By Ivy / Last Updated April 1, 2021

Can I clone a large HDD to a smaller SSD in different size? 

"Owing to some reasons, I cloned my 1TB hard drive to a new 500GB SSD. I know the size is not the same, but my drive only has 157GB used space. How do I clone hard drive different size without reinstalling Windows? It makes me confused. Any ideas?”

Clone HDD to Smaller SSD in Different Size

Cloning hard drive is a very popular way to boost performance, replace old hard drive, or just make a copy of backup. You can choose to clone large HDD to smaller SSD, 1TB to 500GB, for example, or clone hard drive to larger drive per your needs. 

But there are some potential disk cloning issues you may need to know, such as, unallocated space after cloning. Please learn them in the following and then clone hard drive different size with a free yet powerful disk clone software.

Disk cloning issues you need to know

In general, your computer comes with a hard drive. However, with the increasingly files added and programs installed, your disk may run out of space and the computer performance slow down dramatically. In this case, you may want to replace a hard drive in Windows 7/8/10. 

But the hard drive does not comes with same size, usually, the SSDs are smaller than HDDs in most situations, which may cause cloning failure due to not enough disk space when cloning large HDD to smaller SSD, only most disk cloning software lacks of intelligent clone feature. AOMEI Backupper Standard is one of them.

Also, you may encounter the cloned hard drive shows wrong size issue. As a a matter of fact, after cloning hard drive to larger drive, the new hard drive is exactly the same as the old one, but the extra space still lies at the end of the new disk and is marked as unallocated space. You clone and resize hard drive with a little effort to make fully use of the space.

Cloned Hard Drive Shows Wrong Size

How to clone hard drive different size without reinstalling Windows?

Whether you want to upgrade hard drive to bigger one or clone large HDD to smaller SSD free in Windows 7/8/10, you could use disk cloning software AOMEI Backupper Standard. It works well in cloning hard drive with different sector size, even to smaller one. The premise is that the used space on larger disk requires to be equal to or smaller than SSD.

If not, you can still use “System Clone”  feature to migrate only Windows 10 to smaller SSD. This feature is only available on the advanced version, such as, AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Before you start to clone hdd with different sector size in Windows 7/8/10, you need to download free disk cloning software AOMEI Backupper and install it on your computer. Then, connect the target disk via USB cable and make sure it can be detected. 

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

▶ Video Tutorial: You can see the whole process more intuitively. 

▶ Graphic Tutorial: You can fully understand the details that need attention.

Here is a quick navigation to clone and replace hard drive with hard drive cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Standard, you can click it to jump to your situation.

Case 1: Clone 1TB HDD to 500GB HDD/SSD step by step

Step 1. Launch this software, click Disk Clone under the Clone tab.

Disk Clone

Note: This version only supports cloning system disk from MBR to MBR. If you want to clone GPT system disk to MBR, MBR system disk to GPT, or GPT system disk to GPT, you could consider upgrading to AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Step 2. Select the large hard drive as the source disk, here is a 1TB HDD, and click Next.

Large HDD

Step 3. Select the smaller SSD you plug in before as the destination disk, here is an 500GB SSD, and click Next.

Smaller SSD

Step 4. Tick "SSD Alignment" to improve the performance of SSD disk. Then, click Start Clone to clone large HDD to smaller SSD free.

Clone Large HDD to Smaller SSD

◒ It's suggested to tick "SSD Alignment" if your target disk is an SSD. Because it can accelerate the reading and writing speed for SSD disks using 4k alignment technology.
◒ Please do not check "Sector by sector clone", otherwise the cloning process will fail. Because it will clone all sectors of disk to SSD but the SSD does not have enough space to hold everything on the larger disk.
◒ You can clone any size of disk to another one, such as, clone 2TB HDD to 1TB SSD, clone 1TB HDD to 250GB SSD, clone 500GB HDD to 250GB SSD, clone 1TB HDD to 500GB HDD etc.

Case 2: Clone hard drive to larger drive in detail

Step 1. In the main page of AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Clone and Disk Clone in order. Then,  select the old 500GB HDD as the source disk and click Next.


Step 2. Select 1TB HDD/SSD as the destination disk and click Next. Then, back to the operation summary window, click "Start Clone" to clone a hard drive to larger one.


◒ Please remember to check "SSD Alignment" to keep your SSD in the best condition.
◒ Beside cloning HDD to SSD, you still can clone smaller SSD to larger SSD in different size, such as, clone 250GB SSD to 500GB SSD, clone 250GB SSD to 1TB SSD, clone 1TB SSD to 2TB SSD etc.


Cloned hard drive show wrong size 

As you know, the cloned hard drive show wrong size is a common question. But how to solve it? You can use "Edit Partitions" in the advanced version, such as, AOMEI Backupper Professional. 

It has three options, you can use any of them, including "Copy without resizing partitions", "Add unused space to all partitions", "Manually adjust partition size".  The last option is more flexible, you can select any partition you want to adjust including system partition.

Unallocated Space after Cloning Fixed


Wrapping things up

AOMEI Backupper is a great choice for you to clone hard drive with different size, because it works well in disk cloning and can ensure secure boot. You can use it to clone large HDD to smaller SSD if the used space is smaller than or equal to SSD disk. Even if your SSD disk cannot hold all the data on the hard drive, you still can choose to clone Windows 10 to smaller SSD with "System Clone" feature.

Also, you can use it to clone 500GB to 1TB HDD/SSD without the cloned hard drive different size not right issue. In brief, after cloning disk to larger disk, your target disk will show full capacity and you can use it to store more files and install programs etc on your computer.

In addition, the advanced version has more useful features, you are allowed to clone GPT disk to smaller SSD, clone hard drive from 2TB to 3TB, fix unallocated space after cloning a hard drive to larger drive with "Edit Partitions", migrate OS with "System Clone" if destination disk is too small etc.  Want to enjoy these features? Please download AOMEI Backupper Professional at least.