, just click “Next”.

Edit Disk

Step 6. Click “Apply” > "Proceed" in the main interface, and view the details of the pending operation, then click “proceed” to execute the operation.


Now, you have finished cloning hard drive with bootable USB if you copy the OS. And AOMEI Partition Assistant also can clone only the system partition or another specific partition to another USB/HDD/SSD. And the steps are very similar except for slight differences.

In the main interface, right-click on the partition you want to clone, and select “Clone Partition” and follow the rest instructions to copy partition.

Clone Partition

To clone system partition, you can click "Clone" > "Migrate OS”, also right-click on the system partition and choose “Clone Partition”.

Migrate OS to SSD


These are all the steps to clone hard drive to USB flash drive in Windows 11/10/8/7. And it can be applied to clone disk to SSD/HDD and other internal or external devices.

With the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant, you can complete the clone easily. More importantly, there are more advanced features are waiting for you to unlock. Such as, convert MBR to GPT for Windows 11, convet NTFS to FAT32 without data loss, and more.

If you want to use these features in Windows Server, you should choose AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

Dervish · Staff Editor
Dervish is an English editor of AOMEI Technology; He is delicated to offering users easy and effecitve solutions for issuses related to disks and partitoins. In his spare time, he enjoy wathcning films, playing footable, traveling and so on.