How to Copy All Data from One Hard Drive to Another?

How to copy all data from one hard drive to another? To get it done, you’ll need a reliable disk cloner. This time, the best ways will be introduced and step-by-step guides will be provided as well to help you deal with the disk clone process.


By Bryce / Updated on June 12, 2024

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Why need to copy all data from one hard drive to another?

Why copy all files from one disk to another? The motivates can be concluded as follows:

☞ Transfer all data from a traditional hard disk drive with Windows installed to a solid-state drive or larger hard drive and thus, you can upgrade the system hard drive without reinstallation.
Clone all data from internal hard drive to external hard drive for duplication. Compared with backup, it allows you to access data without restoration if the system crashes or something else happens.

As you can see above, people need to copy a whole hard drive to another for different purposes? But how? In the following paragraphs, 2 methods are provided.

Method 1. Manually copy and paste

The most common way to copy all data from one hard drive to another is by copying and pasting but this method can only be applied when those files are personal files like photos, video, music, and some apps. Or else, the files may not be able to run normally. 

1. Double-click on "This PC" to open File Explorer.

2. Open the drive where you want to move those files. Here, we take the C drive for example. 

3. Right-click on the files you want to move and select "Copy".

4. Navigate to the destination drive where you want to move the files. Find some blank space and right-click on it. Hit "Paste" to paste the files you just copied to this location.

Now, you've successfully transferred all personal files from one hard drive to another. 

Method 2. Try a third-party disk cloner

To move/clone files from one hard drive to another, the copy-paste way is mentioned above. However, this way can be time-consuming when there are lots of files and folders on your hard drive and meanwhile, some important data like boot files could be easily missing – some software and the operating system may not work normally. Therefore, you can employ a third-party hard drive cloner to copy the whole hard drive to another.

Here AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional will be my first choice. It can clone all files, including boot.ini from one disk to another. After cloning no matter a system disk or a data disk to another disk, both the system and the apps can be used normally.
It can clone only used spaces on the source hard drive and thus, you can copy all data from one hard drive to a smaller one if the size of the target one is not smaller than the size of the used space.
What’s more, it is able to copy only OS drive (data partitions not included) from one disk to another.

What you ought to realize before you copy/migrate all data from one hard drive to another by cloning a hard disk:

▪ All data saved on the target hard drive will be cleaned, thus back up your necessary files in advance.
▪ The capacity of the destination disk shouldn't be smaller than the used space of the source disk.
▪ To boot successfully from cloned disk, it is necessary to change boot mode after you clone MBR system disk to GPT or GPT to MBR.

Then, connect the destination disk to your computer and make sure it can be recognized, and follow the steps given below (Take cloning system hard drive to smaller one in Windows 10 as an example). You can download its demo version to have a try at first!

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

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant, click "Clone" in the main interface and select "Clone Disk".

Disk Copy

Step 2. Choose the hard disk that you need to clone as the source disk and click "Next".

Copy Disk in Windows 10 Quickly

Step 3. Select the destination disk to store the data on the source disk, and then click "Next".

Seleect Destination Disk

Step 4. Then, you can check the source and destination disk in the next window or change to “Sector to Sector clone”, and click the "Confirm" button to continue if there is no problem.

Edit Disk

Here, you can also click the "Settings" button to adjust the partition size on the destination disk or tick "4k alignment" to improve the reading and writing speed of SSD if the target disk is an SSD drive.


Step 5. At last, click "Apply" and "Proceed" in the main interface to start cloning the hard drive.


Optional: How to boot from the destination hard disk after the disk clone?

If the disk you cloned is a boot disk, then, you’re supposed to set the destination disk as the first boot device.

1. During the startup of your PC, press a specific key continuously. Usually, it’s Del for desktops while F2 for laptops. Then, you’ll enter BIOS settings.

2. Under the boot tab, you can change the boot order for your devices. Now, set the destination disk as the first boot device with your arrow key.


Final words

How to copy data from one hard drive to another? In this post, you learned when and why you should perform the operation and meanwhile, a powerful third-party disk cloner – AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional - was introduced to help get it done efficiently. Apart from disk clone, other features including SSD secure erase and SSD 4K alignment are also supported by it. To clone one hard drive to another in Windows Server, you can use AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

Bryce · Staff Editor
Bryce is an editor of AOMEI Technology, he covers backup & restore, hard disk & partitions management, cloud files transfer, website & database backup and so on for AOMEI. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. He loves traveling, Sleeping, reserching and so on. He would like to spend all time on reaserching computer problems. He is a very cute boy.