By Bryce / Last Updated March 16, 2020

The reasons for cloning PC hard drive

To clone PC means that you will make a duplication of the PC disk in use, which will be fairly useful if you are in one of the following conditions:

1. Owning a PC that comes with a hard disk drive, you want to replace it with a newly purchased SSD. In the meantime, you want to keep all apps and OS on the new drive.
2. Your desktop or laptop runs slowly as it doesn’t have enough space. To solve the issue, you plan to upgrade to a larger disk. But you still want to hold your old operating system and programs.
3. Out of some events, such as system files damaged, you failed to boot your PC. And if you already have made a copy of your PC hard drive, you can use it without restoring.

To complete disk to disk copy in your PC, it’s necessary to employ a third-party PC disk clone tool. Since there are lots of cloning software in the market, it’s important to find a proper one.

How to choose the right PC clone software?

To pick up proper cloning software for PC, you can refer to the following requirements:

★ Easy-to-use: It should be rather simple to handle, even for a green hand. If a tool is too complicated to use, no one will want to use it even it has strong functions.
★ Considerate: It is supposed to tackle different situations, such as cloning disk to smaller SSD, cloning SSD to a larger one, etc.
★ Reliable: A system disk contains boot.ini, NTLDR, etc. When a good disk copy for PC clones system drive, these files should be copied at the same time. Thus, you can boot from the new disk after cloning.

Here I’ll introduce a free cloning software for Windows PC, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It can work with Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, XP and Vista and can meet the three standards aforementioned. Besides, it’s recommended out of the highlights:

  • It offers sector-by-sector clone, allowing you to clone a hard drive with bad sector.

  • It has “fit partitions to the target disk” option during cloning, thus the partitions on the source disk will adjust to the target disk automatically.

  • It allows you to clone only OS related partitions (data partition not included) from source disk to destination one.

  • It enables you to make partition alignment during cloning if the target drive is SSD, which can improve SSD’s performance.

Clone PC drive to smaller SSD step-by-step

Now, download the free pc clone software and have a closer look at how it works (Taking cloning HDD to smaller SSD in PC as an example).

Step 1. Connect the new SSD to your PC and make sure it can be detected. Install and run the software. Click All Tools and Disk Clone Wizard.

Step 2. Since here you are cloning hard drive to smaller SSD, choose Clone Disk Quickly to clone only used sectors on the source disk.

  • Clone Disk Quickly (Recommended): Only clones the used sectors and allows you to adjust partition size. The space of destination disk can be smaller than source disk but has to be larger than or equal to the used space of source disk.

  • Sector-by-Sector Clone: Copies every sector of the disk and doesn’t permit you to adjust partition size. The space of target disk has to be equal to or larger than the space of source disk.

Step 3. Choose the system hard drive as your source disk.

Step 4. Select your target disk. Check “Optimize the performance of SSD…”. If you clone hard to HDD, uncheck it.

Step 5. As the source disk is larger than the target one, there are only two options available for you to choose. Choose Fit partitions to the entire disk or choose Edit partitions on this disk.

A Note about how to boot after clone appears. Keep it in mind and click Finish.

Step 6. You’ll be back to the home interface. Click Apply and Proceed to execute the operation.

Note: When cloning data disk, AOMEI Partition Assistant supports MBR to MBR/GPT, GPT to MBR/GPT; But when cloning system disk, it only supports MBR to MBR. You can upgrade to Professional version to clone MBR system disk to GPT or GPT system disk to MBR/GPT.

After cloning, if your PC has only one drive bay, replace the old drive with the cloned SSD. If your PC has more than one drive bays, you can keep the old hard drive as storage device and SSD as boot disk. To boot from the cloned SSD, you need to enter BIOS to change the priority to SSD. After booting from SSD successfully, you can format the old hard drive to free up disk space.


Obviously, with the great free PC clone software, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, you can copy disk to another one without any efforts in Windows 10/8.1/8.7, XP or Vista-based PC. What’s more, this software owns many other useful functions, such as move partition, convert NTFS to FAT32, and so on.