By Ivy / Last update October 19, 2022

Clone external hard drive to another easily and quickly:

Why do you need to clone an external hard drive to another external hard drive?

As a matter of fact, many users clone an external hard drive to another for a backup copy, which add an extra layer of your files on the external hard drive. If your external disk is damaged or lost, you still have a duplicated copy. It's similar to backup external hard drive to another external hard drive, but they are not exactly the same.

If you make a backup for your hard drive, it's compressed to an image file, which requires for restoration before viewing your files. But if you clone the external hard drive, you can directly view or modify your files without restoring.

hard disk

Also, if your external hard drive is a bootable hard drive, you can still clone it and ensure it's bootable. Later, if necessary, you can use it to boot your computer for troubleshooting. Because cloning is a process to make an exact copy of original diskby partitions.

In addition, if you want to copy boot drive to another drive, you still can use a professional disk clone software to make it. It will include the operating system, system files or settings, installed programs, personal files, etc. Then, in the event of a disaster, you can directly use the clone disk for boot.

Except for the backup purpose, cloning external hard drive also allows you to access your data and then modify or delete some of them as you like.

How to easily clone an external hard drive to another in Windows

As mentioned many times in my other articles, Windows currently misses this cloning feature in its all Windows versions. Thus, you can only use a third-party external hard drive cloning software to make it. Then, which one should you use? You can refers to the following standards.  

  • Free clone hard drive. It supports a feature like Disk Clone, which allows you to free transfer data from external hard drive to another external hard drive by cloning the entire disk. It's ok if the target disk is smaller. 
  • Easy-to-use. A user friendly disk clone software should have a clear GUI-based interface, so users can easily understand and use it quickly.
  • Strong compatibility. It can be used on different operating system, including Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista.
  •  Feature rich. It allows you to clone all sectors of external hard drive to another with Sector by Sector Clone, etc.

Based on the above standards, I highly recommend you free disk clone software AOMEI Backupper Standard. By using it, you can clone external hard drive to another external hard drive, clone MBR system disk, clone large HDD to smaller SSD, etc.

If the destination drive is smaller, you still can clone original disk to it by cloning only used sectors. Note that the destination disk need to have enough space holding data on the original disk. 

Download free hard drive cloning software to have a try right now.  

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Stepwise guide: Clone external hard drive to another external disk in Windows 10/11

Before cloning external hard drive in Windows 10/11, you need to make some preparations:

  • Install these two external hard drives to your PC and make sure they can be detected by Windows.
  • If your computer is a laptop, you need to prepare USB-to-SATA cable or adapter for connection.
  • Remember clearly which disk is the source external drive, because all data on the destination external drive will be overwritten during the cloning process.

Then, clone external hard drive free using the following steps:

1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper Standard. Then, in the main page of this software, click Clone > Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

2. In the Source Disk window, select the external hard drive you want to clone.

Source Disk

3. In the Destination Disk window, select another external hard drive to receive all the data on the source disk.

Destination Disk

4. Tick Sector by sector clone if you want to clone all sectors of the original disk. It requires the target disk to be equal to or larger than.  Then, confirm both external hard drives are correct and click Start Clone.

Start Clone

Other features you can use when cloning external hard drive in Windows:
SSD Alignment: It allows you to accelerate the writing and reading speed of SSD disk and improve its lifespan while cloning disk to an SSD.
Edit Partitions: It allows you to extend partition to unallocated space by Add unsed space to all partitions or Manually adjust partition size. Note both options are supported by the professional version. 

Edit Partitions


Cloning external hard drive to another external hard drive is the easiest way to make a duplicate copy of your important files on the disk, and you can view, modify or delete files in the target disk without restoring image file. And it's convenient for users who store all of their data on a disk and want to bring them always in hand. Thus, you will no longer need to worry about data loss.

Also, you can still use it to clone MBR system disks. If you want to clone system disk from GPT to GPT, MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR, you need to use AOMEI Backupper Professional. For server users, you could consider using AOMEI Backupper Server.

In addition, the advanced version supports many useful features. For example, you can choose to clone OS only instead of entire disk when the target disk does not have enough space to hold all the data on the source disk.  You can choose to sync specific files with Basic Sync, Real-Time Sync, Mirror Sync or Two-Way Sync. For more features, please download it to explore yourself.