By Ivy / Last update June 14, 2022

You will learn:

Why clone hard drive to larger drive?

The low disk space warning is very common for computer users,  just like the following case, and it's only a matter of time before it happens. As a result, many users clone smaller disk to larger disk, after trying to free up space but finding little use for it. Since this error appears again and again, just after installing one or more software or storing some files, etc.

   

Can I clone a hard drive to a larger one?

  “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? Thanks.”       

- Question from Reddit.

Low Disk Space Windows 10

Besides, there are some other reasons for disk clone. 

  • Just want a larger disk. With a larger disk, you can save more files, pictures, video, etc. Anyhow, a larger disk could be a greater choice and there's no reason for it.

  • Replace old disk with a new one. When you use a disk for several years, you may feel it’s too old and cannot satisfy your needs from all sides. You may want to replace it with a newer disk.

  • Increase the performance of your computer. SSD disk has greater performance than hard drive in all aspect, such as, faster reading & writing speed, strong durability, lower noise, etc. Thus, you may want to clone hard drive to SSD and enjoy the performance it brings. 

  • Long-term data protection. Anyway, data is fragile and easily corrupted. You can choose to copy boot drive to another one and perform this operation on a regular basis.

Well then, how to clone disk to larger drive with it? Connect the new disk and clone it with a reliable disk clone software

Prepare for your new hard drive

👉 Select destination disk: 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.

👉 Check the disk size: Usually, the new HDD or SSD needs to be larger than or equal to the old hard disk, which refers to the used space. If not, you need to free up disk space by deleting larger files or uninstall useless programs, otherwise the cloning process may fail finally.

👉 Prepare connector: For desktop, you can directly install the new hard drive on the extra socket. For laptop, you will need a cable or adaper, for example, SATA-to-USB, and it may be different because of the disk interface (SATA, NVMe, PCIe, etc). 

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

Get all-in-one disk cloning software - AOMEI Backupper

Please wait after preparing, since you still need the best free disk cloning software, AOMEI Backupper Standard, for example. It provides you with 2 practical ways, namely, using "Disk Clone" and "Disk Backup and Restore" feature. Both of them will include the operating system, boot files, personal data, installed program, etc. 

Well then, which one should you choose? It mainly depends on your first purpose, fast data migration or long-term perspective.

As for a disk cloning software, it supports cloning HDDs/SSDs, MBR/GPT disk, even with different sector sizes. It supports 4k technology to accelerate the reading and writing speed of SSD disk. Please note that this process will copy all the data on the source disk and finally erase the destination disk. 
As for a disk imaging software, it supports complete backup and restore solutions, and focuses on data protection continuously, so you can backup disk, system, partition or individual files in daily, weekly, or monthly schedule backup. And it will reduce the disk usage as much as possible with various features, such as, incremental backup, intelligent sector backup, compression, splitting, etc. 
USB bootable clone for emergency use. Whether you use cloning or backup and restore method, you are able to create a bootable USB to perform both operations without booting into Windows. 

To get started, download this software and clone disk to larger disk in simple steps.

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

(PS: This software only supports Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista. For server users, try AOMEI Backupper Server.)

Clone disk to larger disk step by step with different methods 

In this part, I'll introduce you both methods to clone smaller disk to larger disk or clone smaller SSD to larger SSD.

👉 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

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

Select a Source Disk

Step 3. Confirm the details of both disks and click Start Clone. If you are cloning disk to larger SSD, it's recommended to tick "SSD Alignment" to optimize performance of SSD disk. 

Clone Disk to Larger Disk

Also, you can use Sector by sector clone to keep the old partition layout or Edit Partitions to adjust the partition size on the destination disk. And the latter one is more practical since it resolves potential issues during the cloning process, such as, the cloned hard drive shows wrong size.

You have 3 options in the following. Among them, the last two options are available on the Professional version.

👉 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. 

Add Unused Space

Besides, you may find the cloned drive not bootable after cloning. One of the biggest reason is the destination and source disk has different partition style and you don't convert them to the same before cloning.

In this situation, you can simply check Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT or vice versa, depending on the disk partition styles of them. 

Both MBR and GPT are two different disk types for data storage. And you can check its disk properties in Disk Management. The overall steps are below:

  • 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 it is still MBR, you can clone hard drive from bootable USB for free. To clone GPT to GPT (eg: clone NVMe to NVMe), MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR, try professional version.

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 in the professional version. 

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. 

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.

Add 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. Finally, click Start Backup to complete this task.  

Schedule Backup

Besides, you still can use the Event trigger and USB Plug in features on the professional version. And the last one is recommended if you don't want to keep external devices always connected. It requires a larger USB flash drive. 

But this may result in another issue - backup disk full, due to increasing backup images and limited space. It's suggested to enable automatic backup cleanup methods and delete backup files automatically to free up disk space for new backups.

Backup Scheme

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. 

 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. 

Select Backup Image

Step 3. 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.

Preview And Restore

Also, you can use "Edit Partitions" to adjust partition size on the destination disk and "Universal Restore" to restore to a different computer successfully. It resolves the incompatible driver issues. 

More surprising, it not only helps you restore the entire disk, but also perform hard disk image file restore. The core of it is to use the "Explore Image" feature under the Tools tab. With it, you can assign drive letters for all or some of the partitions on the disk and mount backup image in Windows Explore. Then, you can directly access it and copy files to another location. 

Assign Drive Letter

Besides, you can easily deploy system image to multiple computers simultaneously over network with the help of image deployment software. And you can preset computer name, IP address and universal restore for all the computers you want to restore. 

Configure Deployment

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.

Bios

Summary

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