By Ivy / Last update May 10, 2022

What is Sector by Sector Clone?

Sector by sector clone (sector by sector copy) will clone all sectors on the source disk even if the sector is blank or it’s a logically bad sector to the destination hard disk (HDD/SSD), you will get the exact copy of a source disk/partition with the same properties like same drive status, drive capacity, drive letter and partitions on the target disk. By the way, the sector is the smallest unit of disk access.

Is sector by sector clone/backup is better? Actually, the sector by sector clone/backup makes no difference to a normal backup or clone.

Check Sector Size Before Sector by Sector Clone

The sector by sector clone is optional, you could try it or not. If you are trying to perform the sector by sector clone, you have to check the following two things:

  • Ensure the logical sector size is the same on source and target disk. Because it’s not possible to copy one drive to another if the logical sector size of target drive differs from logical sector size of source drive.

  • Destination disk/partition should be larger than or equal to the source disk/partition, or you will get failed due to the insufficient space on target location.

How to verify the sector size for your source and destination disk before cloning? There are two ways to check:

Way 1: Check from Command Prompt

1. Run the command prompt as an administrator:

fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo x: (the x: refers to the drive letter that you want to check)

2. Find the values for Bytes Per Sector and Bytes per Physical Sector to check the drive type that you have according to the Microsoft chart.

Bytes Per Sector 512

Drive Type

If you have the same value for Bytes Per Sector and Bytes per Physical Sector on both disks, then you could perform the sector by sector clone. Sometimes, you may get the Bytes Per Physical Sector : error, make sure that the following registry path exists to fix it:

Name: EnableQueryAccessAlignment
Value: 1: Enable

Way 2: Check in System Information

1. Press Win + R key combination to open Run dialog.

2. Run msinfo32 command to open System Information window.

3. Then go to System Summary -> Components -> Storage -> Disks. It will show you the information of all drives on the right side.

System Information

Find your desired drive and check the value for Bytes/Sector. it should say Bytes/Sector 4096 or Bytes/Sector 512, etc.

Generally speaking, the common hard drives (HDDs) owns 512 bytes per sector both on physical and logical sector, and 2048 bytes for CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs. And Advanced Format Drives (AFD) use 4096 bytes per physical sector but emulate 512 bytes per logical sector.

Clone Disk Sector by sector with Free Sector by Sector Clone Software

To clone disk sector by sector to HDD/SSD, the best free sector by sector clone software - AOMEI Backupper Standard will help you to clone easily, it provides the options to sector by sector clone or not. 

Besides, it’s available for you to clone HDD to smaller SSD as long as the used space is smaller than the destination disk, clone data partition to another, etc. The supported Windows operating system is Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10.

First of all, please download AOMEI Backupper Standard and run this program. Now, we will show you how to clone sector by sector from a GPT data disk to larger MBR disk directly with AOMEI Backupper.

Step 1. Select Clone -> Disk Clone on the main console.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the GPT disk you want to clone as the Source disk (here is disk 1), and click Next button.

Select Source Disk

Step 3. Select larger MBR disk as Destination Disk (here is disk 2). Then click Next.

Select Destination Disk

✿ The destination MBR disk will be overwritten or deleted during the sector by sector cloning process, please backup the critical data if you don’t want to lose them.
✿ AOMEI Backupper Standard edition does not support clone system disk between MBR and GPT partition style. To complete that job, please upgrade to its Professional edition.
✿ Disk clone only supports to clone 3 partition at most from GPT to MBR, so if the source disk contains over 3 partitions, the remaining partition should use Partition Clone.

Step 4. Tick Sector by sector clone option, and press Start Clone>> button to clone disk sector by sector from GPT disk to MBR disk.

Sector by Sector Clone

✿ If your destination disk is SSD, tick SSD Alignment to optimize the reading and writing speed for SSD.
✿ The cloning process will clone the only used space of disk by default so as to save your time and disk space if the sector by sector clone option is unchecked.

Step 5. Click Finish after the operation is completed.

Operation Completed

After the sector by sector clone finished, you will find there are some unallocated space on the target disk in Disk Manager, you could right click the partition before the unallocated space, choose Extend Volume..., then follow the steps to extend the unallocated space to the partition to fully use the disk storage.

Final Words

Despite sector by sector clone or not, the best free sector by sector clone software - AOMEI backupper Standard will show you the best solution to transfer data from one computer to another, even external hard drive, USB flash drive, CD/DVD, NAS, etc. Besides, AOMEI Backupper Professional allows you to clone Windows 10 to SSD to without reinstalling Windows OS, programs, drives, etc.