Scenario: can I clone large HDD to smaller SSD?
If the used space of your HDD is less than or equal to 500 GB, you can clone 1TB HDD to 500 GB SSD without deleting useless files or uninstalling programs. But if the used space is larger than 500GB, you need to free up disk space in advance.
Why clone large HDD to smaller SSD in Windows?
Upgrading the system hard drive has become pretty common as more and more users are expecting to improve their computers' performance without replacing the entire system. Here’s why you might choose to clone HDD to smaller SSD:
Fast speeds and higher performance. It’s well-known that SSDs have better boot speeds and faster read/write speeds than HDDs. Also, SSDs are popular for system security, compatibility, and durability.
Price. With the popularization of SSDs, SSDs are getting cheaper and you can now get an SSD with good performance and affordable price.
SSD for OS and HDD for storage setup. Many users prefer to have their OS on an SSD for fast boot speeds and data on an HDD for big capacity.
Saving time and effort. Cloning large HDD to smaller SSD saves you the effort of reinstalling the operating system and applications. Plus, all of the configured system settings will remain intact after cloning. Compared to a fresh install, cloning a drive saves massive amounts of time.
Well, how do you clone larger drive to smaller drive or SSD easily and successfully? As Windows is missing a cloning feature, we will have to use specialist third party disk cloning software, but which one is reliable enough for us to choose?
Free disk cloning software to clone to smaller SSD
There’s a huge range of disk cloning software available on the internet, yet most of them will only let users clone disk to SSD that is equal to or larger than their current drive. They can’t help to clone to smaller SSD.
To clone larger HDD to smaller SSD, you should consider using free hard drive cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition. Following are its main features in regard to clone:
What’s more, you will still be able to use your computer while the cloning process takes place as it can run in the background. All Windows PC operating systems like Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista are supported. Want to have a try? Follow the step-by-step guide below to clone disk to smaller SSD free.
How to clone bigger HDD to smaller SSD safely
With its intuitive interface, you can clone Windows 11/10/8/7 to a smaller SSD in just a few simple steps. Before you start, you should:
Prepare an SSD disk and be sure it's recognized. Cloning Windows 10 to NVMe SSD will be a great option if you want to make your computer run faster.
Connect or install the smaller SSD to your computer.
Check if the used space of large HDD is less than or equal to smaller SSD. If not, please free up disk space before cloning HDD to SSD in smaller size.
Backup files on the target smaller SSD, because the SSD will be overwritten in the cloning process.
Detailed steps to clone larger hard drive to smaller SSD
1. Download and install the free disk cloning software on your computer, and then open it.
2. Click on Disk Clone under the Clone tab.
◑ The Standard edition only supports cloning system disk from MBR to MBR. To clone GTP to GPT, clone MBR to GPT or vice versa, you may upgrade to the Pro edition.
◑ To check your partition style (MBR/GPT), you can search for "Disk Management" to open it, right-click on the disk, choose "Properties" and go to "Volumes" tab.
3. Select the larger HDD as the source disk, and then click Next. Click on the smaller SSD as the destination disk, and click Next to continue.
4. Check the SSD Alignment option, which is essential for achieving the SSD’s best performance. Then click Start Clone to begin cloning HDD to smaller SSD free.
✎ Note: The "Sector by Sector Clone" feature will clone all sectors of a hard drive to another one, thus don't check this feature if the target disk is smaller. It is only suitable for cloning hard drive to larger drive or cloning SSD to larger SSD.
5. (Optional) To boot from the cloned SSD, you may change boot order in the BIOS or replace the HDD with the SSD.
✌ Helpful Tips:
● If the used space on the source disk is beyond the SSD’s capacity, you may migrate operating system to SSD using System Clone. This feature is available in AOMEI Backupper Professional and higher editions.
● The same steps apply to cloning 1TB HDD to 500GB SSD, cloning 500GB HDD to 256GB SSD and the like, as well as clone disk to larger disk, clone NVMe to larger NVMe.
If you want to clone larger HDD to smaller SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7, then the free hard drive cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Standard is the perfect solution for you! And it can still be a free SSD clone software to help you clone SSD to another SSD regardless of partition size or disk brand. You can use it to clone SSD to Samsung SSD, clone SSD to larger SSD, clone Sandisk SSD to another SSD, etc.
Actually, it is also excellent backup and restore software which allows users to make full system backup, disk backup, partition backup, file backup, scheduled backup as well as basic sync.
Don’t hesitate to download AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition and try it out for yourself. If you are using a server, don’t worry! You can use AOMEI Backupper Server Edition. If you want to easily perform disk clone or OS migration on multiple Windows computers, you could also use Technician edition to create a portable version of AOMEI Backupper on removable device, and use it on any target PC without installing.