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How to Copy Partition or Disk Sector by Sector

With AOMEI Partition Assistant, you can clone a hard drive, or clone partition sector by sector. Its "Disk Copy Wizard" and "Partition Copy Wizard" comes with the "Sector-by-Sector Copy" method.

AOMEI Post By AOMEI Updated June 27, 2024

Overview of sector by sector copy

A sector-by-sector copy ensures that the destination partition/hard disk is exactly the same as the source partition/hard disk. It will copy all the sectors on the partition/disk no matter whether it is used or not, even if the sector is blank or it is a logically bad sector. As a result, the target will be equal in size to the disk being copied after the process. This feature is very practical when one wants to make an entire clone for one partition or disk.

How to copy disk or partition sector by sector

Before you do

  • Download and install Partition Assistant on a Windows computer.
  • When you do sector-by-sector copy for a partition, you must store the copy to an unallocated space. If there is no unallocated space, you could delete or shrink other partitions to create an unallocated space. (Note: Sector-by-sector copy for disk needs no unallocated space.)
  • The destination partition/disk should be equal to or larger than the source partition/disk.
  • If there are important data on the destination drive/partition, please back up or transfer the vital document from the destination partition/disk because they will be overwritten after sector by sector copy.

To clone a disk or partition sector by sector is a very useful feature. If you would like to use the feature, please first download and install AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional, Server, or advanced versions.

How to copy with sector by sector step by step

1. Launch AOMEI Partition Assistant,  click the "Clone" main tab and select "Clone Disk". (You can also right-click the Disk you want to clone and select the "Clone Disk" tool to run the disk clone.)
Tips: "Sector by Sector Copy" will copy not only the used sector but also the unused sector, so it will take longer time than "Copy Disk Quickly" and "Copy Partition Quickly".
 

Copy Disk And Partition Wizard

2. Look at the Partition copy wizard, there are two options - "Copy Partition Quickly" and "Sector by Sector Copy". Choose the second option and click "Next" to continue.
Tip: Since disk copy shares the same operating steps as partition copy, we will only demonstrate partition copy through the rest of the steps.
If you select the "Sector-by-Sector" Clone, it is unable to adjust the partition size on the destination disk.
 
Disk Copy:

Sector By Sector Disk Copy

Partition Copy:

Sector By Sector Partition Copy

3. You will get a new window as below. Choose a source partition and then click "Next". (As you can see from the following screenshot, I choose the D: partition as the source partition.)

Select Source Partition

4. Choose a destination partition. You can only choose an unallocated space as the destination partition. Click "Next" to go to the next step.

Select Destination Space

5. Put the mouse on the G: partition, and you will see a cross arrow. You can specify the location of the G: partition by dragging it left or right. Click "Finish" to continue.

Finished

6. You can preview the disk cloning operation by viewing the "Pending Operations". To commit the "Pending Operations", please click "Apply" and "Proceed".

Apply

7. The cloning process will start and just wait for the process to finish.

Conclusion

Following the above steps to copy partition or disk with sector by sector mode, you can make a complete clone so that the used space in the destination partition or disk will be exactly same as the source one.

This feature is mainly used when you would like to entirely clone a partition or disk space, both used and unused. It is specially useful if you need to upgrade a HDD to an SSD without reinstalling the operating system and all applications, especially if the target drive is the same size as the source target.

With Partition Assistant, you can also use the  tool Migrate OS to easily migrate your OS to HDD or SSD to.

 

Notes:

  • If you copy the system partition/disk, the operation might need to be completed under the Windows PE or PreOS Mode.
  • Before cloning the system disk sector by sector to another disk, of which the disk type is different from the source disk, you have to ensure your computer motherboard supports changing boot mode from Legacy to UEFI (MBR to GPT clone ), or UEFI to Legacy (GPT to MBR clone). Otherwise, the cloned disk cannot boot afterward.

 

FAQs:

Q: Is it able to change or edit partitions on the destination drive with the Sector by Sector Copy?

A: It will be impossible to resize the partition during the cloning process if you select Sector by Sector Clone. If you would like to make full use of the larger destination partition/drive, you can manually resize partition on the destination partition/drive after the cloning is finished.

Q: How long will it take to finish the Sector by Sector Copy?

A: It will take longer to do a Sector by Sector Copy than a Quick Copy. The time to complete the copy depends on the size of the source partition/disk. Besides, the following aspects can also influence the speed: USB connection, bad sectors on the source or target disk, old computer configuration, etc.