By AOMEI / Last Updated February 20, 2020

Can I clone large HDD to smaller SSD?

“I’ve had my current hard drive for 5 years and it’s now looking like I should replace it with a new one. Loads of forums recommend solid-state drives (SSDs) now and I brought one. I stupidly brought a 120 GB SDD and my HDD is 500 GB, is there any way to clone larger HDD to smaller SSD?”

There’s a whole range of disk cloning software available on the internet, yet most of these will only let users clone to hard drives that are equal to or greater in size than their current one. Not very helpful if you’ve purchased a smaller SSD.

This isn’t a problem for us, we will show you how to clone a HDD to a smaller SSD providing that the used space on the original HDD is smaller than the SSD.

Why clone large HDD to smaller SSD in Windows?

Upgrading your systems hard drive has become pretty common as more and more users are looking to improve their computers' performance without replacing the entire system. Here’s why you might choose to clone your hard drive to a smaller SSD:

  • Fast speeds and higher performance. It’s well known that SSDs have better boot speeds, faster read and write speeds, system security, compatibility, and durability.

  • Price. As SSDs are still relatively new to the mass market when compared to traditional HDDs, they are more expensive per GB of capacity.

  • SSD for OS and HDD for storage setup. Many users including this author prefer to have their OS on an SSD for fast boot speeds and a larger HDD for secondary storage.

  • Saving time and effort. Cloning an entire hard drive to an SSD saves you the effort of reinstalling the operating system and applications. Plus, all of the configured system settings will remain intact after cloning. When compared to a fresh install, cloning a drive saves massive amounts of time.

Well, how do you clone your drive 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?

Powerful software to clone to smaller SSD in Windows

If you want to clone a larger HDD to a smaller SSD you should consider using AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition as it is able to reliably clone from a large disk to a smaller disk.

The partitions will be automatically adjusted to fit the smaller SSD during cloning progress and for SSD cloning, it offers a special option (SSD Alignment) to improve SSD’s performance and prolong its lifespan (this option appears at final confirmation page).

AOMEI Backupper advanced edition fully supports UEFI enabled systems so you will be able to clone MBR to GPT disks or vice versa without any issues. What’s more, you will still be able to use your computer while the cloning process takes place as it has the ability to run in the background.

Let’s follow the step-by-step guide below to see how to transfer Windows 10 from HDD to SSD:

How to clone a bigger HDD to a smaller SSD (step-by-step)?

Within its intuitive interface, AOMEI Backupper allows you to clone a larger hard drive to a smaller SSD for free with just a few simple steps. Before we begin you should connect or install the smaller SSD to your computer.

Start to clone larger drive to smaller SSD with the detailed steps.

1. Download and install this software on your computer, and then open it.

2. Click on Disk Clone under the Clone tab.

Disk Clone

3. Select the source disk by clicking on the large HDD, and then click on Next. After, click on the small SSD to mark it as the destination disk, and click Next to continue.

Select Disk

4. Check the SSD Alignment option, this is essential for achieving the SSDs best performance. Then click Start Clone to begin cloning the hard drive to the SSD.

Start Clone

5. (Optional) To boot from the cloned SSD, you have to replace the HDD with the SSD manually and change boot order in the BIOS.

Helpful Tips: If the used space on the source disk is larger than the SSD disk, you can read our guide on migrating operating system to SSDs. In order to do this, you will need to first upgrade to professional version. In addition, please note that the Standard edition only supports clone operating system disk from MBR to MBR or GPT to GPT when you perform "Disk Clone".

You can also use the same steps with a laptop to, for example, clone a large HDD to a smaller SSD, clone 1TB HDD to 500GB SSD, clone 500GB HDD to 256GB SSD, or clone hard drive in Windows 10 to new disk.

AOMEI Backupper isn’t just specialist disk cloning software, it also has excellent backup and restore features and allows users to make full system backups, disk backups, scheduled backups, partition backups, file backups, and sync files.

The End

If you want to clone larger HDD to smaller SSD in Windows 10, 8, 7 then AOMEI Backupper is the perfect piece of specialist software for you! Don’t be hesitate. 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.