By AOMEI / Last Updated 02/07/2021

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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?

- Question from

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 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 to hard drives that are 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 the free hard drive cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition. Following are its main features in regard to clone:

✪ Disk Clone: it will clone all data from one hard disk to another disk, including Windows, applications, settings, and user files, etc.
✪ Partition Clone: it can copy data from a particular partition to another partition. You may use it to clone NTFS drive, FAT32 drive and so on.
✪ Intelligent clone: the program use this option by default to clone only the used part of the source disk/partition, thus making it possible to clone large HDD to smaller SSD. The partitions will be automatically adjusted to fit the smaller SSD during the cloning progress. The only precondition is that the smaller drive should be big enough to hold all data on the larger drive.
✪ SSD Alignment: it can help to improve SSD’s performance (reading and writing speed) and prolong its lifespan (this option appears at final confirmation page).

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 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista are supported. Want to have a try? Follow the step-by-step guide below.

Step-by-step guide to clone bigger HDD to smaller SSD safely

With its intuitive interface, you can clone a larger HDD to a smaller SSD in just a few simple steps. Before you start, you should:

  • Connect or install the smaller SSD to your computer.

  • Backup files on the target smaller SSD if exist because it  will be overwritten in the cloning process. 

Detailed steps to clone large HDD to smaller SSD:

1. Download and install the free disk cloning software on your computer, and then open it.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

2. Click on Disk Clone under the Clone tab.

Disk Clone

✎ Note: The Standard edition only supports cloning system disk from MBR to MBR. To clone GTP to GPT, clone MBR to GPT vice versa, you may upgrade to the Pro edition.

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.

Select Disk

4. Check the SSD Alignment option, which is essential for achieving the SSD’s best performance. Then click Start Clone to begin cloning large HDD to smaller SSD.

Start Clone

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.

The End

If you want to clone larger HDD to smaller SSD in Windows 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 mulitiple 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.