Clone Failing Hard Drive to Prevent Data Loss

In this essay, we will walk you through how to clone a failing hard drive in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 and transfer data without effortless with best disk cloning software - AOMEI Backupper.


By Ivy Updated on October 31, 2022

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Signs for a Failing Hard Drive

Sometimes, you may get signs that imply something bad things happened to your hard drive, these signs include:

  • Your PC shows things like slowing down very much now and then and very often after boot the system asked for disk checking.

  • Your PC has taken 25 minutes to completely boot after you have gotten three “just-in-time debugging” popups regarding I\O device errors, system crash still occurs while playing a music DVD indicating “Windows failed to start”.

  • Get blue screen of death (BSOD) errors, like your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart.

  • Find some corrupted or missing files or folders.

  • Bad sectors found on your hard disk using disk checking tool.

  • Strange noises from your hard drive.


These situations indicate that you probably have a failing hard drive and it’s time to change a new hard drive. Here comes the question, how to transfer data from a failed hard drive? The option may occur to your mind is cloning failing hard drive to another hard drive.

How to Fix Failed Hard Drive

Before cloning, to check if your hard drive is failed actually, please use the following methods:

1. Check the cables and power supply. If the Windows computer does not recognize your hard drive, please check the cables and power supply that connect the hard drive to the motherboard. Replug the cables and power supply to make them connected tight. Then check if Windows detected the hard drive in BIOS or Windows File Explorer.

2. Put Your hard drive to another computer to see if it can be detected, if it’s work, please reinstall the device drivers.

3. Fix bad sectors with Command Prompt: run an elevated command prompt, and perform the  command for all partitions on the hard disk:

chkdsk E: /f /r (it will find and repair your logical and physical issues for your hard drive, replace the E: with the appropriated drive letter )

CHKDSK Repair Bad Sectors

If the problem still exists, please transfer data from the failing hard drive.

Clone a Failing Hard Drive with AOMEI Backupper

If you still have a failing drive, the best solution to solve the problem is to clone failing hard drive to another one. Cloning hard drive means transferring everything, including Windows operating system, installed applications and personal files, as well as partitions and the hard drive layout, etc. to another hard disk, which is not the same as backing up.

In order to clone a failing hard drive successfully, a powerful disk cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Standard is a must. It supports Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP (all editions, 32-bit & 64-bit). You could easily clone failing hard drive to another external hard disk with two modes:

  • Sector by sector clone mode: This mode will help you to clone all sectors (blocks) on the failing hard drive, including the bad sectors and blank sectors, etc. The clone time will be much longer.

  • Intelligence sector mode: It enables you to clone failing hard drive to skip all bad sectors and blank sectors, only clone the used sectors to HDD or SSD.

By default, AOMEI Backupper will ignore bad sectors while cloning using Intelligence sector mode. Please download AOMEI Backupper Professional first and have it a try:

Download DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

How to clone a failing hard drive Windows 11/10/8/7

Step 1. Execute AOMEI Backupper, and click Disk Clone under Clone tab on the main console.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the failing hard drive as source disk, and click Next to continue. 

Select Disk

Step 3. Choose external HDD or SSD as destination disk to save all the data from the failed hard drive, and then click Next.

Choose Destination Disk

Step 4. Press Start Clone to start cloning failing hard drive in Windows 11/10/8/7.

Start Clone

✍If you clone hard drive to an SSD, please check SSD Alignment to optimize for SSD reading and writing speed, and its lifespan.
✍Sector by sector clone: it’s optional while clone HDD to larger HDD or SSD. Please DO NOT select this option if clone larger disk to smaller disk.
✍AOMEI Backupper Professional supprts cloning data disk and system disk, from MBR to MBR, MBR to GPT, GPT to GPT and GPT to MBR. 

Wait for about 1 hour or more, the time depending on the data capacity of the failing hard drive. Take a break and have some coffee. It will completed soon.

Another way to transfer data from the failing hard drive is that backup the failing hard drive (skip the bad sectors) with disk backup feature, and restore the disk image to the other storage device.

If the failing hard drive is a system hard disk, you could replace the cloned hard drive with the failing hard drive, and set the cloned drive as first boot device in BIOS to boot the computer normally. All the above steps are applied to clone damaged external hard drive.

Summing Up

Don’t worrry if you have a failed hard drive, clone failing hard drive to external hard drive (HDD or SSD) with AOMEI Bakcupper easily and get all your files protected, or image failing hard drive and then restore all data to another hard disk easily.

For who is running Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012, 2016, 2019, 2022 (including R2), and SBS 2003, 2008, 2011, please try AOMEI Backupper Server to enjoy more advanced features, such as command line backup/restore/clone, restore to dissimilar hardware computer, real time file sync, dynamic disk/volume clone, incremental and differential backup, etc.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.