By Michael / Last Updated September 27, 2022

Why clone HDD to smaller SSD?

With the development of technology, SSD (solid state drive) becomes more and more popular and common. Because of its advantages in read-write speed, noiselessness, energy-saving and etc, you may want to replace your current HDD (hard disk drive) with an SSD. Usually, the storage space of an HDD is bigger than that of an HDD of the same price.

So, it’s pretty common to replace an HDD with a new smaller SSD. As we all know, hard disk replacement usually means the loss of all files and thus, you have to reinstall all the previously existing apps and programs to the new SSD. If you hope to stay away from this hassle, it’s recommended to clone the large HDD to the smaller SSD.

Get a trusted tool to clone to smaller SSD

Since Windows 11/10/8/7 doesn’t offer disk cloning software, you can turn to third party tool. I’d like to introduce AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to you out of its highlights presented below:

  • With the ability to clone only used spaces, it enables you to clone disk to smaller one effortlessly, as long as the usable size of SSD is not smaller than the used space on the current HDD.

  • It is able to align SSD partitions to improve SSD’s performance while cloning to SSD.

  • What’s more, it is compatible with SSDs of different brands (like Samsung, Kingston and etc.) and of various interfaces (SATA, MSATA and M.2).

It can work well under Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7, XP and Vista. For cloning hard drive to smaller SSD or larger HDD in Windows Server, please employ AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

Clone large HDD to smaller SSD step-by-step

Before cloning:
1. Prepare an SSD whose capacity is not smaller than the used space of the current HDD. Connect it and make sure that it can be detected. If there is any important data on the SSD, you’d better back up them at first.
2. Delete unwanted files and uninstall unnecessary applications on your source HDD to decrease copy time.
3. Download and install the demo of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

Download Pro Demo Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Learn to clone HDD to smaller SSD as follows.

Step 1. In the main interface of AOMEI Partition, go to All Tools > Disk Clone Wizard.

Disk Copy Wizard

Step 2. Here offers you two options, choose Clone Disk Quickly to duplicate used sectors only on the source disk.

Clone Disk Quickly: Clone only used space to another disk and allowed to adjust the size of partitions.

Sector-by-Sector Clone: Clone all sectors to another disk, whether used or not.

Note: If you need to clone BitLocker hard drive to SSD and the SSD’s capacity is larger than the source disk, you can choose Clone Sector-by-Sector.

Copy Disk Quickly


Step 3. Select the large HDD as your source disk.

Select Source Disk

Step 4. Choose the smaller SSD as your destination disk and tick the option “Optimize the performance of SSD”.

Select Destination Disk

You’ll get a note about how to boot after cloning read it carefully and remember it.


Step 5. You can adjust partitions on the SSD or leave it alone.

Edit Disk

Step 6. Click Apply and Proceed to save changes.


Step 7 (Optional). To boot from the cloned SSD successfully, you could exchange the connection socket of the HDD and SSD or enter BIOS to change boot priority to the SSD.


1) If you clone an HDD in GPT to an SSD in MBR or an HDD in MBR to an SSD in GPT, you need to change UEFI to Legacy or Legacy to UEFI.

2) It is available to clone boot related partitions only rather than the entire HDD to SSD via the function Migrate OS to SSD in AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

3) To free up disk space on original HDD, you can format or wipe HDD after confirming that you can boot from the cloned SSD successfully.

Final words

It is not a difficult task to clone HDD to smaller SSD, like copying 500GB HDD to 256GB SSD via AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. In fact, it is far more than a disk cloning tool. With it, you can manage disks and partitions conveniently and comprehensively including SSD secure erase and free space allocation. Also, it comes with Dynamic Disk Manager, capable of controlling dynamic disks and partitions.