By Emily / Last Updated June 2, 2020

“Can I clone my hard drive including the operating system?”

“I have an old hard drive that has windows 10 OS on it, and I want to copy all the files including operating system from the bootable hard drive onto my new SSD. Is there an easy way to do that so the pc will be setup similar to how it was with the old hard drive? Or is there any recommended bootable hard drive clone software?”

Why clone the bootable hard drive?

Cloning bootable hard drive is to make an exact copy of the disk installed with system. In many situations, you need to clone bootable hard drive. Below are three common scenarios:

  • Upgrade bootable hard drive without reinstalling Windows OS and other apps. When the current bootable disk is too smaller to hold new data, or too slow to load OS, you can upgrade it to a largr hard drive, or replace the HDD with SSD. To achieve that, you can reinstall OS on the new disk, but that will cost much time. By contrast, cloning bootable disk is more recommended since it clone all data from the old hard drive to the new one, and you can boot from the cloned hard drive directly.

  • Back up data on the bootable hard drive. Since the bootable disk not only contains the Windows operating system, but also saves other personal data, it is important to make a complete backup of them. That can help you avoid data loss when the system disk fails, is attacked by virus or broken.

  • Ensure the safety of multiple systems on the hard drive. You may have more than one OS on the hard drive. Generally, migrate OS won’t migrate all systems on the hard drive, at this time, cloning bootable hard drive should be the best way to transfer all systems to another hard drive safely.

What’s the best bootable hard drive clone software?

As mentioned above, you can benefit a lot from cloning a bootable hard drive. Now you might wonder what’s the best bootable hard disk clone software for this task. Here we would like to recommend AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. This freeware develops the “Disk Clone Wizard”, which allows you to clone bootable hard drive or data hard drive to another disk and ensure successful boot from the new disk.

Besides, it can clone a larger (bootable) hard drive to a smaller hard drive (SSD or HDD) by only cloning the used space from the source disk to the destination disk. Also, it is able to clone hard drive with bad sector by copying every sector to the target location. And the destination hard drive will be bootable so that you can boot PC from the new disk after clone. You can download the free bootable hard drive cloning software and check out the next section to learn how to clone it step by step.

Please note: the free standard version only supports cloning boot hard drive from MBR to MBR. If you want to clone bootable disk from MBR to GPT, or GPT to MBR/GPT, you need to upgrade to advanced Professional edition.

Step by step to clone bootable hard drive in Windows PC

Here, we will show how to clone bootable hard drive in Windows PC step by step. Before that, you had better take a look at the following precautions:

1. The cloning process will erase all data on the destination disk, so please back up any required files on it in advance.
2. If the destination disk is smaller than the source disk, you can remove unnecessary apps or files from the source disk to make its used space smaller than the target disk space.
3. If the destination disk is of GPT partition style, you can convert GPT to MBR first so that you don’t need to change boot mode (from BIOS to UEFI) after clone.

Step 1. Choose the source disk and click “Disk Clone” in the left panel.

Disk Clone

Step 2. In this window, you can choose a proper disk clone method based on your disk size and click “Next”. Here we select the “Clone Disk Quickly”.

Clone Disk Quickly

Step 3. Now select the target disk and click “Next”. If it is an SSD drive, you can tick “Optimize the performance of SSD” option at the bottom.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. In the subsequent window, you can change partition size on the destination disk. After that, click “Next”.

Edit Disk

Clone without resizing partitions: this will remain partition size on the original disk. If you are cloning large disk to smaller disk, this option will be unavailable.
Fit partitions to entire disk: the target disk partition size will be adjusted automatically to fit the entire destination disk.
Edit partitions on this disk: change partition size on the destination disk as you need.

Step 5. Hit on the “Apply” and “Proceed” to commit the pending operation.

Apply

After the clone is done, you can enter BIOS, change boot order to make the cloned disk as the first boot device so that you can boot PC from the destination disk. Or you can remove the old hard drive, and install the cloned one to replace it completely.

Summary

Under the help of the free bootable hard drive clone software, you can easily clone system disk to another hard disk drive or solid-state drive and boot from it smoothly. Apart from this function, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard also supports transferring only OS partition to SSD/HDD, merging partitions, cloning partitions, moving partitions, and more. To enjoy those amazing functions to manage Server disk partitions, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.