Clone HDD to SSD of Different Size (Max 4 Steps)

With reliable cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Professional, you can clone hard drive of different size and boot it up, whether it's a larger HDD or smaller SSD.


By Ivy Updated on July 2, 2024

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Can I clone a large HDD to a smaller SSD in a 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?”

Cloning a hard drive is a very popular way to boost performance, replace old hard drive, or just make a copy of backup. But what if the two hard drives have different sizes?

No matter, a reliable cloning software can handle it well and help you clone hard drive of different sizes effortlessly, such as clone large HDD to smaller SSD, 1TB to 500GB, for example, or clone hard drive to larger drive, from 500GB to 1TB, and boot it up successfully. 

⚠️Why users want to replace HDD with SSD?

SSDs have the inherent advantage of superior performance than hard disks, in our test, SSD takes 10 seconds to boot while HDD takes 4 minutes, for example, and the prices are now more affordable. So many users choose to replace HDD with SSD, and there are many excellent SSDs available such as Samsung 990 PRO, Crucial T500, Crucial T750, etc.

Potential issues when cloning HDD to SSD of different sizes

In general, your computer comes with a hard drive. However, with an increasing number of files added and programs installed, your disk may run out of space and the computer performance slows down dramatically. In this case, you may want to replace a hard drive, but the hard drive does not come with the same size. And then it may result in different issues after cloning hard drive with different size. 

😭 Cloned SSD won't bootUsually, the SSD is smaller than HDD in most situations, and since HDD is far more space than SSD, it is not possible to free up the disk to the same size as the smaller SSD. However, the system requires the operating system, boot partition(s), system files, drivers etc to be present at the same time when booting. If any of the boot files are missing, your new SSD will not boot. 

😭 Cloned drive not showing full capacity: Since the cloning process will keep the same disk layout on the destination disk, it will be exactly the same as the old one and extra space will display as unallocated space at the end of the disk. You can choose to extend partition in disk management or resize disk size during the cloning process.

Cloned Hard Drive Shows Wrong Size

Reliable cloning software to clone disk with different sizes

Whether you want to clone large HDD to smaller SSD, or clone hard drive to larger drive, you need reliable cloning software, such as AOMEI Backupper Professional.

It's embedded with one Disk Clone feature that can help you clone hard drive of different sizes effortlessly and handle cloning issue well with its tiny but useful tools, such as Edit Partitions, SSD Alignment, etc.

AOMEI Backupper
Easy Hard Drive and SSD Cloning Software
  • Clone hard drive of different sector sizes, Clone smaller SSD to larger SSD or smaller one, regardless of disk types (MBR or GPT) and brands, such as WD, Crucial, Samsung, and more.
  • Intelligent Clone: Clone only used sectors of hard drive or SSD and be sure the cloned drive is bootable.
  • Edit Partitions: Resize partition size on the destination disk to ensure the cloned drive show full capacity. 
  • SSD Alignment: With its 4k alignment, you can enjoy top SSD disk performance.
  • Try the premium feature - System Clone to migrate OS only to SSD if your destination disk is smaller.  

(*The Clone feature in the trial version can only be demonstrated. To clone hard drive of different size and boot from it, please upgrade Pro trial to the full version of AOMEI Backupper Professional.)

How to clone hard drive of different sizes with secure boot

Here is quick navigation to clone and replace hard drive with hard drive cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Professional.

  • Please be sure the smaller disk can hold data on the larger disk if you clone large HDD to smaller SSD drive. Otherwise, the cloning process will fail.

  • Don't tick the "Sector by sector clone" option when cloning hard drive to smaller SSD or drive. Because it will clone all sectors of the source disk to the destination disk, including the blank and bad ones, resulting in disk failure.

Step 1. Download and install disk clone software, we recommend you use AOMEI Backupper Professional, it's user-friendly and easy to operate. And then, launch this software, and click Disk Clone under the Clone tab.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the source disk you want to clone, and click Next.

Select Source Disk

Step 3. Select the destination disk you plug in before, and click Next.

You will be told this software will delete files on the destination disk. If there are any important data, please backup files to avoid any data loss during the cloning process.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. Tick the "SSD Alignment" option to accelerate the reading and writing speed for SSD disks while cloning hard drive to SSD. Then, click Start Clone to clone different size drives.

Clone Hard Drive Different Size

If you are cloning smaller drive to larger one, you can manage the disk layout with the "Edit Partitions" feature in AOMEI Backupper Professional. It has 3 options in the following:

✘Copy without resizing partitions: If you select this option or just enable it without changing, the size of the partition on the destination disk remains unchanged by default.
Add unused space to all partitions: It will reallocate the unallocated space automatically to each partition of the target disk, appropriate for the disk size.
✔Manually adjust partition size: It's more flexible, you can select the partition you want to extend disk size and drag to the left or right side.

Edit Partitions

In addition, it still provides users with another option to convert the disk type of the destination disk, from MBR to GPT, or GPT to MBR, and is only available when the source and destination disk have different disk types, one is MBR while the other is GPT, for example. 

🔗You may be interested in: Clone MBR to GPT Disk.

Wrapping things up

AOMEI Backupper is a great choice for you to clone different size drives because it works well in disk cloning and can ensure a 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 or clone and resize hard drive to avoid cloned SSD not showing full capacity. 

In addition, the full version has more useful features. You are allowed to migrate operating system to smaller SSD with "System Clone" feature, clone hard drive from 2TB to 3TB, clone GPT disk to smaller SSD, clone Windows 10 to NVMe SSD, fix cloned hard drive unallocated space left with the "Edit Partitions", etc.  Want to enjoy these features? Please download AOMEI Backupper Professional at least.

AOMEI Backupper

If you have two hard drives or SSDs with different sizes, but don't know how to transfer OS & files from one hard drive to another, try reliable cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Frequently asked questions

1.Do drives have to be the same size to clone?

The answer is NO. Butyou can choose to clone HDD to SSD with same size to get better performance, especially when the usedspace is less than size of the HDD. If you don't have enough budget, cloning a large HDD to a smaller SSD will be a better choice.

2.Can I clone a larger hard drive to a smaller one?

Definitely, you can if the used space of larger drive is smaller than or equal to the smaller drive and the cloning software you choose supports the "Intelligent Clone" feature. It only cloned the used sectors of a drive to another by default.

3. Why is my SSD capacity smaller after cloning?

As a matter of fact, cloning is a process of making an exact copy of original drive, so after cloning, both drives will have the same size, even if the target drive is larger than the original. This is why your SSD capacity becomes smaller after cloning.

To avoid this issue, you can adjust partition size with given option in the disk cloning software, such as Edit Partitions in AOMEI Backupper Professional. Also, you can choose to extend partition size with the built-in toolDisk Management.

4. How long to clone a 500GB hard drive?

Thecloning times may vary from tens of minutes to several hours, it depends on your cloning speed and data size. For example, if your cloning speed is a steady 100Mb/s, it will take about 90 minutes to clone a hard drive with 500 GB of data.

5. Can I clone 1TB drive to 500GB drive?

Yes, but you must ensure that the data on the source disk is less than or equal to 500GB. Then, employ one reliable cloning software like AOMEI Backupper Professional to transfer files from one hard drive to another. If any boot files on the source disk is missing, your computer will not boot.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.