Why clone a hard drive to another hard drive?
Quite different from "copy and paste", cloning a hard drive is to copy all contents of a hard drive including the (boot) files, the partition tables, and the Master Boot Record to another hard drive. Afterward, both the source disk and the destination disk can be used directly. The OS and programs load up and run as they work in the source disk. And you might need to clone a hard drive to another hard drive for the following reasons:
1. Replace the failing hard drive with a good one: when your current old hard drive is about to fail, you can clone it to another new hard drive for replacement in case that you lose important data during the hard drive crash.
2. Upgrade to a larger hard drive: when the current hard drive is too small to hold new data, and usually pops out “low disk space” warning, you can clone hard drive to a larger hard drive for an upgrade.
3. Upgrade a mechanical hard drive to an SSD: if your OS is running slow on the traditional HDD, you can clone it an advanced solid-state drive to enjoy much faster reading and writing speed.
4. Install the same Windows onto several computers: if you have a batch of computers with the same configuration to be installed, but don’t want to install them one by one, you can install only one first and then clone it to other main hard drives.
Therefore, learning how to clone a hard drive to another hard drive is of great importance, which is exactly what we will talk about next.
Best software to clone hard drive to a larger/smaller hard drive
To clone hard disk to another hard disk, the easiest way is to use a professional hard drive clone tool. After lots of research, we found that AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is a great choice. This software works well on all editions of Windows 10/8/7 and Windows XP/Vista (32-bit and 64-bit). It provides two different disk copying methods for different user requirements.
✿Clone Disk Quickly: If your destination hard drive is smaller than the total size of the source hard drive, but larger than the used space of the source hard drive, you can adopt this method, which will clone only used sectors from hard disk to another disk.
✿Sector-by-Sector Clone: If your source hard drive is encrypted with BitLocker and you prepare to upgrade it to a larger hard drive, this method is perfect for your needs. It will clone both unused and used sectors to the target hard disk.
Apart from cloning an entire disk, it is even able to clone partition to another drive.
Tutorial: clone a hard drive to another hard drive in Windows PC
In this section, we will demonstrate how to clone a hard drive to another hard drive via AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.
Before proceeding, be aware:
①The cloning process will delete all data on the destination disk, so please back up data on that disk first of all if necessary.
②If you are looking to copy the system disk to another disk, you should pay attention to their respective partition tables (MBR or GPT) since you need to make a switch between UEFI and BIOS boot modes after cloning in order to boot your machine from the cloned disk.
③If the destination disk is an SSD drive, you can tick “Optimize the performance of SSD” option during the process, which can help make 4K alignment on SSD partitions.
This software comes with a free Demo version for users to download and have a try.
Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right click the source disk and select “Clone Disk”.
Step 2. Select an appropriate method to copy the selected disk and click “Next”. If you are cloning a large hard disk to a smaller one, choose the first option, please.
Step 3. Select a destination disk to contain all data from the source disk, and click “Next”.
Step 4. You can adjust partition size in this window if you choose “Clone Disk Quickly” above. After everything is done, hit on “Next” to continue.
①Clone without resizing partitions: all partition will be cloned to the target disk as the original partition size. It is available when the target disk is large enough to hold all partitions on the source disk.
②Fit partitions to entire disk: all partitions will be cloned to the target disk and take up its full capacity according to the original partition size proportion.
③Edit partitions on this disk: you can change every partition size on the target disk as you need.
Step 5. A note will appear to tell you how to boot from the cloned disk. You can read it carefully, and then click “Finish”.
Step 6. Click “Apply” to commit the pending operation.
If you are cloning system hard drive to another hard drive, to successfully boot from the destination hard drive and avoid the embarrassing moment that cloned SSD won’t boot, please do as below:
Step 1. Restart your computer, long press "F2" key (perhaps other keys like DEL) and access to the BIOS environment.
Step 2. Change the boot order and set the cloned hard drive as the first boot drive in BIOS.
Step 3. Press "Enter". Now you should boot the computer from the cloned hard disk successfully.
Further info: if you want to clone only C drive to another hard drive, you can try its “Migrate OS to SSD/HDD Wizard”, which only transfer OS partition to another hard drive and allows you to boot from it smoothly.
Now, you should know how to clone a hard drive to another hard drive in Windows 10/8/7 when it comes to transferring all data from hard drive to new hard drive. Apart from cloning hard disk, the software can also allocate free space from one partition to another, recover deleted data/boot partition, convert system disk between MBR and GPT without deleting existing partitions, convert dynamic to basic disk without losing data. If you are cloning Windows Server hard drive, the AOMEI Partition Assistant Server can satisfy you best.