"Can I clone just the operating system?"
"My Windows 10 OS runs on a SanDisk HDD, but it begins to fail. So I bought a new SDD hoping that I would be able to clone the OS from the failing hard drive to it. But I have never done this (copying OS from one drive to another) before. So anyone can tell how can I copy OS from one drive to another? Or is there any great OS cloning software? Thanks!"
Suffer from OS running slow or failing and want to clone the old hard drive to a new HDD or SSD? Buy a new computer and want to enjoy the OS environment on the old one? Plan to make a system backup in case of unexpected disasters? In either situation, you can clone the OS to the destination location without reinstalling Windows 10 system & installed applications. Thus, you will need a proper system cloning tool.
Best free OS cloning software for Windows 10, 8, 7
The OS (system) cloning software, as its name implies, is to clone the original operating system from one disk to another storage device such as a hard disk drive (HDD), solid-state drive (SSD) or other external hard drives. Then you can obviate the need to reinstall OS from scratch, which can be a tedious process especially when the Windows activation keys are not available any longer. If you have no idea on how to identify a reliable OS cloning utility, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.
This software is completely free without any bundled software. Its "Migrate OS to SSD Wizard" can clone Windows 10/8/7 OS from one drive to another hard drive (HDD or SSD). Besides, it also allows you to:
①Copy OS to a smaller hard drive as long as the available space on the destination disk is equal to, or larger than the used space of the current OS partition or disk.
②Align partitions on SSD during the OS clone process to optimize the data writing and reading performance of the destination SSD.
③Boot your OS from the target disk after the OS clone since it will copy everything necessary for system startup.
Steps to clone just OS from one hard drive to another
Now you can press the button to free download the OS cloning software and learn how to clone only OS partition to another disk in Windows PC. To clone Server OS partition, you can try AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.
①Ensure the destination disk has an unallocated space, equal or larger than used space of OS partition. If no unallocated space, create one by deleting or shrinking existing partitions.
②Back up everything important on the destination disk because this process will delete all data inside.
③Check whether there are some bad sectors or errors on the original system drive.
④The freeware only supports cloning OS from MBR to MBR disk. If you need to copy OS between MBR and GPT disks, you can upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.
Step 1. Install and run the AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Then you can get into the main interface of this software; click "Migrate OS to SSD" on the left side under Wizards. In the pop-up window, click "Next" to continue.
Step 2. In the next window, choose an unallocated space on the destination HDD or SSD, and then click "Next" to go on.
Step 3. In the pop-out window, you could resize the partition, assign a drive letter to it, or just keep default settings and click “Next”.
Step 4. A helpful note about boot problem will appear. Read it in case you might meet some boot failure problems after OS migration. Then click “Finish”.
Step 5. Click “Apply” in the main interface to start transferring operating system to a new disk.
One more step: boot from the destination disk
After copying OS from one drive to another via the free OS cloning software, now you need to insert the target disk into your computer and reboot it, change the boot order to set the PC boot from it:
1. Start your computer and keep pressing ESC, F1, F2, F8 or F10 during the initial startup screen to enter BIOS setting.
2. In the Boot option, change boot order, select new HDD/SSD as the new boot drive and save all the changes.
3. Finally, restart the computer, you should be able to see Windows OS running on your new disk without any problems.
If the cloned hard drive or SSD won't boot, you might need to check whether the system files or the Master Boot Record of the current system drive are intact.
So, with this powerful OS cloning software, you can easily copy OS partition to another hard drive as you wish. If you want to clone entire OS disk (both OS partition and other data partitions) to another disk, you can try the "Disk Clone" function. Moreover, it is far more than an OS copying utility, and it is also a free MBR to GPT converter (allowing you to convert disk between MBR and GPT without deleting existing partitions), an SD card repair tool, MBR repair tool, and more.