Last Updated on September 26, 2023 by Rizwan
Why Would You Clone A Hard Drive?
Disk cloning is the process of copying all the data on a hard disk or solid state drive using hardware or software techniques. Unlike file replication, disk cloning also replicates the file system, partitions, drive metadata, and slack space on the drive. Common reasons for cloning drives are as follows.
A common use of cloned drives is for deployment. For example, a group of computers with similar hardware can be set up more quickly with a cloned configuration. In addition, while installing an operating system is quick, installing programs and ensuring configuration consistency can be time-consuming. Therefore, cloning a hard drive with Windows attempts to alleviate this management challenge.
One of the most common applications for cloning Windows hard drives is for digital forensics. The purpose of this is to ensure that data is preserved at the time of acquisition for later analysis. The technique of cloning a disk for forensic purposes is different from cloning a hard drive for other purposes. Usually, the cloning process itself cannot interfere with the data.
Cloning a Windows hard drive can be used as a backup solution by creating a copy of the data that existed at the start of the clone. Cloning can be used to recover corrupted files, such as a corrupted database.
If you are considering upgrading to a larger or faster drive, you can facilitate the upgrade by cloning your old drive. This reduces the need to manually reinstall applications, drivers, and operating systems. You can migrate from an HDD to a solid SSD.
What Do You Need for Hard Drive Cloning?
To clone a hard drive on Windows, you need to do the following preparations:
1. Check the data on the hard drive and repair bad sectors.
If you want to clone the system disk of the Windows system, you need to check and repair the bad sectors on the disk. You can only start your computer from the disk on which the operating system is installed. If you don’t have a bootable USB (or CD/DVD), or if the OS on the cloned old disk is damaged or deleted, you won’t be able to start your computer.
2. Get a new hard drive to transfer your operating system or data.
Make sure it has the correct form factor and has enough space to receive your data. Following the cloning tool provided in this post is fine if the new hard drive is not initialized.
3. Create a disk backup.
If you don’t want to lose any personal data, make a Windows 10 backup first. This way, even if something happens during the transfer, the backup will allow you to restore your computer to its previous state.
4. Disconnect all externally connected peripherals.
Disconnect devices such as USB storage devices, external monitors and printers to ensure that you can properly transfer files from the old drive to the new drive.
5. Download and install a professional disk cloning tool.
Effective disk clone software is the most important part of this tutorial. Picking the right software will help you clone your Windows hard disk easily. Here, we recommend you to use AOMEI Backupper because it is both professional and easy to use.
6. USB-SATA adapter (if needed).
This is necessary if your new SSD is connected to a laptop with only one drive bay.
Best Windows Hard Drive Cloning Tool
AOMEI Backupper, is a powerful software to clone Windows, it supports Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista with many excellent features and options, hurry up and check it out.
- Intelligent Clone – By default, it only copies used sectors, which is very convenient for cloning larger HDDs to smaller SSDs. If you have enough space on your target SSD, you can also choose Sector By Sector Clone to copy all sectors, including unused space.
- Multiple Cloning Options – In addition to Disk Clone, you can also perform System Clone, (migrating only the operating system to the target disk). Partition Clone can also be performed when moving data partitions.
- The software also supports all popular HDDs and SSDs, such as Samsung, Western Digital, SanDisk, Kingston, Apacer, Crucial, etc.
How to Easily Clone Windows Hard Drive
After briefly understanding the tool for cloning Windows hard drive introduced to you in this article, you can download it to your computer to perform the cloning. You can refer to the following illustrated steps if you don’t know how to use it.
- Once the cloning tool is installed, run the program and go to Clone -> Disk Clone.
- Select the original hard disk as the source disk you want to clone, then click Next. Then select a destination hard drive and click Next.
- If your target disk is an SSD, remember to check the SSD Alignment. This option will speed up the read and write speed of the SSD disk. Then, click Start Clone.
Tip: How to boot from a cloned hard drive in Windows 11/10/8/7?
Change the boot order, set the cloned drive as the first boot device and boot your computer; or remove the original drive, install the cloned drive, set the boot order and boot mode, and boot from it.
This is all about how to clone Windows hard drive with the best cloning tool. AOMEI Backupper also has many advanced features, such as backup, restore, and synchronization. You can use it to backup your system, disk, partition or file, and restore hard disk image. It can provide all-round protection for your computer data or system. Hurry up and try it out.