By Delia / Last update August 3, 2021

What are bad sectors on your hard drive?

As long they exist on the drive, bad sector will affect the use of your computer and may cause you to lose your data. While bad sector many not seem like a big deal as they are usually tiny clusters on the drive, they will likely have a serious effect on the drives usability and your computers performance.

There are two types of bad sectors on hard drives, these are soft bad sectors and hard bad sectors.

Hard bad sectors

Hard bad sectors refer to physically bad spots on the hard drive that cause the computer to be unable to read or save data to that spot. These can be caused by a variety of different methods such as poor-quality manufacturing, user wear and tear, or the drive having been dropped or damaged in some way during use. Once you notice that there is a problem with your hard drive, you can run “chkdsk” to check your hard drive for errors and get your PCs bad sectors report.

Soft bad sectors

Soft bad sectors are usually caused by software issues or power supply problems to your drive. If you are writing data to your drive and the drive loses power because it has been unplugged, then it possible a bad sector has been created. This is due to the sectors on the drive not matching their error correction code in Windows. Unforeseen system issues and malware have been known to also cause bad sectors to develop.

If a user is attempting to clone their drive, they might find that the cloning process terminates before completion as the process has been unable to read the data on the bad sectors. Normally when this happens you will receive the “read error” error message. If you still want to clone a hard drive with bad sectors you should first find a way to remove the sectors or ignore them during the cloning process.

What can you do about the bad sectors?

In the very first place, you need to aware of that the data that has already written to the bad sectors is rarely difficult to recover.

1. Type "command prompt" in the Windows Search pane, right click it from the results and select "Run as administrator" to open an elevated Command Prompt window.

2. When prompted, type "chkdsk f: /f /r" and press 'Enter' key, the tool will now find any bad sectors and attempt to repair them. 

Note: the data may be permanently lost if the bad sectors can’t be recovered.


3. If you also want to check the sectors on different hard drives, you should replace f: with the letter of the other drives.

Nevertheless, it would be time-consuming if there are plenty of bad sectors on the drive. Also, it is less value to repair a hard disk that is all over bad sectors since it is a failing hard drive. In that case, finding a way to copy hard drive with bad sectors is a wise move. Well, how could you complete the task in Windows?

Free software to clone hard drive with bad sectors

It is not too hard for users to clone hard disks with bad sectors as long as you have the right specialist software. Many programs on the internet will not be able to handle or read the bad sectors and they will simply abort the cloning process when they reach bad sectors – or they will require you to upgrade to the expensive premium version before they can process bad sectors. 

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free specialist hard drive cloning program which has the ability to clone hard drives with bad sectors in Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

  • It supports cloning a large disk to a smaller disk as long as all of the data on the original disk can fit onto the smaller one.
  • By default, AOMEI Backupper will clone hard drives by skipping the bad sectors using its professional ‘Intelligent Clone’ tool. 
  • AOMEI Backupper includes a variety of premium level tools for free - these allow you to clone HDD to SSD (regardless of the disk brand) without having to reinstall your operating system. Or you can use it to clone hard drives to external drives to easily transfer your data to other systems.

AOMEI Backupper’s clean user interface makes it easy to use. Even a rookie user can complete complex level cloning operations at the push of a button. Why don't you download AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition right now and solve your cloning problems?

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step-by-step Guide: clone HDD with bad sectors in Windows

First, connect to the new drive you want use to your PC (either an SSD, a newer HDD, or external HDD). 

Important: if your computer can’t boot up as normal due to the bad sectors, we suggest you first create a bootable USB on a working Windows-based PC using AOMEI Backupper. Next, boot the computer that contains the broken drive using the bootable USB. AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition will load once the system has booted. 

Step 1. Install and launch free hard drive cloning software AOMEI Backupper Standard. Next, click on ‘Clone’ and then select ‘Disk Clone’.

Disk Clone

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

Step 2. Select the hard drive with bad sectors as the source disk.

Select Source Disk

Step 3. Select another drive as the destination disk. You will be given the choice to clone your larger drive to a smaller drive as we mentioned before. 

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. Check the operation summary and click Start Clone.

Start Clone

Step 5. Replace the broken hard drive that contains the bad sectors with the newly cloned drive (if you are using a laptop) or change boot order in the BIOS on your desktop PC to boot from the newly cloned drive.


  • It is advised you UNCHECK the ‘sector by sector clone’ box as it will take considerably longer to clone the drive and it is possible the bad sectors will be copied.

  • If you copy data from a hard disk with bad sectors to an SSD, then checking the ‘SSD Alignment’ option will greatly improve the read and write speed of the drive as well as prolonging its service life.

  • You can make all of the partitions on the bad disk fill the entire second disk by clicking on the ‘Edit Partitions’ function. If necessary, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional.

  • If you want to get the best performance from the cloned drive, cloning Windows 10 to NVMe will be a great option.

  • This software is still a M.2 SSD cloner, thus you can use it to migrate Windows 10 to M.2 SSD, clone M.2 SSD to M.2 SSD, etc.

  • If you want to clone Only OS, you can use ‘System Clone’ feature in the professional.


You shouldn’t worry about bad sectors effecting your disk as you can fix them by cloning the drive with AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition or by using the ‘chkdsk’ function built into Windows. AOMEI Backupper has many other specialist features, like system backup, automatic SSD backup, incremental and differential backups, and many many more.

If you are an advanced PC user and you would prefer to clone hard drives using command prompt, AOMEI Backupper Professional Edition is designed for you. AOMEI Backupper Standard/Professional Editions don’t support Windows Server operating systems, so if you’re running a Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2012, 2016, or 2019 operating system please check out our other specialist tool: AOMEI Backupper Server Edition.