By Emily / Last Updated May 8, 2021

Why need the hard drive cloner?

Hard disk cloning software is an application that can perfectly clone every bit of information from one hard drive to another hard drive. It allows you to make a full and failthful copy of the source disk, so that you can swap it out for the clone when the source disk fails. Then you don’t need to completely reinstall system and software, and continue to work more quickly. Besides, cloning a hard drive is also useful when you look to upgrade your hard drive to a larger disk, to a different type disk such as from a mechanical hard drive (HDD) to a solid state drive (SSD). Either way, hard drive cloning software is necessary.

Best free hard drive cloner for Windows 10/8/7

Searching online, you will find lots of different disk cloning software. Among all options, the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard can be the best free one for Windows 10, 8, 7 and Windows XP, Vista users. It has the “Disk Clone Wizard”, allowing you to clone a hard drive via the following two different methods:

1. Clone Disk Quickly: clone only the used sectors from the source disk to the destination disk, and enable you to clone larger disk to a smaller disk as long as the target disk has enough space to hold all used sector from the original disk.

2. Sector by Sector Clone: clone both used and unused sectors to the destination disk, so the target disk must be equal to, or larger than the source disk. But this method can help clone BitLocker drive and clone a hard drive with bad sectors.

Therefore, you can choose an appropriate method based on your actual requirements and situation. Besides, you can also boot from the destination disk after clone. Now, it’s time to download the free hard drive cloner and learn how to clone a disk.

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Steps to clone a hard drive in Windows

To clone a hard drive via the recommended free disk cloning software, first connect the second hard drive to your computer and ensure it is detected successfully, secondly, back up important data on the disk since all data will be erased during the disk cloning process.

Note: For cloning system hard drive, the free Standard version only supports cloning MBR to MBR disk. If you are cloning MBR to the GPT detination disk, you can first convert GPT disk to MBR first, or upgrade to Professional, which can clone MBR to GPT, GPT to GPT and GPT to MBR.

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Select the hard drive you want to clone and choose “Disk Clone” on the left side.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Choose a proper disk clone method and click on “Next”. Here we select the first one.

Clone Method

Step 3. Select the destination disk and click on “Next”.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. Then a mini window will pop out and inform you of the data loss. If everything important has been moved to a safe location, click “Yes” to confirm the operation.

Yes

Step 5. Here, you can edit partitions on the destination disk and click on “Next”.

Edit Disk

Step 6.Back to the main interface, click “Apply” and “Proceed” to submit the pending operation.

Proceed

If you plan to clone the system disk, to boot from the cloned hard drive, you have to take the following extra steps:

1. Restart your computer. During the initialization process, long press ESC, delete, F2 or other specific keys to enter BIOS environment.

2. Access to Boot tab. System devices will appear in order of priority. Move the cloned disk to the top of boot sequence list.

4. Save and exit the BIOS setup utility. Then your computer will restart with the changed settings.

If you are cloning MBR system disk to GPT, or cloning GPT system disk to MBR, you also need to change boot mode between Legacy BIOS and UEFI/EFI at last.

Summary

With the best free hard drive cloner-AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, you can easily clone a hard drive in Windows 10, 8, 7 computer. Besides that, this freeware can also help you move partition, merge partition, clone partition, transfer only OS drive to SSD, check partition for bad sectors, rebuid MBR, and more. If you are using Windows Server 2019/2016/2012/2008/2003, the AOMEI Partition Assistant Server can satisfy you better.