Fastest Way to Clone External Hard Drive to Internal

Need to clone external hard drive to internal hard drive for data and OS migration? You can learn the easiest way to do this for your PC or laptop from this page. Go and try it!


By Lily Updated on August 28, 2023

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Why Clone External Hard Drive to Internal?

We are in an era of data explosion, where knowledge, technology, wealth, and production materials are fully digitized. In order to protect our data, there have been many ways to save them. Many people choose to back up their precious data to external disks. External hard drives have many advantages, such as portability, large memory space, and so on.

Under what circumstances do users need to clone external hard disk drive to internal hard drive? Below are two cases found in the forum:

◐ Case 1: “The process of cloning an internal hard drive onto an external one is pretty well described by online guides, but I can’t seem to find any info on the opposite. I want to replace my internal SSD with another one (I’m on a laptop so I can’t just plug both SSDs in the same time). I've cloned it's content to an external HDD and I would like to know if it's possible to copy the external HDD into the one installed.”
◐ Case 2: “I want to install the old windows version on my laptop instead of the cracked version which is installed now, the old version is in the external hard drive and the cracked version on the internal SSD. So how can I remove the cracked and install the new. Knowing that no important data in internal.”

In Case 1, the user previously cloned the internal disk to the external as a backup, and now the internal disk needs to be replaced and he wants to clone it back. In Case 2, the user wants to migrate the system from the external disk to the internal disk.

Clone External Hard Drive to Internal

For the above scenarios, it can be solved by cloning. Cloning can not only help us save the internal data to the external drives, but also make it possible to convert external hard drive to internal. Most users know how to clone internal disk to external, but do not know the reverse operation. If you want to know the specific operation, please read on.

Preparations for Cloning External Hard Drive to Internal

Before cloning your external hard drive to internal, you have to do some preparations.

1. First of all, you must connect the external hard drive to your computer.  

  • If it is a desktop, you can install the drive on your computer, so you need a SATA cable and a SATA power cable.

Connect External Hard Drive to PC

  • When you want to turn external HDD into internal on a laptop, and it does not have a second drive bay, you need a SATA-to-USB adapter to connect the external hard drive. If does, then you can install the external HDD or SSD on your laptop or connect it via USB port.

Connect External Hard Drive to Laptop

2. Next, you need hard drive cloning software to do the clone. Choosing a right hard disk cloning software may save you a lot of time and efforts.

3. The destination disk will be overwritten or deleted, so it's suggested to backup files ahead of time. If not, your data will go after cloning.

What’s more, if the destination disk is a system disk, you need to create a system/disk backup in advance so that you can restore your computer to a normal state when a problem occurs.

The Fastest Way to Clone External HDD to Internal

As the importance of data security continues to be recognized, a lot of software for data protection have appeared on the market. Among them, AOMEI Backupper Professional is the most recommended software. It is favored by millions of users worldwide because of its concise and beautiful page as well as its simple and convenient operation.

AOMEI Backupper Professional allows you to clone external HDD to internal effortlessly. But its cloning function is much more than this.

  • Disk Clone: which enables you to accurately copy one hard drive to another. You can clone an internal HDD/SSD to an external one and the opposite with just a few clicks.
  • Partition Clone: you can use this feature to clone a specific partition instead of a whole disk.
  • System Clone:  you can migrate OS from HDD to SSD without reinstalling Windows and applications.
  • Sector by Sector Clone: this software just clones the existing data (the used sectors) on the disk. If you would like to clone all the sectors on the source disk, whether it is used or not, please try the "Sector by sector clone" option.

Here, I will introduce how to clone external HDD to internal via AOMEI Backupper in detail below:

Step 1. Download and run this hard drive cloning software.

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

Step 2. Under “Clone” tab, select “Disk Clone”, which will clone the entire hard drive.

Choose Disk Clone

Step 3. Click on the external hard drive that needs cloning and click “Next” to continue.

Choose Source Disk 2

Step 4. Select the internal hard disk on your computer as the destination disk. Then, click Next.

Choose Destination Unallocated HDD

Note: If you are migrating the system from the external disk to the internal disk, you should choose the original system disk in your computer as the destination disk. And at the bottom of this interface, the program will note you that the previous system may not boot after cloning.

Step 5. Check the operation summary and click Start Clone to clone external hard drive to internal drive.

Disk Clone Preview Align SSD Checked

Step 6. Wait until the process complete 100% and click Finish.

Helpful tips:
The Pro edition supports both MBR and GPT, system disk and data disk cloning. However, if you just want to clone data disk, you may try its free edition - Standard.
If your internal disk is an SSD, then you should check the SSD Alignment box to improve your SSD’s performance.
This software can also used to clone internal hard drive to external hard drive in Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 if the need ever arise.


Windows doesn’t own a built-in cloning software, so we have to use third-party cloning software. AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition helps you clone external hard drive to internal with just a few simple clicks, then you can get a working computer back easily and quickly. It also has multiple useful features such as disk to disk clone, automatic backup, file sync, universal restore, etc. Why wait? Go for it right now!

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.