What is dynamic disk in Windows?
Before cloning dynamic disk in Windows 7/8/10, let's get the basic of it.
Dynamic disk and basic disk both are disk types for Windows and support MBR and GPT partition style. But they have some differences.
The dynamic disk is a physical disk initialized for dynamic storage that contains simple volumes, spanned volumes, striped volumes (RAID-0), mirrored volumes (RAID-1), and RAID-5 volumes while basic disk is limited to 4 primary partitions or 3 primary plus one extented partition at most.
The dynamic disk can extend with a noncontinuous partition or disk on one or more disks, and create fault-tolerant volumes etc while the basic disk can only extend partition on a single disk.
The dynamic disk has greater flexibility for volume management. It uses a database (in the last 1MB of MBR disk or 1MB reserved partition of GPT disk) to track the information about the dynamic volume on one or more dynamic disks and every dynamic disk keeps a copy of the database. But the basic disk use a partition table to keep track of information.
Can I clone a dynamic disk?
I am trying to upgrade the primary drive Crucial MX500 SSD for myy Asusg73jw. I downloaded the Acronis True Image cloning software per the instructions on Crucial's website. However, when I started the cloning process, the drive I wanted to clone was grayed out.
I contacted Crucial via online chat, and was told that the Acronis software cannot clone a dynamic disk, and that I should try software by Macrium or Clonezilla.
I downloaded Macrium Reflect, but the free version does not support cloning dynamic disks either. The paid version does, but the price is too expensive. It seems kind of crazy to spend that much money on software I'm probably only going to use once, and still no guarantee that it will work.
Why clone dynamic disk?
If you have ever cloned a basic disk, you may get some reasons. In fact, the reason to clone dynamic disk is almost like clonig basic disk.
First and the most common, your dynamic disk is out of space and you need to clone disk to larger disk that can contain your system and all data completely.
Second and the most popular, your dynamic disk does not perform well and you want to clone dynamic disk to SSD for higher performance. When your computer run slowly and slowly, you may find that it takes several minutes for your computer to start, and the programs will load longer, and more. It's really annoying and make you confused.
Third and the most concerned, you want to add a extra layer of data and system security. Cloning disk is most simplest way, because you can directly use the cloned disk to boot your computer in issues.
Best way to clone dynamic disk to SSD
By comparison, dynamic disk has many obvious advantages than basic disk. So, a lot of users convert basic disk to dynamic disk. But you may find it's difficult to clone dynamic disk and few disk clone software can do.
So, some users want to convert dynamic disk to basic without losing files and then clone the converted dynamic disk to basic disk. Franking speaking, it's a great idea but you need to backup dynamic disk or convert the disk type with a reliable partition manager like AOMEI Partition Assistant. If not, you may lose data. Please note that Disk Management does not allow you to convert dynamic disk containing partitions or volumes into basic disk.
In addition, you still can clone dynamic volume or dynamic system using a all-in-one disk cloning software, such as, AOMEI Backupper Professional, which supports "Disk Clone", "System Clone" and "Partition Clone". The later two features help you. To clone dynamic disk to SSD, you need to clone dynamic system with "System Clone" for secure boot, then clone data partition on the dynamic disk with "Partition Clone". All the process can be finished in a few clicks.
Besides, this software still provides users with some useful features, such as, fix unallocated space after cloning to larger disk with "Edit Partitions", speed up SSD's performance via "SSD Alignment", clone all sectors whether used or not through "Sector by sector clone". Following will introduce the second way in detail.
How to clone dynamic disk to SSD with AOMEI Backupper?
Step 1. Connect SSD to your computer and make sure it can be detected. Then, download and run AOMEI Backupper Professional.
Step 2. Select "System Clone" to clone dynamic system.
Step 3. Select the prepared SSD as destination disk. Like cloning system on basic disk, this software will automatically select the system partition and boot related partition.
Step 4. Tick "SSD Alignment" to accelerate the writting and reading speed of SSD. Then, click "Start Clone".
Step 5. Boot from the cloned SSD. Shutdown your computer and swap hard drive in the drive bay, then restart your computer to access BIOS by pressing specific key (F2 or ESC) on the boot screen, set boot priority for the new SSD and press F10 to save changes and boot.
Now, things are half done. All you need to clone the data volume on dynamic disk. To make it, click "Partition Clone" and select the data partition, then follow the on-screen instructions.
Note: This version only supports Windows 7/8/10/XP/Vista. If you are using Server 2008/2012/2016/2019 and its R2 version, you can turn to AOMEI Backupper Server.
Convinced of the advantages of dynamic disks, many users may convert basic disks to dynamic disks. But you never know how difficult it is to clone a dynamic disk in Win 7/8/10. If you convert the dynamic disk to basic disk with Disk Management, you will lose all your data. Because it requires you to delete all partitions or volume on the dynamic disk before converting. Therefore, you can only choose backup dynamic disk or convert to basic disk with a reliable software.
If you clone dynamic disk with Acronis, the process will fail. So, you can turn to a professional disk clone software like AOMEI Backupper Professional, which allows you to clone dynamic system with "System Clone" feature and clone data volume with "Partition Clone". In addition, you can still enjoy many useful features, such as, "SSD Alignment", "Edit Partitions", "Sector by sector clone".
Download the free trial and start a new journey to clone dynamic system and data volume.