By Bryce / Last Updated June 30, 2021

Need to clone 500GB HDD to 256GB SSD

“To have better experience in booting the operating system or loading programs, I have purchased a 256GB Toshiba Q Series Solid State Drive and I have a 500GB HDD with only 129GB used. Now, I want to replace my existing 500GB HDD with the SSD.

But I’m really unwilling to make a fresh install of Windows and other applications on SSD. Thus, I want to clone old HDD to the new Toshiba SSD. I know that it is available to clone hard drive to a larger drive. But can I clone 500GB to 256GB?

 Clone to smaller SSD at ease via great cloning software

It is common to choose to purchase an SSD whose capacity is smaller than HDD's due to SSD’s price. You can easily copy 500GB hard drive to 256GB SSD even smaller SSD as long as the used space of your source hard drive is not beyond the capacity of the target SSD with drive cloning software, like AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.

► It can clone only used space of source disk,enabling you to clone larger hard drive to smaller drive, covering 500GB HDD to 256GB/200GB SSD, 2TB HDD to 500GB SSD and etc. without data loss.
► And it can make SSD partition alignment to improve SSD’s performance while copying HDD to SSD.
► It works under Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, and Vista. To clone HDD to SSD in Windows Server 2019/2016/2012/2008, please use AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

You need to connect the SSD to your PC and make sure that it can be detected by your OS. If what you own is a laptop, you might need a USB-to-SATA cable.

✍ Note: You can free download the demo version of  AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to stimulate the operation and preview the operation result. 

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Steps to clone 500GB HDD to 256GB SSD

Step 1. Install and run it. Click "All Tools" and "Disk Clone Wizard".

Clone Disk

Step 2. Choose "Clone Disk Quickly" as you need to clone to a smaller SSD. Then, click "Next".

Copy Method

Note: Sector-by-Sector Clone is very helpful in cloning BitLocker encrypted disk or cloning hard drive with bad sectors but it requires that the capacity of target disk not smaller than source disk’s.

Step 3. Choose your source disk and click "Next".

Source Disk

Step 4. Choose your destination disk and click “Next”. As the target disk is SSD, tick the box before “Optimize” to make partition alignment on SSD.

Target Disk

Step 5. As you move data from a large hard drive to a smaller SSD, there are only two available options for you to clone. Make your decision and click "Next" to continue.

Edit Disk

  • Fit partitions to entire disk”– automatically adjust the partition size to entire destination disk based on the scale of the source disk.

  • Edit partitions on this disk”– manually adjust the size of partition in line with your demand.

Then, you will see a Note about how to boot operating system from the target disk. Read it and keep it in mind.

Boot Note

Step 6. Confirm the pending operations and click “Apply” to implement the operation.



  • ▪If you want to keep your 500GB HDD as your data storage simultaneously, to boot OS from the new cloned 256GB SSD, you need to enter BIOS to change boot order.

  • ▪ If you clone HDD to larger disk, you might get unallocated space after cloning, you can add unallocated space to another partition make full use of it.

A faster way to upgrade HDD to SSD without reinstalling

With the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, provided that the used space of HDD is not beyond the size of SSD, you can easily transfer all the data on HDD to smaller SSD without reinstalling Windows. But what if the used space is larger than the capacity of SSD? If you don’t care about other applications, turn to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional and it can tackle this situation via moving HDD OS-related partitions to smaller SSD. Then you can upgrade HDD to SSD without Windows reinstallation. The detailed steps to migrate OS from 500GB HDD to a smaller 256 SSD are as follows:

Step 1. Run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional and select "Migrate OS to SSD" and "Next".

Migrate OS to SSD

Step 2. Choose disk space on the SSD and click "Next".

Select Space

Step 3. Adjust the system partition on SSD as you like.


Keep the Note about how to boot from the destination disk in mind. Then, click “Finish”.

Step 4. Click “Apply” to perform the operation.

Bottom Line

When you need to upgrade your 500GB HDD to SSD and the SSD is 256GB or 250GB, you can clone 500GB HDD smaller SSD without data loss via AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. If the used space is larger than SSD, you can delete unnecessary files and uninstall extra applications before cloning and migrate only OS related partitions to SSD for upgrading to SSD without OS reinstallation. No matter which situation you are in, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is able to help you. To get to know more features of it, you can refer to its help guides.