By Delia / Last update October 15, 2021

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About Clonezilla

Clonezilla is a free and open source hard drive cloning and imaging program. It is available in two editions Clonezilla live, which allows you to create a bootable CD/USB disk that you can boot the computers running various system (including Linux, Mac OS, Windows, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and more), and Clonezilla Server, which allows you to clone many computers over network concurrently.


Many users have tried to use Clonezilla to clone hard drive. Some of them complete the process without a scratch while the others end up with an error. Clonezilla failed to clone for many reasons, such as, the disk is too small, bad sectors or failed to find this partition in this system. Is there any way to fix it or troubleshoot?

Cause and solution: Clonezilla failed to clone error

As mentioned earlier, Clonezilla clone hard drive failed is not caused by one reason. Here we will introduce 2 main reasons and corresponding solutions below. And you will learn a stepwise guide in the next part.

Case 1. Clonezilla faile to clone due to bad sectors

Bad sectors are often the cause to cloning failure. A bad sector is a tiny cluster of storage space that cannot be used to read or write data, so likely Clonezilla failed due to bad sectors.

You can try the following command to check and fix bad sectors: sudo e2fsck -f /dev/sdxy (‚Äúx‚ÄĚ represents the drive letter and ‚Äúy‚ÄĚ the partition number). Note that the partition to be checked has to remain unmounted.

If you want to check Windows partitions (usually NTFS and FAT32 formatted), use the following: chkdsk /f.

However, if the bad sectors cannot be fixed, you can enable the advanced parameters -rescue to skip bad sectors. Then you can transfer the data that can be read and accessed from one hard drive to another.

Case 2. Clonezilla faile to clone due to disk size

If you are trying to clone a large disk to a small disk, which means some block has to be dropped in the cloning process, Clonezilla wouldn’t know which blocks to drop.

Therefore, clone hard drive failed with Clonezilla, saying "clonezilla failed to create a partition table on this disk is this disk too small". Also, you may receive the error "Clonezilla failed to find this partition in the system".

Clonezilla Destination Disk Is Too Small

To work this around, you can either shrink the source partition(s) or use a same size or larger size hard drive as destination disk.

If you really want to clone larger disk to smaller disk via Clonezilla, you can check the option "-icds" parameter to skip checking destination disk size before creating partition table in the advanced parameters.

Then, let's see how to use clonezilla to skip bad sectors or disk size in the next part.

Stepwise guide: Fix Clonezilla failed to clone because of  bad sectors or disk size

Step 1. Download and install Clonezilla, then create a live USB to boot your computer. Then, set the USB drive as the first boot option in BIOS and boot from it. You will be asked to press a key to enter BIOS, it may be different, including F2, ESC, F11, etc. 

Step 2. In the boot menu, choose the option "Clonizella live (Default settings, VGA 800x600)". Then, select "language" > "keyboard congiguration" > "Start _Clonezilla Start Clonezilla" and hit "OK" after each option.


Step 3. Select "device-device work directly from a disk or partition to a disk or partition". Then hit "OK". 

Device Device Clone

Step 4. Select "Export mode: Choose your own options" so as to use  the advanced paramether "-rescue". Then hit "OK". 

Beginner Export Mode

Step 5. Select "disk_to_local_disk" to clone system disk. Then, click "Next". 

Step 6. Select source disk and destination disk in order. Then, click "OK" later. Note the destination disk will be overwritten, please backup files on the destination disk first.

Step 7. Select "-rescue" so as to continue reading next one when disk blocks read errors.  If your problem is caused by disk size, select "-icds " instead of "-rescue" to skip checking destination disk size before creating partition table. Then, hit "OK". 

Rescue or Icds

Step 8. Select  "-sfsck" to skip checking/repairing source file system and click "OK".

Step 9. Select "Use the partition table from the source disk" and click "OK" to start clone hard drive. Type "y" to confirm you want to perfom this operation if you are asked. 

Use the Partition Table from the Source Disk

Note: If the target disk is larger, you can use the advanced parameters "-k1" to create partition table proportionally, and enable "-r" to resize the filesystem to fit partition size of target partition. Because Clonezilla will clone the "same' size of source disk to target disk and the rest of disk space on the target disk will be unallocated.

Step 10. Wait until the cloning process completes, select "-p poweroff" to shutdown your computer. Click "Ok" to execute.

This works in most cases, but still some users say the problem "failed to find this partition in this system" still exist. In this case, you can try "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1" to write zeros to hard drive or the first partition. Please replace /dev/hda in your own case.

Also, if you still cannot clone hard drive with Clonezilla, you can try another disk cloning software to avoid such problems, it's AOMEI Backupper Standard. 

Easier way to clone larger disk to smaller disk or with bad sectors

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free hard drive cloning software for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7. It completely supports cloning large disk to small disk as long as all the data on the source disk can fit on the smaller one. It makes full use of "intelligent clone" feature that will only copy used sectors and ignore bad or unused sectors while cloning or backing up. 

If you’re worried that Windows will fail to boot due to system errors, you can also create a bootable USB or CD/DVD with AOMEI Backupper to clone hard disk in WinPE. If you don't have extra drive, you can directly add a recovery environment entry with it. Note the destination disk will be overwritten finally, please backup files on it in advance. 

To clone hard drive with AOMEI Backupper:

Video Tutorial:

Graphic Tutorial:

Step 1. Download and Install this freeware, and open it to configure a cloning process.

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

Step 2. Click ‚ÄúDisk Clone‚ÄĚ under Clone tab. If you want to clone one partition or more, click ‚ÄúPartition Clone‚ÄĚ instead.

Disk Clone

Note: This version only supports cloning system disk from MBR to MBR, if you want to clone GPT to GPT, clone MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR, you could consider upgrading to AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Step 3. Select the source disk by clicking on the disk you want to clone, and click "Next" to continue. In the next screen, click on the destination disk receiving the data, and then click ‚ÄúNext‚ÄĚ.

Select Disk

Step 4. If you are cloning hard drive to¬†an SSD, check the option ‚ÄúSSD Alignment‚ÄĚ. Then click ‚ÄúStart Clone‚ÄĚ to start the cloning process.

Start Clone


  • This software supports not only cloning larger drive to smaller drive, but also cloning disk to larger disk. Thus, no matter what your situation, you can use it to clone hard drive with secure boot.¬†
  • If you are cloning to a larger disk, it's suggested to adjust the partition size of destination disk with the "Edit Partitions" feature. This software only clone the used sectors from source disk¬† to destination disk, and the rest of disk space will be unallocated.
  • If you want to clone all sectors on the original disk, you can use "sector by sector clone" feature.
  • If you want to get the best performance of SSD disk, it's suggested to clone Windows 10 to NVMe SSD. Because it has the fastest transfer speed.
  • In addition, it still an extraordinary free backup and restore software, you can use it to backup any items per your needs, such as, files or folders, system, partition, disk. In the event of a disaster, you can restore image to new hard drive to get your data back.
  • For computer with different hardware, you can use the ‚ÄúUniversal Restore‚ÄĚ‚Äė feature to ensure your computer can boot successfully. This feature is available on AOMEI Backupper Professional or higher edition.¬†

Your turn

Cloning larger drive to smaller drive with Clonezilla  is always problematic, you may receive Clonezilla failed to clone error, like "Clonezilla failed to create a partition table on this disk is this disk too small". It's suggested to use "-icds" parameter in the export mode to skip checking disk size of destination disk, but it may not work every time. 

To avoid such problem and wasting time solving this error, you can use Clonezilla alternative - AOMEI Backupper Standard. It is capable of ignoring bad sectors and clone only the used sectors to destination disk in simple steps, no extra effort required.  Also, it applies to clone all kinds of HDDs and SSDs, even dynamic disk, such as, clone Windows 10 to new hard drive, transfer system image to new hard drive, clone NVMe SSD, etc.