Best Software to Clone Hard Drives with Bad Sectors (Bootable)

This post introduces how to clone hard drives with bad sectors on your laptop or desktop PC in Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. After reading, you will be able to successfully migrate the operating system to an SSD and boot your PC as usual.


By Delia Updated on May 29, 2023

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What are bad sectors, do them affect cloning hard drives?

A bad sector on a hard drive is a tiny cluster of storage space of the hard drive that appears to be defective. The bad sectors won’t respond to read or write requests, and may affect the use of your computer and even cause data loss.

There are 2 types of bad sectors on hard drives - hard bad sectors and soft bad sectors.

🌚Hard bad sectors: Hard bad sectors refer to physical defects on the hard drive that cause the computer unable to read or save data (and cannot be repaired). They are caused by manufacturing flaws or wear problems that contribute to the sector’s physical destruction.

🌓Soft bad sectors: Soft bad sectors are logical defects caused by software issues or power supply problems to your drive. Unforeseen system issues and malware have been known to also cause bad sectors to develop.

When you clone a hard drive with bad sectors, the cloning process may terminate before completion as it cannot read the data on the bad sectors, and you may receive the “read error” error message; Another problem is that even you can clone a failing disk, you may be concerned about cloning bad sectors over to the target disk as well.

Either case, to clone a hard drive with bad sectors successfully, you need to find a way to remove bad sectors or omit them during the cloning process.

clone hard drive with bad sectors

Best software to clone hard drive with bad sectors

To clone hard disks with bad sectors, the first thing you need is an efficient tool. 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 – but AOMEI Backupper Professional, this specialist hard drive cloning program can copy only used sectors, and skip all the blank and logically bad sectors.

✔It supports all the Windows operating systems, including Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.
✔It enables you to clone large disk to smaller disk (and vice versa) as long as all of the data on the original disk can fit onto the smaller one.
✔It runs intelligent-sector clone by default, which copies only used sectors and skip bad sectors during cloning.
✔Its powerful cloning features allow you to clone HDD to SSD (regardless of the disk brand) without reinstalling your operating system. Or you can use it to clone hard drives to external drives.

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 not download it right now to solve your cloning problems?

Download Best ClonerWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

*The cloning features in trial version are for demonstration only. To actually complete the cloning, you can upgrade AOMEI Backupper for full functionality.

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 you are copying a failing hard drive and your computer cannot boot up already due to the bad sectors, please 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 will load once the system has booted.

Step 1. Install and launch hard drive cloning software AOMEI Backupper Professional. Next, click on Clone and then select Disk Clone. *If you want to clone Only OS, you can use System Clone feature.

Disk Clone

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

Source Disk

Step 3. Select another drive as the destination disk. It's ok to clone larger drive to a smaller drive or vice versa.

Destination Disk

✍Note: The Professional edition supports cloning both data disks and systems disks from MBR to MBR/MBR to GPT, or GPT to GPT/GPT to MBR. If you only want to clone data disks, you can pick the complete free Standard edition.

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

Start Clone

🔲Related tips:

👉 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 Edit Partitions.

  • Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
  • Add unused space to all partitions: Add unallocated space to each partition of the target disk accordingly.
  • Manually adjust partition size: Extend unallocated space to any partition on the destination disk you want.
  • Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT: It helps to convert the partition style of the destination disk if it is different from the source disk.

Add Unused Space

👉 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.

Here's a video that describes the feature more clearly:

Step 5. When the clone is complete, shut down the computer and replace the broken hard drive that contains the bad sectors with the newly cloned drive (if you are using a laptop with only one slot), and then boot from it.

If your computer has extra slot, you can also keep the old hard drive, and change boot order in the BIOS (press specified key during startup to enter this menu) on your desktop PC to boot from the newly cloned drive.

BIOS Boot Order

This method is suitable for all kinds of hard drives, such as SATA drives and NVMe SSDs, you can use it to clone SATA to NVMe, clone NVMe to another NVMe, etc.

AOMEI Backupper is also a M.2 SSD cloner. You can use it to clone HDD to M.2 SSD, clone M.2 SSD to M.2 SSD, etc.

How to check and fix bad sectors on hard drive (2 ways)

Before cloning a disk with bad sectors, some users may want to try fixing the existing issues first. In fact, once there's something wrong with your hard drive, you have some ways to check hard drive for errors and hopefully, get the bad sectors fixed. Here are 2 ways you can try.


  • Please be aware of that the data that has been written to the bad sectors is difficult to recover.
  • And if hard bad sectors appear on your hard drive, it's nearly impossible to fix it by your own. You may need to send it to the manufacturer or a repair center

Way 1. Use error-checking tool

Open “This PC”, right-click on the system drive, choose “Properties” -> “Tools”, and click “Check now” under Error checking. Then, click “Scan drive” on the pop-up window.

If errors are found, you can decide if you want to fix them.


Way 2. Run chkdsk command

1. Type "command prompt" in the Windows Search pane, run it as administrator to open an elevated Command Prompt window.

2. When prompted, type "chkdsk x: /f /r" (replace "x" with the drive you want to scan for) 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.


Nevertheless, it would be time-consuming if there are plenty of bad sectors on the drive, and there's no guarantee for the result. Therefore, compared to reparing a failing hard drive, it may be a better idea to clone the hard drive with bad sectors to a good one to avoid further loss.

Clone hard drive even with bad sectors

You can also choose not to repair the failing hard drive, but to clone only valid sectors to target drive. More »

Try Best ClonerWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP

FAQs about cloning hard drive with bad sectors

1. Does cloning a hard drive also copy over errors like bad sectors?

It’s ok to clone a clean drive to a bad-sector drive, because the cloning will overwrite everything on the target drive. However, cloning a hard drive with bad sectors to a clean drive can be risky.

Bad sectors are parts of the disk that have become unreadable or corrupt. If you clone a hard drive with bad sectors without proper precautions, you may end up with more data loss and corrupted files, that’s why you need a professional cloning tool that can skip bad sectors during cloning.

2. What are some other ways to recover data from a failing hard disk?

You can also use recovery software that can scan the crashed or inaccessible hard disk and recover the files;

Another way is to extract the hard drive from the dead computer and connect it to another working computer as an external drive, then copy the data if it is accessible;

If you've made backups (using Windows Backup or other tools) before the hard drive failing, you can restore some important data from the backup. If you haven't, well, maybe it's time to get into the habit of scheduled backups.

3. How to deal with the source hard drive with bad sectors after cloning?

When you finish cloning, you can boot the system from the new disk, but what about the old failing hard drive?

Actually, if it's soft bad sectors, then you can still try wiping the hard drive for reuse. Just keep it connected to your computer as an external drive, launch AOMEI Backupper and go to Tools -> Disk Wipe. Then you can choose Wipe disk with 4 wiping methods available (Fill sectors with Zero, Fill sectors with random data, DoD 52220.22-M, Gutmann). This will delete all partitions and wipe all sectors on the disk.

Choose Wipe Disk


You shouldn’t worry about bad sectors effecting your disk as you can fix them by cloning the drive with AOMEI Backupper 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.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.