By Bryce / Last Updated May 28, 2020

Need to clone hard disk drive

“I am going to replace the pre-installed 1TB HDD with a new 500GB SSD for faster running speed. I wanna clone the entire HDD with OS to the SSD drive as I don’t want to make a fresh install of Windows. What is the most reliable HDD cloning software for Windows 10? Thanks?”

It’s common to clone HDD to SSD because of SSD’s merits like faster reading/writing speed, noiselessness, etc. And it’s not rare to copy HDD to larger HDD for more disk space, especially when issues like Low Disk Space warning appears. Of course, you may want to clone HDD to another drive to make a duplicate of the HDD in use for backup.

How do I pick up proper HDD cloning software?

Since Windows 10, 8, or 7 has no built-in disk copy tool to clone the HDD to another drive, it’s necessary to ask the help of third-party hard disk drive cloning software for Windows PC. To select a reliable and powerful one among lots of HDD copy tools, here come some references.

① Bootable clone: In many cases, the HDD you plan to clone holds Windows system and you want to boot OS from the target drive after cloning. Thus, a good disk copy tool should support duplicating system HDD to another drive with secure boot.
② Support cloning to hard drive of different sizes: You may upgrade large HDD to smaller SSD or replace the current HDD with a larger one. Therefore, the selected HDD copy software should be able to copy an HDD to another disk of different sizes.
③ Easy-to-use: The aim of employing an HDD clone tool is to save time and energy for reinstalling. If it is very complicated to handle, why not reinstall your OS and programs?

Based on those standards, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard (PA Standard) is my choice, a copy tool for Windows 10/8.1/8/7, XP, and Vista. When it clones system HDD, hidden boot-related partition will be cloned as well, ensuring the target drive is bootable. It can skip unused sectors while cloning, enables you to clone large HDD to a smaller drive if the size of the used space on the source HDD is not larger than the capacity of the target disk. It has a user-friendly graphic interface and offers onscreen instruction.

Now, free download the HDD cloning software and take a closer look at how it copies HDD to another hard drive.

Note: To clone non-system HDD, PA Standard supports clone MBR to MBR, GPT to GPT, MBR to GPT, or GPT to MBR disk. If you clone system disk, PA Standard supports only MBR to MBR. To clone MBR system disk to GPT or clone GPT disk to MBR/GPT disk, you need to upgrade to its Professional edition.

Easily and effectively clone HDD in Windows PC

After hard disk drive cloning software free download, it’s time to follow those steps to complete HDD to SSD or HDD copy (Take copying large HDD to smaller SSD as an example).

✍ Preparations before cloning:

  • Connect the new SSD or HDD to the Windows-based PC and ensure that it can be detected by the OS.

  • To copy HDD faster, you can uninstall unnecessary applications and delete extra files at first (omissible).

  • Enter Disk Management and initialize the new hard drive.

  • Back up them if there is necessary data on your destination disk as this operation will erase all data on the target one. (all data will be intact on the source disk after cloning)

Step 1. Install and fire up the cloning software. Go to All Tools and Disk Clone Wizard.

Step 2. In this window, choose Clone Disk Quickly as you need to clone only used space on the source disk.

Note: If you need to clone BitLocker encrypted hard drive or clone hard drive with bad sector, you need to choose Sector-by-Sector Clone.

Step 3. Locate the old HDD and choose it as the source disk.

Step 4. Choose the smaller SSD as the target disk. Check Optimize the performance of SSD to make partition alignment.

Step 5. Choose one between the two available options. And keep in mind the Note about how to boot computer from the destination disk after cloning.

Step 6. Click Apply and Proceed to commit HDD copy operation. Or you can click Discard to cancel this operation if you have chosen a wrong disk.

Final words

Find out proper HDD cloning software and you can achieve HDD to SSD or larger HDD replacement without Windows & apps reinstallation effortlessly. In fact, apart from cloning the entire disk, AOMEI Partition Assistant allows you to migrate OS related partitions only to SSD or HDD, extend system partition without losing data, and so on.