Why clone a hard drive to another hard drive?
Cloning a hard drive is a process of copying the complete contents of a hard drive including the (boot) files, the partition tables, and the Master Boot Record to another hard drive. It is very useful in hard disk management.
It is worth mentioning that cloning a hard disk is different from copy and paste. After you clone a hard drive to another smaller or larger hard drive, both the source disk and the destination disk can be used directly. For instance, the programs and Windows operating system can load up and run as usual like in the source disk. And you might plan to clone a hard drive to another hard drive for the following reasons:
The hard drive might fail due to many factors besides the physical damage. When it is about to fail, you can clone it to another new hard drive for replacement in case that you lose important data after the hard drive crash.
When the current hard drive is too small to meet your data storage requirements any longer, and usually pops out “low disk space” warning, you can clone hard drive to a larger hard drive for an upgrade.
This is quite useful when you want to upgrade your system disk to an advanced solid-state drive since it offers faster reading and writing speed.
If you have a batch of computers with the same configuration to be installed, but don’t want to install them one by one, you can install only one first and then clone it to another main hard drive.
On the whole, when you want to upgrade or replace the old hard drive, cloning hard disk is the easiest method of completing the task. Also, it can help make an exact hard drive backup.
Recommended software to clone hard disk to another hard disk
Now that we know the reasons of cloning a hard drive, now we will look into how to clone a hard drive to another hard drive. First of all, you have to choose a proper hard drive cloning tool. That is not an easy task since there is lots of software available. But don’t worry, we have already tried out some of them and picked out an outstanding one – AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional.
With this software, you can safely and effortlessly make an identical and uncompressed copy of a given hard drive, no matter it is a system HDD/SSD or other data disks. It provides two different disk copying methods for different user requirements.
☞If your destination hard drive is smaller than the total size of the source hard drive, but larger than the used space of the source hard drive, you can adopt “Clone Disk Quickly” method, which will clone only used sectors from hard disk to another disk.
☞If your source hard drive is encrypted with BitLocker and you prepare to upgrade it to a larger hard drive, the “Sector-by-Sector Clone” method is perfect for your needs. It will clone both unused and used sectors to the target hard disk.
Apart from cloning an entire disk, it even supports copying a specific partition from one hard drive to another drive. To clone OS partition to another disk, it develops “Migrate OS to SSD/HDD Wizard”.
How to clone a hard drive to another hard drive in Windows 10/8/7?
In this section, we will demonstrate how to clone a hard drive via AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional (working on all versions of Windows from Windows XP up to the latest Windows 10).
✍ Before proceeding, be aware:
● The cloning process will delete all data on the destination disk, so please back up data on that disk first of all if necessary.
● If you are looking to copy the system disk to another disk, you should pay attention to their respective partition tables (MBR or GPT) since you need to make a switch between UEFI and BIOS boot modes after cloning in order to boot your machine from the cloned disk.
● If the destination disk is an SSD drive, you can tick “Optimize the performance of SSD” option during the process, which can help make 4K alignment on SSD partitions.
Now follow the below steps to clone a hard drive in Windows 10/8/7 computer. It comes with a free Demo version for users to download and have a try.
Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Right click the source disk and select “Clone Disk”.
Step 2. Select an appropriate method to copy the selected disk and click “Next”.
Step 3. Select a destination disk to contain all data from the source disk, and click “Next”.
Step 4. You can adjust partition size in this window if you choose “Clone Disk Quickly” above. After everything is done, hit on “Next” to continue.
✍Here are 3 options to edit partitions on the destination hard drive.
● Clone without resizing partitions: all partition will be cloned to the target disk as the original partition size. It is available when the target disk is large enough to hold all partitions on the source disk.
● Fit partitions to entire disk: all partitions will be cloned to the target disk and take up its full capacity according to the original partition size proportion.
● Edit partitions on this disk: you can change every partition size on the target disk as you need.
Step 5. A note will appear to tell you how to boot from the cloned disk. You can read it carefully, and then click “Finish”.
Step 6. Click “Apply” to commit the pending operation.
If you are cloning system hard drive to another hard drive, to successfully boot from the destination hard drive and avoid the embarrassing moment that cloned SSD won’t boot, please do as below:
Step 1. Restart your computer, long press "F2" key (perhaps other keys like DEL) and access to the BIOS environment.
Step 2. Change the boot order and set the cloned hard drive as the first boot drive in BIOS.
Step 3. Press "Enter". Now you should boot the computer from the cloned hard disk successfully.
Now, you should know how to clone a hard drive to another hard drive in Windows 10/8/7 when it comes to transferring all data from hard drive to new hard drive.
AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional is not only able to clone hard disk to another hard disk, it can also allocate free space from one partition to another, recover deleted data/boot partition, convert system disk from MBR to GPT, or GPT to MBR without deleting existing partitions, convert dynamic to basic disk without losing data.