By Ivy / Last Updated June 24, 2020

Can I clone my boot drive?

“My Lenovo computer with Windows 10 is preinstalled on HDD. My computer run slower and slower recently, so I bought a new SSD. I want to clone Windows 10 boot drive to SSD and make it bootable. I don’t want to reinstall Windows 10 from scratch because the cloned Windows 10 won’t boot. Is there any freeware can do this? Any suggestion will be appreciated.”


The answer is yes, you can make bootable clone of Windows 10 and boot from the cloned drive. The premise is that you need to do enough preparations before cloning Windows 10, including getting the basic of Windows 10 bootable clone, finding a professional disk cloning softare and making other preparations like UEFI/BIOS boot mode.

Then, let’s have a close look at what you need to know and how to create a bootable clone of your Windows 10 drive?

What is Windows 10 bootable clone?

The bootable clone is an exact copy of all files (both visible and invisible) of a drive on your computer, including operating system, system reserved partition/EFT system partition, installed programs and other files.

To clone Windows 10 bootable disk, you have three options, namely disk clone for entire disk, system clone for only partition with operating system and boot files, backup and restore for computer with dissimilar hardware.

Why make bootable clone in Windows 10?

What does bootable clone can do for you? Is it suitable for your situation? Let’s see below and get clear ideas.

First, you can clone hard drive to larger drive to get rid of low disk space warning on the existing hard drive, install more applications, store more files, and boot your computer faster.

Second, you can clone bootable drive in Windows 10 to smaller SSD to get peak performance. Compared with HDDs, SSDs are much cooler, lighter, quieter, more durable, and consume less power. More so, it does not contain any removable part.

Third, you can avoid reinstalling the operating system and applications, and do not need to bear the heavy data loss caused by reinstalling, unexpected system failure, hard drive failure, virus infected, and more.

Fourth, you can use the disk or system copy as a backup. Disaster can happen at any time, even without prompting, so you need to take some precautionary measures in advance. Cloning Windows 10 bootable disk is a great choice.

Potential problems with bootable clone Windows 10 hard drive

If you do an in-depth search about how to make bootable clone Windows 10 online, you may find there are many examples of cloning windows 10 not booting. So, you may have some concerns and want to know how to make SSD bootable after clone in Windows 10. Here, I’ll show you the clear answer.

About the target disk

The target disk has different partition style of original hard drive. In general, many disk cloning software only allows you to clone disk with the same partition style. If not, the process will fail.

The target disk is smaller than original disk. Honestly, most disk cloning software only clone disk to larger disk. So you need to delete the useless installed programs or large files to free up space.

The target disk is not the default boot disk in BIOS. Usually, your computer can only boot from the default boot disk, also called first boot option. If not, please set the boot priority for target disk and press “F10” to save the changes.

The cloned disk only has operating system. To boot windows 10 from cloned drive, not only the operating system, but also other boot related partition or files are required. To check it, you can go to disk management and see if there are system reserved partition or EFI system partition.

About other problems

Cloning hard drive in Windows 10 with other externally connected devices, such as, bootable USB or CD/DVD. So, the disk cloning software may clone the boot partition to other external device instead of your target disk.

The computer does not support UEFI boot mode. If your computer was bought a long time ago, it may not support the newer boot mode UEFI. Meanwhile, most of the current disk are GPT, which requires UEFI boot mode. Therefore, you need to convert GPT disk to MBR ahead of time.

The master boot record is damaged. If your situation is different from above, Windows 10 clone not bootable may be caused by corrupted MBR or BCD. You can boot your computer using installation disk or recovery disk, press “Shift + F10” to open command prompt, then type the following commands and hit Enter.


bootrec.exe /fixmbr

bootrec.exe /fixboot

bootrec.exe /scanos

bootrec.exe /rebuildbcd

Best free bootable cloning software for Windows 10

As mentioned above, you can benefit a lot from the bootable clone Windows 10, such as, upgrade hard disk for more space, replace HDD with SSD for higher performance etc. Meanwhile, you may encounter some situations, resulting in disk clone failure. This just means that you need the best free disk cloning software for Windows 10 bootable clone.

To make it, you can use the following criteria as a reference.

  • Simple and easy-to-use: The cloning software should have a user-friendly design and clear interface, so all users can use it smoothly in a very short time.

  • Trust and reliable: The cloning software should have at least millions of users and be used worldwide.

  • Benefit users: The cloning software should support 4K alignment technology to improve reading and writing speed of SSDs, have the ability to clone all sectors on a disk whether used or not, be able to successfully clone large disk to smaller disk and clone disk with different partition style, and ensure secure boot.

Here, I recommend you free bootable disk clone software AOMEI Backupper Standard, which fully meet these criteria above. In addition, this software still provides higher versions with problem-solving features, Edit Partitions, for example. It can help users adjust the partition size of destination disk during the cloning process, thus eliminating cloned hard drive show wrong size error.

Step by step guide: clone boot drive of Windows 10 to SSD

As you can see from above, disk clone sofftware AOMEI Backupper can help you resolve majority of problems. So, all you need to prepare is download AOMEI Backupper Standard and Create a system image first. Then, get a blank drive either HDD or SSD and make sure it can be detected by Windows.

Want to know how to clone a hard drive in Windows 10 for free and make it bootable? Just keep reading below to learn the detailed steps.

Step 1. Connect the prepared HDD or SSD to your computer with SATA-to-USB adaptor.

SSD Encloser

Step 2. Install and start AOMEI Backupper. Then click Disk Clone under the Clone tab.

Disk Clone

Note: If your new hard drive is not enough to save the boot drive and all the installed programs, files, folders, you can transfer Windows 10 to new hard drive with “System Clone” (supported by AOMEI Backupper Professional).

Step 3. Select Windows 10 bootable disk as the source disk and click Next to move on.

Bootable Drive

Step 4. Select the prepared HDD or SSD as the destination disk and click Next.

Prepared SSD

Step 5. Check SSD Alignment if your target drive is SSD. It can accelerate the reading and writing speed of SSD drive. And then, click Start Clone.

Start Clone SSD Alignment Checked

To adjust partition size of destination disk with “Edit Partitions”, please upgrade to higher version, such as, AOMEI Backupper Professional.
Cloning system disk between MBR and GPT disks are not supported by the Standard edition. To do that, please upgrade to higher edition.
Except for disk or system clone, you can still use backup and restore to realize this purpose, even with different hardware. Please note the backup only works only after restore.
To clone Windows 10 to bootable USB, you just need to replace HDD or SSD with bootable USB.

Step 6. Now, you already have a bootable clone of Windows 10. To boot from the cloned disk, you need to switch out the hard disk, restart your computer and press “F2” or “ESC” key to enter BIOS, then set the new hard drive as default boot option and press “F10” to save changes and boot your computer.


Wrapping things up

Creating bootable clone for Windows 10, you need to make enough preparations, such as, overview of bootable clone, possible problems, a trust and reliable free disk cloning software and others.

Honestly, the correct disk cloning software like AOMEI Backupper can help users clone Windows 10 to SSD bootable without any obstacle. Meanwhile, it can bring you much convenience, such as, support intelligent cloning technology to clone large hard drive to smaller drive. Just download it and make a bootable clone of your Windows 10.