How to Clone Laptop Hard Drive to Smaller SSD or New HDD

Want to clone laptop hard drive to SSD or another new drive for upgrading? Learn the most efficient way to do laptop hard drive clone with secure boot.


By Delia Updated on August 11, 2023

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Why Clone Laptop Hard Drive

Hard drive cloning means to transfer all data including operating system, data drive, personal files, customized settings, etc. from one hard drive to another SSD or HDD. The main point of this is to replace the disk for better performance or capacity, without losing the previous data nor reinstalling Windows.

More specifically, whether you are using Dell, ASUS, Samsung, HP, Seagate or Acer, you may want to clone laptop hard drive to another drive in following conditions:

  • Replace HDD with SSD to enjoy better performance.
  • Upgrade your old hard disk drive to a new one.
  • Replace your small hard drive with a larger one.
  • Create copies for your laptop hard drive as a backup.

clone laptop hard drive

How Can You Clone Laptop Hard Drive Simply

It's not difficult to transfer some files from a hard drive to another, the really tricky part is the operating system - you have to deal with complex boot files, settings and hidden files. And since Windows lacks a complete cloning feature, the closest option might be creating a system image and then restoring it to the new SSD, which is quite laborous and error-prone.

💬To save your effort, you could to turn to a reliable third-party cloning software, AOMEI Backupper Professional. This software has made a name for itself among millions of users with its powerful features and easy operation.

It provides Disk Clone, System Clone and Partition Clone features. In the event of cloning laptop hard drive to SSD, the software allows 4K partition alignment which can improve SSD’s performance. With the intelligent mode, you can even clone hard drive to smaller SSD.

For laptop users who have no way to connect target disk to laptop, this software also offers complete backup & restore features to restore Windows image to SSD.

This software supports Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista. Download it to have a try:

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

*Clone features in free trial can only be demonstrated. Please upgrade for full functionality.

Step-by-Step to Clone Laptop Hard Drive to Another Drive


  • Target drive: You'll need a destination drive with enough capacity to hold all the data from the source drive.

  • Cloning software: Download and install AOMEI Backupper on your laptop.

  • Connection method: Since the majority of laptops have only one slot that is occupying by internal hard drive, you may need to prepare an SATA-to-USB cable or hard drive enclousure to connect the target disk to laptop. If you have no SATA-to-USB cable, please refer to the next solution. If you have more than one slot, just install the new HDD or SSD alongside the old hard drive.

✍Note: The destination disk will be overwritten after cloning. So please backup files you care most in advance.

How to clone laptop hard drive

Step 1. Connect the new HDD to your laptop via USB cable. Install and launch the laptop disk clone software on your laptop. Go to Clone > Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

♦ If you want to transfer only OS to another drive, you can use System Clone feature.
♦ AOMEI Backupper supports cloning data disks and system disks of all brands and partition styles, allowing you to clone MBR to MBR/MBR to GPT or GPT to GPT/GPT to MBR directly. But you still need to ensure the partition style of the target disk is compatible with your boot mode (MBR for legacy BIOS and GPT for UEFI).

Step 2. Select the source disk on your laptop, and click Next.

Select Disk

Step 3. Select the destination disk to receive the cloned data, then click Next.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. Confirm the operations and then click Start Clone. If you are cloning disk to SSD, check this option to improve its reading and writing performance.

Start Clone

After completion, disconnect the cloned hard drive -> Shut down your laptop and disconnect all peripherals -> Remove battery and replace the old hard drive with the new one. You may need #1 or #0 screwdriver to uninstall the frame.

Replace Laptop Hard Drive

Then, install everything back and start your laptop. The familiar logo ought to be appeared.

📑More useful features:

  • Sector By Sector Clone: clone every section from the source disk to target disk. This requires the target disk to be equal to or larger than the source disk. This option will make Edit Partitions unusable.

  • If the source disk is GPT style, you can only clone up to 3 partitions to the target disk at a time. Left partitions can be cloned with Partition Clone.

  • Edit Partitions: edit partition size and drive letter, assign unallocated space on target disk. If you want to make the partition style of the target disk to be the same as the source disk, you can also use the convert option here.

    Copy Without Resizing

Transfer Laptop Hard Drive to New Disk without USB Cable (Free)

Sometimes, the direct disk to disk clone method may fail due to connection or battery problem. If you fails in that way or you don’t have an SATA-to-USB cable, check this way out.


  • You need to prepare an USB drive or CD/DVD disc with more than 13 GB in size. Install and run AOMEI Backupper.
  • This backup & restore can be carried out via the free version - AOMEI Backupper Standard. Download this freeware to proceed.
Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 1. Create Bootable Drive

Insert the USB drive or CD disc to laptop. In AOMEI Backupper, click Home > Tools > Create Bootable Media. Follow the wizard to create a bootable drive.

Create Bootable Media

Step 2. Create Image for Laptop Hard Drive

In AOMEI Backupper, click Backup and then Disk Backup to create disk image. You can save image to external drive, network share or another USB drive. Just make sure you can access it from WinPE boot drive.

Disk Backup

Step 3. Restore Image to New Drive

Shut down your laptop and remove the battery manually. Replace internal hard drive with target drive on laptop. Insert the bootable drive you’ve created and power on. Enter into BIOS by pressing Del (F2 or another specific key) to change boot priority to the bootable media.

Once logged in, you’ll see AOMEI Backupper immediately. Go Restore and then click "Select Task" to start the restore operation. Follow the wizard to complete restoring. Finally, remove bootable drive and restart your laptop.

Select Task

Tip: For detailed steps with screenshots, please refer to SONY laptop hard drive upgrade.


Two ways on how to transfer laptop hard drive are introduced above. One is to clone laptop hard drive directly, and the other is to transfer all data via Backup & Restore method. Choose the most suitable way based on your situation. In fact, except for cloning hard drive on laptop, you can clone desktop hard drive using the same feature.

What’s more, this software still support replacing hard drive in ASUS laptop, and other computer brands, such as, Lenovo/Dell/HP/Toshiba/Samsung/Acer. In addition, it's also the best way to backup laptop. It's recommended to keep this software on your computer to protect your system and data persistently.

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.