By Ivy / Last update October 14, 2021

Backup hard drive for replacement

Assuming that your computer has only a single disk system like most of the laptops, you can use hard drive cloning software to clone your original disk to the new one connected to your computer with an SATA-to-USB cable. 

However, if you do not have an SATA-to-USB cable or adapter, you can backup hard drive to a network drive or a removable storage device, and then restore the backup to your new hard drive. To backup data before replacing hard drive, you can use Windows built-in backup tool or free backup software. Even if you do not want to all the data transferred to the new drive, with a hard drive backup, you can selectively to restore only the files that you want.

Backup for hard drive upgrade with Windows Backup

To backup data on your hard drive, you can use Backup and Restore control panel, which is available in Windows 7 and Windows 10/11. In Windows 8, you can use File History to backup files or you can use WBadmin start backup command to create an image backup of your hard drive.

To backup with Backup and Restore:

1. Type “backup” or “backup and restore” in Start Menu Search box and press Enter. In the search results, select the Backup and Restore.

2. In the Backup and Restore penal, click "Create a system image" to backup critical volumes, which means the volumes where system and program are installed. If you want to create a custom backup, you can click “Set up backup” to start the wizard.

Backup and Restore

3. Select a location to save the backup and click “Next”.

Where to Save

4. Then it will give you a summary of the backup. if no problem, click “Start Backup” to confirm and begin the backup process.

Save Backup

After the backup done, you need to create a system repair disc, which allows you to restore the backup after you install the new hard drive to your computer. When you restore Windows system image backup, the new hard drive has to be larger than the original and the two hard drives must be with the same partition style.

Backup hard drive before replacing with AOMEI Backupper

If you are familiar with Windows Backup, you may know it does have some limitations. In that case, you can find third-party backup software. That is when AOMEI Backupper come into play. 

As a free program, it allows you to backup system, disks, partitions, and files to any locations detected in File Explorer. It also gives you the ability to create bootable media with CD or USB flash drive, so you can restore when computer failed to boot.

Backup data for hard drive replacement:

1. Download and run this freeware.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

2. In its main interface, click “Backup” and choose “Disk Backup”

Disk Backup

Tips: You can also select “System Backup”, “Partition Backup”, and “File Backup” based on your needs.

3. Then choose the hard drive that needs backing up.

Add Disk

Select Disk

4. Specify the destination location where you want to keep the image backup.

Select Backup Destination

5. Click “Start Backup” to perform the backup.

Start Backup

After the backup is done, you can replace your hard drive and boot your computer from a bootable media created by AOMEI Backupper to start to restore the backup to new hard drive. If you choose to backup hard drive before replacing with AOMEI Backupper, you are also able to restore to dissimilar hardware when need be.