Clone Larger Drive to Smaller SSD Drive in Windows 10 or 11

In need of cloning larger drive to smaller SSD drive and making it bootable? You need to use one intelligent hard drive cloning software - AOMEI Backupper.


By Ivy Updated on November 15, 2023

Share this: instagram reddit

🌟 Video Guide: How to Clone Larger Disk to Smaller Disk

Can I clone larger drive to smaller drive?

"I need to clone my 1TB hard drive to a 500GB SSD to gain better performance, and the 1TB one is only using around 250GB of space so it would fit fine. Does anyone know a program that will let me clone a larger drive to a smaller one? Seems all the ones I’ve tried want the destination to be the same or bigger. Thanks."

Clone Larger Drive to Smaller SSD

Considering the high performance of SSDs, many users would like to replace HDD with SSD, but due to the budget, they choose a smaller SSD. But the problem is, is it possible to clone larger drive to smaller SSD drive?

Many of you may have this question, and here I can tell you responsibly, it's possible as long as the used space for the larger drive is smaller than or equal to a smaller SSD. Cloning software like AOMEI Backupper Professional supports features like Intelligent Clone which clones only the used sectors of the drive.

Powerful hard drive cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Professional

The Intelligent Clone feature in AOMEI Backupper Professional is the key point in cloning larger drive to smaller drive without boot issues. In addition, if your disk is slightly damaged, it will skip bad sectors automatically, thus cloning hard drive with bad sectors. It applies to all cloning methods.

  • Three Cloning Methods: Disk Clone, System Clone, and Partition Clone. It gives a choice to clone entire disk or migrate OS to smaller SSD
  • SSD Alignment: AOMEI Backupper’s built-in technology will take care of 4K partition alignment for SSD to improve performance and prolong lifespan.
  • Edit Partitions: It is able to convert smaller SSD from MBR to GPT disk and vice versa to prevent boot failure due to different disk partition styles. Apply to clone MBR disk to GPT or clone GPT disk to MBR
  • SSD Compatibility:  It supports all branded SSDs, such as HP, Samsung, WD, SanDisk, Lenovo, etc. regardless of its capacity and interface like SATA,  NVMe, or PCIe.

Set your mind at ease to free download this software and have a try now. Following paragraph will show you how to clone a larger drive to a smaller one in detail. Take cloning to smaller SSD for example.

Download DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Preparations for cloning to smaller drive

To make sure the cloning process runs smoothly, you need to make some preparations.

1️⃣ Connect SSD: Install the smaller SSD disk on your computer and be sure it can be detected. If it's not initialized, please initialize it in the Disk Management first.

2️⃣ Connector: If your computer is a laptop, you need to prepare a SATA-to-USB cable or adapter.

3️⃣ Capacity: Check the used space of your larger drive and be sure it can fit the smaller SSD. If not, clean your larger drive, or use the System Clone feature instead.

4️⃣ Disk Partition Style: Be sure the larger drive and smaller drive both use GPT or MBR. If not, you need to convert them to the same or use the Edit Partitions feature in AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Here are some simple steps to check disk partition style:

In Disk Management, right-click the hard disk or the SSD, choose Properties ->Volume->Partition Style, then you will see "Master Boot Record(MBR)" or GUID partition table(GPT). 

Disk Partition Style

5️⃣ One external hard drive. You may need to transfer large files to get some space or create a system backup or disk backup to prevent data loss due to computer failure.

Step by step guide: clone larger hard drive to smaller SSD

Here is a stepwise guide to help you clone larger HDD to smaller SSD with secure boot. You can easily follow it to perform disk clone on your own.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Professional, and then you will see its deep-blue interface. Click Clone and then choose Disk Clone to start the cloning process.

Disk Clone

Note: The "Disk Clone" feature can only be demonstrated in the trial version. To clone larger drive to smaller drive and boot from it, you need to upgrade pro trial to the full version. 

Step 2. Choose the larger drive as the source disk, and then click Next.

Select Disk

Step 3. Choose the smaller SSD drive as the destination disk and click Next.

Choose Destination Disk

Step 4. This operation uses Intelligent Clone by default, so you can easily clone to smaller drive. Then, preview the operation summary and click Start Clone to execute. 

Start Clone

① It's suggested to tick SSD Alignment while cloning hard drive to SSD, because it can optimize the performance of SSD disk and make your computer run faster after cloning. 
② Do not check Sector by sector clone because this feature is to clone all sectors on larger drive, and it will fail to clone bigger drive to smaller drive due to insufficient disk space. 
Edit Partitions is used to avoid cloned hard drive unallocated space left. You have 3 options,  including ""Copy without resizing partitions, "Manually adjust partition size" or "Add unused space to all partitions" option.

Copy Without Resizing

Step 5. (Optional) Replace larger drive with the smaller SSD and try to boot from it. If it doesn't automatically boot from the cloned drive, you need to change boot priority to it in BIOS and try again.


① To get the best performance of cloned SSD disk, it's suggested to clone Windows 10 to NVMe SSD. Because it has the fastest speed.
② To clone larger HDD to smaller SSD without booting Windows, you can create a bootable media with this software and boot from it, then perform disk clone.

What to do when cloned drive won’t boot?

Cloned hard drive may not boot as expected due to various causes, such as corrupted operating system, missing boot related partition, operation mistakes, wrong boot order, etc.

Don’t be panic if you confront such a situation. In the first place, you need to understand that the cloning operation has no harm to the original hard drive since it just makes duplications. Then, you can follow this article to figure out how to fix cloned SSD won’t boot with detailed guides.


It is quite easy to clone larger drive to smaller drive like smaller SSD on the condition that you choose the right cloning tool. AOMEI Backupper can be a great choice because it can ensure a safe boot after cloning. At the same time, it provides some useful features to optimize the process, such as intelligent clone, 4k alignment technology, edit partitions, etc. 

Also, you can use it to clone hard drive to a larger drive, migrate Windows 10 to M.2 SSD, create bootable Win PE & Linux media, and so on. If you happen to have these needs, download it to have a try right now. After all, practice is the truth of everything.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.