Cloning a hard drive is the process of copying all of the contents of one disk to another to create a full 1-to-1 clone of the previous hard drive. And everything on the cloned hard drive, including the operating system and loaded apps, will load and operate as they did on the original disk, eliminating the need to reinstall the operating system and other programs. The reasons for needing to clone a hard disk in Windows 11/10/8/7 are adequately explained here:
▶ Upgrade your current small old hard drive with a bigger new hard disk to get more space.
▶ Replace the failing hard drive with a good one to avoid data loss caused by disk failure someday.
▶ Transfer all data from one disk to another effectively for a handy backup rather than copying the file by file manually.
Freeware for cloning hard drive in Windows PC
How do you clone a hard drive in Windows 10/11? The most practical and efficient method is to utilize a reputable hard disk cloning program. We'd like to introduce you to the freeware AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. It includes the "Disk Clone Wizard" tool, which is developed specifically for cloning a hard disk drive or solid-state drive to another disk in all editions of Windows 11/10/8/7 and Windows XP/Vista (32-bit and 64-bit). It also provides the following benefits:
✩ Clone bigger hard drives to smaller SSD/HDD with the ‘Clone Disk Quickly’ method, only cloning the used sectors on the source disk. ✩ Clone deleted/lost files to the destination hard drive with the ‘Sector-by-Sector Clone’ method. ✩ Support making bootable media so that you could perform such operations without loading up the operating system. ✩ Support cloning only Windows 11/10/8/7 partition to SSD/HDD via the “Migrate OS to SSD Wizard”.
7 Steps to clone hard drive in Windows 10 for free
Now, this part will take “how to clone a hard drive with Windows 10 on it” as an example to teach you how to clone a hard drive in Windows 10 with AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard.
① For cloning a system disk, the free edition only enables you to clone MBR to an MBR disk. If you are cloning MBR boot disk to GPT disk, GPT boot disk to MBR disk, or GPT to GPT, please upgrade to Professional edition.
② For cloning the non-system disk, the free edition supports cloning MBR to GPT, GPT to GPT, and GPT to MBR.
③ All data on the destination disk will be erased during the clone, so please back up anything required before clone.
Step 1. Install and open the freeware. Choose "Disk Clone Wizard" under "All Tools" on the left-hand menu.
Step 2. Select “Clone Disk Quickly” or "Sector-by-Sector Clone" and then click ”Next”.
▸Clone Disk Quickly allows you to only copy the used space on the disk. ▸Sector-by-Sector Clone allows you to copy all the sectors of the disk whether they are in use or not.
Step 3. Choose the hard drive you want to clone as the resource disk (e.g. Disk1, the boot hard drive) and then click ”Next”.
Step 4. Select the destination disk (Disk 2) and click "Next". If you are cloning a hard drive in Windows 10 to SSD, tick the option “Optimize the performance of SSD” to improve its read and write speeds.
Step 5. If you selected the “Clone Disk Quickly”, here you can resize the partition on the target disk. Then click "Next".
Step 6. Read the subsequent boot note if necessary. Then click "Finish".
Step 7. Click "Apply" and "Proceed" to commit the pending operation.
Since we are cloning a hard drive with a system/boot partition, the operation will need to be completed using ‘PreOS Mode’. After the clone, if you want to boot a computer from the cloned drive, you may need to change the boot order in BIOS or replace the old hard drive with the new cloned one.
With the assistance of AOMEI Partition Assistant, you will be able to quickly and efficiently clone hard drive in Windows 11/10/8/7 without losing any data. This professional software also doubles up as the perfect partition manager and comes with many other amazing functions: clone a partition to another drive, merge partition, move partition, convert MBR and GPT without deleting partitions, wipe hard drive and partition completely, etc.