Easiest Way to Clone HDD to SSD via USB | Step by Step

Can you clone HDD to SSD via USB? how to do it easily? Scroll down to learn more and follow a step-by-step guide to clone hard drive with secure boot.


By Ivy Updated on October 31, 2022

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The advantages of cloning HDD to SSD via USB

The USB here actually means the USB to SATA adapter. It allows you to plug external devices with SATA interface (such as hard drives and SSDs) into the USB port of your PC. Thus you can access the data of an hard drive externally and therefore clone HDD to SSD easily. Here are two scenarios for its application:

Case 1: You decide to replace old HDD (hard disk drive) with an SSD (solid state drive), then you can use an SATA to USB adapter to connect the SSD as external USB drive, and clone HDD to external SSD directly. After that, just remove the internal HDD and replace it with the cloned SSD.

Case 2: If your laptop’s hard drive has a major malfunction and Windows cannot boot up, you can remove the old drive, install an SSD with Windows installed to boot the computer, and connect the failed HDD via USB as a temporary external drive. Then you still have a decent chance to copy your files from HDD to SSD.

In either case, it's a more straightforward way to clone HDD to SSD via usb, because it eliminates the need to transfer data to a transit media first and then to the target. If the source hard drive contains OS, the cloned SSD will be bootable as well.

Now, check the following contents to make preparations for hard disk upgrade.

Preparations for cloning hard drive to SSD via USB

Except for USB adapter, you need to check or prepare some others things. If your computer is a desktop, things will be much easier. If your computer is a laptop, please think it over seriously.

1. Get secure access to internal hard drive. The hard disk clone will lose its meaning if you cannot disassemble the internal hard drive and replace it with SSD. If you are not sure, you can consult with laptop manual or contact with computer manulfacturer for support.

2. Choose a right SSD for replacement. Most laptops have 2.5-inch drive with 7or 9.5mm thickness, and different interfces, such as, SATA, NVMe. Just confirm your laptop manual and then purchase a right SSD.

3. Create a disk backup for disaster recovery. If you have done a in-depth research online, you may already know that there are many examples of cloned SSD won't boot. To avoid this situation, a backup is necessary. 

More powerful SSD cloning software 

To clone HDD to SSD using USB adapter, SSD cloning software is needed. Here, AOMEI Backupper Professional is highly recommended. It's simple and easy to understand, even for novice. Also, it has many outstanding features: 

  • Clone the entire hard drive or only selected partitions as per your needs.

  • Clone large HDD to smaller SSD with its intelligent clone. This software is very flexible and will only clone the used space of hard drive if you don't tick "Sector by sector clone". This is a big headache for many users, because only a few disk cloning software can make this.

  • Clone all sectors whether used or not via "Sector by sector clone". This feature can make an exact copy of an entire disk without any omission, but you need to make sure the destination disk is larger than or equal to source disk.

  • Accelerate the target SSD with "SSD Alignment" while cloning hard drive to SSD or cloning SSD to larger SSD. This feature once again enhance the reading and writing speed of SSDs as well as extend SSD’s lifespan.

  • User-friendly GUI. An intuitive interface can help you clone disk easily and quickly without extra skill required.

To try it out, you can download AOMEI Backupper Professional here and follow the guide below to clone HDD to external SSD, clone SSD to external drive, etc.

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

How to clone HDD to SSD over USB (simple steps)

To clone HDD to SSD over USB adapter with the SSD cloning software - AOMEI Backupper, follow the steps below. 

Step 1. Connect SSD via SSD-to-USB adapter and make sure it can be detected on your computer.

Connect SSD

Step 2. Launch AOMEI Backupper, and select “Disk Clone” under the “Clone” tab.

Disk Clone


Step 3. Select your HDD as source disk, then click “Next”.

Select Disk

Step 4. Select SSD as destination disk, then click “Next” to continue.

Choose Destination Disk

Step 5. In this window, you can preview the operation result. Then, tick "SSD Alignment" and tap on “Start Clone” to begin the operation. Wait for the process to complete and then click “Finish”. 

Start Clone

More useful features you can enjoy in this software:
Edit Partitions: This feature is mainly used when cloning disk to larger disk. Usually, after cloning, the source disk and destination disk has the same disk space, used space and free space. That's because there is some unallocated space left at the end of destination disk and you cannot see or use it. To make full use of the space on destination disk, you need to adjust the partition size of destination disk via "Edit Partitions".
Clone GPT system disk to MBR: some cloning software won't allow you to clone disks with different partition styles, but AOMEI Backupper will. And the cloned disk can boot into Windows successfully after changing boot mode in BIOS. 
System Clone: This feature is used to clone only OS in Windows 11/10/8/7. Compared with disk clone, it saves much disk space.

In this way, you can not only clone HDD to external SSD, but also clone external hard drive to internal successfully.

What's more, this software is also an M.2 SSD cloner that can help you clone M.2 SSD to M.2 SSD. You can also use it as USB bootable cloning software to clone a bootable USB drive.

Alternative way to clone hard drive to SSD via USB

Except for SSD clonig software, AOMEI Backupper is also a powerful backup and restore software, which can be a great alternative to clone HDD to SSD via USB.  

But this way need two steps, first create a disk backup (or system backup) and then restore it to SSD. Please remember that backup only works after restoration. To prevent a sudden boot failure, you may create bootable disk in advance, so you can restore/clone HDD to SSD via bootable USB.

For details, please refer to image Windows 10 to SSD.



As you can see, AOMEI Backupper Professional can help you clone HDD to SSD via USB effortlessly. And it also supports cloning HDD to Samsung SSD, replace hard drive in ASUS laptop, clone hard drive in Windows 10, etc.

By the way, it's also an excellent backup and restore tool, which can acheive the same effect as clone feature. With it, you can backup entire hard drive, selected partitions, and selected files. Just give it a try and it will become your best assistant in helping you protect your PC data.

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.