By Dervish / Last Updated August 7, 2023

Why clone hard drive?

Clone hard disk is the process of migrating all data of one hard drive to another hard drive. In other words, it is a copy of the old hard drive. Cloning a hard drive keeps all data intact and saves a lot of time and effort compared to a fresh installation.

Usually, people want to clone hard drive in Windows 10 or Windows 11 for the following reasons:
 Replace Hard Drive with SSD for faster reading and writing speed.
 Replace the failed hard drive with a good one.
Transfer all data from one hard drive to another for backup.

Hard Drive Speed

What do you need to prepare for cloning hard drive?

 Before cloning, we need to do some preparations to make sure that cloning can be worked successfully.

▶ Download the software to clone hard drive for free

To clone hard drive to SSD or HDD, an excellent cloning software is necessary. I suggest you use AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, which is the market-leading cloning freeware on Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7.

It is not only completely free, but also very easy to use, which is very suitable for beginners. It provides two cloning methods: Clone Disk Quickly and Sector-by-Sector Cloning. The former only clones the used space on the hard drive, while the latter clones all sectors on the hard disk.

In addition, it has many other popular features. For example, merge partitions to extend the size of partitions, wipe hard drive for reuse, convert data disk from MBR to GPT, and more.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download
For cloning a system disk, please upgrade to Professional edition.
If the PC you are going to clone cannot start normally, you can even clone hard drive from boot.
If you are running with Windows Server, you can turn to Server Edition, which is designed for Windows Server 2022, 2019, 2016, 2012(R2), 2008(R2), 2003 users. 

▶ Install the new hard drive

Then, you need to connect the new hard drive to the computer. Here, we take install M.2 SSD as an example:

◥ If your computer has only one M.2 SSD slot, connect it to the computer via an M.2 SSD to USB adapter and make sure it is connected correctly.

◥ If your PC has multiple M.2 SSD slots, do the following:

▾ How to install M.2 SSD on the desktop

Step 1. Use a screwdriver to open the case. Once you find the location of the M.2 slot, insert the M.2 SSD.

Install M.2 SSD

Step 2. After inspection, replace the cover.

Open It

▾ How to install M.2 SSD on the laptop

Step 1. Use a screwdriver to remove the laptop back cover.

Remove the Back

Step 2. Find the location of the M.2 SSD slot, insert the M.2 SSD into the corresponding connector, and make sure the connection is firm.

Insert SSD

Step 3. Set screws. Then install the back cover.

Reinstall the Computer Back Cover

▶ Initialize the hard drive

After connecting the hard drive to the PC, you need to initialize the hard drive if it is new. Otherwise, it will not be recognized by Windows.

Step 1. Download and install AOMEI Partition Assistant first. After opening it, right-click the new hard drive and select "Initialize Disk".

Initialize Disk

Step 2.  To avoid changing the boot mode, set the partition style (MBR or GPT) to be the same as the old hard drive.

Choose Disk Style

How to clone hard drive and boot from it successfully

In this part, I will show you the specific steps of cloning hard drive to SSD with AOMEI Partition Assistant. 

Warning: All data on the destination disk will be erased during the clone, so please back up anything required before clone.

Step 1. Click the "Clone" button at the top panel.  Then select "Clone Disk".

Disk Copy

Step 2. In the pop-up window, select disk clone method and click "Next" to continue. In our case, we choose "Clone Disk Quickly".

Copy Disk Quickly

Step 3. Disk 1 is selected as the source disk by default. Choose the target disk (a new hard drive or SSD to receive clone contents of the source disk) and click "Next" to continue.

Select Destination

Step 4. The next page tells you how to boot the operating system from the destination disk. Then, edit partitions on the destination disk if you want to.

Edit Disk

Step 5. You can preview the operations you did. To save the changes, you must click "Apply" on the toolbar.


Step 6. After clicking Apply, a window will pop up, listing the "Pending Operations". Confirm the operations you did and click "Proceed" to execute.


If cloned the system disk, you should boot Windows from the new hard drive. If there is only one slot, you can boot the computer after replacing the old hard drive with a new hard drive. But if you want to keep both the old hard drive and the new hard drive, you should change the boot drive.

Select Boot Drive


This is how we do to clone hard drive to HDD or SSD easily and safely. No matter you need to upgrade to a larger storage capacity, safeguard crucial data, or seamlessly transfer your system to a new drive, AOMEI Partition Assistant always provide a reliable solution. You can download it to try more advanced features.