How do I Clone a Running Operating System?

How do I clone a running operating system? This page will show you the step-by-step guide to clone operating system while it is running via a best disk cloning software, enabling you to get it done without reinstalling Windows.


By Hedy / Updated on May 12, 2023

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Can I clone my running operating system?

"I have on my PC an Intel 120 GB HDD (the Windows drive) and a 1 TB HDD. I want to migrate my OS to another SSD and I have looked for cloning software but found only software that requires you to boot the system using their bootable images. Can I just clone the operating system while Windows is running, than simply clone the Intel HDD to a new SSD and use the new disk as the boot drive? If yes, do you know any good software for doing it?"

Generally speaking, it's a wise way to make your computer faster or protect your Windows system from sudden system crashes (like the white screen of death) by cloning or migrating your OS to another SSD. According to the feedback from global users, the biggest problem you may encounter is that the cloning process always stops you from accessing to your computer when your OS is being cloned. The only thing you can do is to wait until the long-time, slow, and sometimes sluggish clone process completes, which may severely affect your work progress.

To this end, how do I clone a running operating system is merging as the main need for numerous users when it refers to OS migration. If you want to know the answer, scroll down to get the step-by-step tutorial.

Best disk cloning software to clone a running operating system

If you want to transfer your running OS to SSD, it's vital for you to figure out the fact that Windows built-in "Mirror" feature only allows you to mirror the whole C drive rather than to only clone system and OS-related files to a new location. Likewise, migrating OS is not like copying ordinary folders, so it can't be done by simple "Copy & Paste" feature.

Therefore, to keep your OS safe during the cloning process, you'd better find reliable and professional software to help you. Among all the similar disk cloning tools in the market, AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, a powerful partition manager, stands out for its significant merits in cloning a running operating system from HDD to SSD in Windows. Let's see in detail.

Firstly, it has "hot clone" feature to make sure all the clone process can be carried out when the Windows is online. This is a sign that shows OS migration is allowed while your operating system is running.
Secondly, it includes "Disk Clone Wizard", a feature enabling you to clone the entire hard drive (with system partition and all the other partitions on it) to a new SSD.
Thirdly, this software is easy to get started and compatible with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7, Windows XP, and Vista.
Last but not least, AOMEI software allows you to migrate OS between MBR and GPT effortlessly.

Now, you may want to download the software to figure out "how do I clone a running operating system  from HHD to SSD":

Free DownloadWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Click “Clone” on in the top toolbar, and choose “Migrate OS”.


Step 2. Select your SSD as the destination for the OS migration. If there is no unallocated space on the SSD, the "Next" button will be grayed out. And then you need to tick "I want to delete all partitions on the disk 2 to migrate system to the disk". Once checked, the "Next" button will activate, you should now click on it to continue.


Step 3. Then you can adjust the size of the system partition and change the drive letter on the new SSD.


Step 4. Read the troubleshooting guide on how to boot from the destination disk as you may need this later. Bear it in your mind and click "Finish" to go on.


Step 5. When you back to the main console, click "Apply" and then "Proceed" to transfer OS to the new SSD drive.


Now, you have gotten a copy of your original operating system on the new SSD. If you consider it as a duplicate of your operating system, it's available for you to restore your Windows when some unknown system errors occur in the future. If you see it as a new cloned OS drive, you can change the boot order and then boot from it to enjoy better computer performance.


How do I clone a running operating system? In this passage, you are recommended to use the best disk cloning software named AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to perform hot clone, so that you can migrate OS while your Windows is keeping running. To transfer OS to SSD in Windows Server, please employ AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.

As an expert in managing partitions, AOMEI software offers you lots of useful and practical functions you can use to deal with disk problems or optimize your partitions, such as moving folders from C drive to D drive, covert file system between FAT32 and NTFS, convert MBR to GPT without losing data and so on.

Hedy · Staff Editor
Hedy is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is very good at solving problems of partition management, and she wants to share all the problems she had already solved to users who met the same questions.