By Emily / Last Updated March 19, 2021

"Can I clone a larger HDD to a smaller HDD?"

“Recently, I bought a new HDD of 250GB, planning to replace my old HDD (500GB in total, leaving 300GB free space) with Windows 10 installed. So I want to clone all the things into my new hard drive. Then I can boot computer from the new HDD as usual. But the problem is that the new HDD is smaller than the old one, so can I clone 500GB HDD to 250GB HDD?”

Recommended software to clone HDD to smaller HDD in Windows PC

When it comes to cloning hard drive, you might just know how to clone hard drive to larger drive when you meet low disk space warning. But can you clone a bigger hard drive to smaller drive? Yes, you can do that when you get a powerful disk cloning software.

Here AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is highly recommended for Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista users. This tool supports copying only used space from one disk to another, that is to say, as long as the used space of the source disk is smaller than the total available space of destination disk, you can clone a larger HDD to a smaller HDD or SSD drive.

Therefore, if you are experiencing the same situation as the user in the first section: the used space of the old hard drive is around 200GB and the new hard drive size is 250GB, you can clone the larger HDD to another smaller HDD or solid-state drive via AOMEI Partition Assistant.

Simple steps to clone larger HDD to smaller HDD in Windows 10/8/7

Before you clone bigger HDD to smaller HDD or SSD in Windows PC, please check out the following notices:

Connect the smaller HDD to your computer and make it is detected successfully. And back up crucial data on it first since all content will be deleted during the cloning process.
You can uninstall programs &application you don’t need any more on the source HDD to make it smaller to easily fit the smaller HDD/SSD. Also, less data can shorten the entire cloning process.
If you plan to clone MBR system disk to GPT or clone GPT system disk to MBR, you have to enter BIOS to change boot mode between BIOS and UEFI after clone, so that the Windows OS can boot from the cloned hard drive successfully.
If you don’t want to change boot mode afterward, you can make the destination disk's partition style as same as source disk's (MBR or GPT) in advance. AOMEI Partition Assistant also allows you to convert MBR and GPT without deleting volumes.

Now you can download the Demo version and learn how to copy large HDD to smaller HDD via AOMEI Partition Assistant Pro.

Download Pro Demo Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Launch the hard drive cloning software. In the main interface, click “All Tools” and go to “Disk Clone Wizard”.

Disk Copy Wizard

Step 2. In this window, you have two copying methods. In order to copy a larger HDD to a smaller HDD, please choose “Clone Disk Quickly” which only copies the used space of the source disk. Then click “Next”.

Copy Disk Quickly

Step 3. Select the source disk you want to clone to the smaller disk. And click “Next”. Here we choose disk 1 (system disk and 931GB) as an example.

Select Source Disk

Step 4. Select the destination disk (350GB HDD, smaller than 931GB HDD) to contain all data on the source disk. Then a note on data loss on the target disk will appear, click “Yes” to close it and then click “Next” to continue.

Select Destination Disk

Note: if you are cloning larger HDD to smaller SSD, you can tick the "Optimize the performance of SSD" to improve its reading and writing performance.

Step 5. Here, you can fit partitions or edit partitions on the target disk. The first option is unclickable since the target disk is smaller than the source disk.

Edit Disk

Step 6. Then you can see a note about how to boot from cloned disk. Click “Finish” after you read it.


Step 7. Back to the main interface, click “Apply” to perform the operation. Since it involves the system partition, it will be performed under PreOS mode, and a reboot is necessary.


Boot from cloned HDD: after you have cloned bigger hard drive to smaller HDD/SSD as above, you have to reboot your computer, long-press F1, F2, ESC or other specific keys to enter BIOS, access to Boot tab, and move the cloned smaller disk to the top of the boot order list. Then you can boot computer from destination disk.


With AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, you can effortlessly clone HDD to smaller HDD or SSD and boot PC from cloned hard drive afterward. Besides, its “Migrate OS to SSD Wizard” also allows you to clone only Windows 10/8/7 partition to smaller HDD and SSD drive when necessary.

After cloning, you can format or wipe the old HDD for reuse. Moreover, this versatile disk manager software can even help you to allocate free space from one partition to another, split partition without losing data, extend NTFS system partition without rebooting computer, etc. Definitely worth your trying.