Clone Disk to Larger Disk (HDD or SSD) without Reinstalling

Tired of insufficient disk space, and want to clone disk to larger disk without reinstalling, try the powerful hard drive or SSD cloning software - AOMEI Backupper.


By Ivy Updated on May 29, 2024

Share this: instagram reddit

Can I clone a drive to a larger drive?


A few days ago, I received a “low disk space warning”window when I open my computer. After that, no matter what I do, it will pop up and says,”the disk space is not enough”. So, I cannot add any files, folder or install any programs on my computer. Is it possible to clone disk to larger disk?”

- Question from Reddit

Low Disk Space Windows 10

The answer is YES, it is possible to clone disk to larger disk (HDD or SSD) and boot it up successfully as long as you are well prepared and use powerful disk cloning software like AOMEI Backupper. It will copy everything on the smaller disk including the operating system, boot files, installed programs, personal data, etc., and migrate them to a larger disk. So you don't need to reinstall Windows 10 or 11 on a larger disk. Meanwhile, the low disk space warning issue will be solved as well.

AOMEI Backupper

If you are prepared for the new HDD or SSD and want to clone smaller drive to larger drive quickly, you can directly go to the Top 2 ways below.

Why clone hard drive to larger drive?

Obviously, cloning hard drive to larger drive solves the low disk space warning issue and has the following advantages. Try this method if you want to get enjoy one or more of them:

👉 Get more space. If you replace your smaller disk with a larger one, you can obviously install more programs, and store many data on it. 

👉 Boost computer performance: Usually, The more free space on the system disk, the smoother it will run, for example, has a short boot time, run multiple programs without sticking, etc. SSD disks will be more obvious as it has much faster read or write speed than HDDs.

👉 Replace old or damaged disks: In this case, you have to replace them. Otherwise, it will either affect the performance or break down completely.

👉 Double data protection. You can also use the cloned drive as a backup copy, which allows you to get your files back quickly in a disaster, such as system crashes, virus attacks or malware, BSOD, etc. 

Prepare for your new hard drive or SSD disk

Well then, how to clone disk to larger drive with it? Connect the new disk to your Windows 10 or 11 computer, and clone it with a reliable disk clone software. Before that, you need to prepare this new hard drive or SSD disk. 

Check the number of disk slots and interfaces

Open your computer case and check if you have one more slot. Usually, most HDDs use the SATA interface while SSDs may have different interfaces, such as SATA, M.2, PCIe, NVMe, etc.

Get a new hard drive

 It can be HDD or SSD, depending on your purpose, larger capacity, or and better performance. If you have more budget, SSD will be a better choice. Below are some key factors:

  • The capacity is twice or three times that of a smaller drive.
  • Check the number of disk slots and interfaces. 
  • Prepare a new connector if your laptop or desktop only has one slot. Select it based on your interface, such as SATA, M.2, PCIe, NVMe, etc.

M.2 SSD to USB Adapter

Install new hard drive 

  • For the desktop or laptop with two slots, you can directly install the new hard drive on the extra socket. Slide the new drive into the slot, screw it tightly, and put the computer case back.

Install SSD

  • For a laptop with only one slot, you will connect your new drive using a cable or adapter, for example, SATA-to-USB, or put it into the enclosure, and connect the other side to your computer.

Initialize disk in Disk Management

Any disk needs to be initialized and partitioned to store data. You can choose to initialize this new disk with MBR or GPT partition style, depending on the disk type of your smaller disk.  

  • Type diskmgmt.msc in the search box and select Run as administrator.
  • Locate and right-click the smaller disk and select Properties. Then, check if it is MBR or GPT.

GPT Disk

  • Then, right-click the larger disk and select Initialize Disk.
  • Select MBR or GPT disk partition style and click OK. Note it must be the same as your smaller disk.


👉 Alternatives: If you don't have any connector, you can still choose to backup Windows to NAS, then swap your smaller disk to a larger disk and restore the backup image.

One powerful hard drive or SSD cloning software

Please wait after preparing, since you still need one powerful disk cloning software, AOMEI Backupper Professional, for example. It provides you with 2 practical ways to clone smaller disk to larger disk including the operating system, boot files, personal data, installed program, etc.

#1: Disk Clone: recommended for a quick upgrade

With it, you are able to clone disk to larger disk, clone SSD to larger SSD, clone large HDD to smaller SSD, clone a hard drive in Windows 10, and even clone hard drive with bad sectors without reinstalling Windows. To clone OS to new drive, try its "System Clone" feature.

⚠️ Warning:

Generally, to clone hard drive to larger drive without repartitioning, the cloned drive will show unallocated space at the end of the disk. However, you don't need to worry about this much. The "Edit Partitions" feature in this software will resolve it completely. In addition, it still embeds 4k alignment technology in the "SSD Alignment" feature to boost SSD disk performance.

#2: Disk Backup and Restore: focus on data protection and require more effort

Its "Schedule Backupfeature will back up the entire disk automatically, minimizing the data loss risk if you forget to backup disk & data. By default, the "Incremental Backup" feature will be enabled in scheduled tasks, saving disk space. To further optimize it, the "Backup Scheme" feature will do a big favor.

⚠️ Warning:

All data on the disk will be compressed into an image file and none can open it without restoring it. So to complete the entire process, you need to backup the disk first and restore disk image when necessary. This means that, besides the new disk, you need to prepare a temporary drive to save the backup image and double the effort.

AOMEI Backupper

Powerful Windows hard drive or SSD cloning software

Whether you use the cloning or backup and restore method, you are able to create a bootable USB to perform both operations without booting into Windows. 

Top 2 ways to clone disk to larger disk in Windows 10 or 11

In this part, I'll introduce you both methods to clone smaller disk to larger disk or SSD. Please note that this software only supports Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.

👉 Try Method 1 if you want a fast way to clone a hard drive.

👉 Try Method 2 if you are more concerned about data security and want to protect it continuously. This is the safest way. 

Method 1: Clone smaller disk to larger disk with Disk Clone 

Step 1. Open AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Clone and Disk Clone subsequently. 

Disk Clone

Note: The Clone feature can only be demonstrated in the trial version. If you want to directly clone HDD to Samsung SSD or other disk brands, please upgrade Pro trial to the full version of AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Step 2. Select your source disk (here is Disk0)and then the destination disk (here is Disk1). Click Next in order after selecting disk. 

Select Disk

Step 3 (Important). Click Edit Partitions to clone and resize hard drive with the following 3 options. Besides, if the source disk and destination disk has different disk type, you will also see "Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT" or vice versa. Please check it if the following window shows.

  • Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
  • Add unused space to all partitions: It will reallocate the unallocated space to each partition of the target disk, appropriate for the disk size.
  • Manually adjust partition size: It allows you to extend unallocated space to any partition on the destination disk you want. 

Copy Without Resizing

📔How to check disk type (MBR or GPT) of a disk:

If you want to be sure both disk types, and boot from the cloned drive successfully, you can refer to the overall steps in the following:

  • Press Win + R to open the Run window. Then, type diskmgmt.msc and hit OK to open disk management.
  • Then, right-click the disk you want to clone and select Properties in the pop-up window.
  • In the Properties window, select the Volume tab and confirm the partition style. It can be MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table).

Disk Partition Style

  • Similarly, check the disk partition tyle of the destination disk. If they have different disk partition style, please convert MBR to GPT or vice versa with Edit Partitions option.

Step 4. Check "SSD Alignment" to optimize performance of SSD disk if you are cloning disk to larger SSD.  Then, confirm the details of both disks and click Start Clone.

Start Clone

Now, you may already clone hard drive to larger drive successfully, you can try to boot from it. But if your destination disk is smaller, the cloning process may fail. In this case, you can choose to migrate OS  only with "System Clone" feature. 

Method 2: Copy boot drive to larger drive with Disk Backup & Restore

Except for cloning HDD to larger HDD or SSD with "Disk Clone" feature, you still can use Disk Backup & Restore in AOMEI Backupper. And it focuses on continuous system and data protection - backup all the data currently on the disk and changes made later automatically. 

Part 1: Backup a hard drive in Windows 10

Step 1. Open AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Backup and Disk Backup.

Disk Backup

Step 2. Select the source disk you want to backup and the destination disk to store the backup image.

Select Disk

Step 3. Set daily, weekly, or monthly scheduled backup, and once it is enabled, this software will backup only changed files in a scheduled task. Besides, you still can use the Event trigger and USB Plug in features for specific scenarios.  Finally, click Start Backup to complete this task.  

Schedule Settings

📔 Important: good and sustainable data protection

AOMEI Backupper will continuously create backups for your computer until the backup disk is full. To avoid this, try to enable automatic backup cleanup in Backup Scheme. It will delete backup files automatically to free up disk space for new backups.

Backup Scheme

Part 2: Restore disk image to get computer back quickly

 You don't need to restore disk backup immediately after backing up and do this in a disaster or it behaves abnormally. This process will also include the Edit Partitions to help you make full use of disk space and avoid boot failure due to different disk types.

 Step 1. Connect both backup disk and new drive to receive backup image. Then, open this software, click Restore and Select Task in order.

Select Task

Step 2. Then, you will be asked to select the disk image, restore items and destination disk. Just do so and click Next in each step. 

Disk Restore

Step 3 (Important). Click "Edit Partitions" to adjust partition size on the destination disk. If you mover Windows to new computer, please check the "Universal Restore" to ensure a secure boot. It will install all the necessary drivers required to start a PC.

Step 4. Preview the details and click Start Restore to restore disk backup to new hard drive. If your target disk is an SSD, please tick "SSD Alignment" to make your SSD achieve its best performance.


📔 Advanced feature:  Explore Image - restore only individual files from a disk 

AOMEI Backupper has a "Explore Image" tool that allows you to perform hard disk image file restore.  With it, you can assign drive letters for all or some of the partitions on the disk and mount the backup image in Windows Explore. Then, you can directly access it and copy files to another location. 

Assign Drive Letter

📔 Advanced feature: AOMEI Image Deploy - restore image to two or more computers 

In the Technician or Techplus Edition, AOMEI Backupper allows you to easily deploy system image to multiple computers simultaneously over network with its image deployment software - AOMEI Image Deploy. And you can preset computer name, IP address and universal restore for all the computers you want to restore. 

Configure Deployment

How to boot from larger cloned or restored disk 

Whether you use the "disk clone" or "disk backup and restore" method, the boot process is very similar, so here I'll only talk about a rough process.

Step 1. Switch the smaller disk and larger disk with a screwdriver.

Step 2.  Restart your computer, press a specific key (eg: Del, F2, ESC) on the initial screen to enter BIOS.

Step 3. Go to the Boot tab and change the new disk to the first boot option, finally save changes and restart your computer. Please note that you need to pull out the old disk at 30 or 45 degrees, so do the installation process.



You can easily clone disk to larger disk, or clone SSD to larger SSD with the help of all-in-one disk clone software - AOMEI Backupper. It provides you with 2 practical ways to do so and you can choose one of them based on your purpose, such as fast disk upgrade or long-term data protection. 

With it, you can clone hard drive in Windows 10 or backup disk for it. You can enjoy many advantages during the process, such as, accelerate disk performance for SSD disk, add unused space to all partitions automatically, schedule backup disk in Windows 10, etc. All in all, it's a worth trying software!

AOMEI Backupper

If you are tired of the low disk space warning and want to clone a hard drive in Windows 10, 11 or previous systems, try powerful hard drive or SSD cloning software - AOMEI Backupper. 

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.