at Ivy / Last update July 20, 2021

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Need help: how can I clone my hard drive for free? 

‚ÄúI have an old Kingston 64GB SSD drive that contains my OS and programs. I try to clone it to a new OCZ Certex3 120GB SSD drive with Macrium Reflect free version. The cloning process goes smoothly but my computer won‚Äôt boot properly after I change the drive letter of old drive and boot from new SSD. I just want to keep the old drive and rename it with a different drive letter. What should I do? ‚ÄĚ

Clone Disk Partition

For this issue, you need to be sure the following things:

  • The new SSD is a primary partition and marked as active.
  • The new SSD is the first boot option.

After that, you can take out the old SSD and let your computer boot from the new SSD. If your computer boot as normal, you can plug the old drive into the computer again.

If it's not, there is a possibility that the system reserved partition is on the wrong drive, you need to move system served partition to SSD. For more info, learn from cloned hard drive won't boot.

In addition, you could try the best free disk partition cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Standard to clone hard drive to another one and boot from it successfully. Please keep reading below to learn more.

Best disk partition clone freeware - AOMEI Backupper Standard

As the best free disk partition clone software, AOMEI Backupper Standard can help you clone disk partition to give your computer new life, it can be a HDD with bigger capacity, or SSD with higher performance. 

  • It supports¬†cloning disk and partition in simple steps, the previous one will include everything required to start Windows, such as, operating system, boot-related partition(s), and other data you don't want to lose, such as,¬†installed programs, personal data etc.
  • It supports two cloning types, including "Sector by sector clone"¬†and¬†"Intelligent clone". You can¬†use it to clone hard drive to larger drive¬†(most software can do),¬†or clone large HDD to smaller SSD¬†by cloning only used sectors with intelligent clone technology, which is not supported in majority of software.
  • It can help you get the best performance from SSD disk by¬†speeding up the reading & writting speed of a SSD with its "SSD Alignment".
  • It has great compatibility in Windows system and disk brands. It supports Windows 7/8/10/XP/Vista and all brands disk, including WD, Samsung, HP, Lenovo, Intel, etc.

In addition, if you are cloning disk to larger disk, you will need the help of "Edit Partitions" feature in the professional version, which resolves a big headache for many users, it's cloned hard drive shows wrong size after cloning.  By default, the cloning software will make an exact copy of original disk and leave the extra space as unallocated space, but you cannot see it in the Windows File Explorer. 

Step by step guide: clone disk partition to SSD free in Windows 10

Here you will use "Disk Clone" feature in AOMEI Backupper Standard to clone disk partition to SSD free. This method is applicable to all Windows systems, including Windows 10/8/7/XP/Vista(both 32-bit or 64-bit). Just follow ste[s below to learn how to clone disk partition to SSD free.

Part 1: Prepare for disk partition clone

Before cloning disk partition, you need to make some preparations so as to ensure the cloning process is smooth. 

  • Get an SSD with right interface and thickness.¬†Most laptops use a 2.5-inch hard drive unless you have an Ultraportable Notebook that may use a smaller 1.8-inch drive. And SSDs also have different thicknesses (either 7mm or 9.5 mm) and different interfaces.

  • Install the SSD disk on your computer. If it is a laptop, please prepare a USB-to-SATA cable or adapter to connect for cloning.

  • Initialize the SSD disk in the disk management of it's not.

  • Check the capacity of both disk. Usually, the new SSD needs to be larger than or equal to your old drive, which refers to the used space. If not, the cloning process may fail eventually.

  • Put a diet on the old HDD if it's larger than SSD. You can delete useless files or temperary files, uninstall the programs no longer in use. Also, you can transfer large files to another disk, for example, movies, mp3, working documents etc.

  • All data on the destination disk will be overwritten finally, so please¬†backup files in Windows 10/8/7 ahead of time.

Part 2: Clone disk partition with AOMEI Backupper Standard

Note that you can use this software to clone HDD/SSD, MBR disk or GPT disk, but the free version only supports cloning system disk between two MBR disks, you need to check if the partition style of both disks are MBR.

Go to Disk Management, right click the hard disk or SSD and choose Properties -> Volume -> Partition Style, then you will see MBR or GPT at the right side of Partition Style.

Disk Partition Style

Then, you can contiue using the disk partition clone freeware if your disks are MBR. If not, it's suggested to upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional and then clone system disk betwen two GPT disks or MBR and GPT.

Step 1. Download and install the free copy partition software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. Then, launch it, click "Clone" and "Disk Clone" in order. To clone the specific partition, click "Partition Clone" to replace it.

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Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the old disk you want to clone(here is Disk1) and click Next.

Select Source Disk

Step 3. Select the new SSD to save the disk image (Here is Disk2) and click Next.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. Tick "SSD Aignment" to gain peak performance of the SSD if you are cloning disk partition to SSD. Then, click "Start Clone" to begin the cloning process.

Clone Disk Partition

Notes: 
‚ÄĘ "Sector by sector clone" and "Edit Partitions(supported by AOMEI Backupper Professional)" both can be used to when you clone disk to larger disk. But they cannot exist at the same time, so you need to choose between the two.
‚ÄĘ To clone MBR to GPT disk¬†without converting partition style, or migrate operating system to SSD, you need to upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional first.¬†

Step 5. Boot computer from the cloned hard driv and check if all the content are correct. If the computer is a laptop, please swap hard drive first.

In sum

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free disk partition cloning software, which can help you clone disk and partition as you like. For disk clone, you are allowed to clone hard drive with different size whether larger or smaller. And you can make SSD to achieve its best performance with its "SSD Alignment" feature.

Of course, if you don't mind make a little investment, you can enjoy more useful features, such as, prevent unallocated space after cloning with its Edit Partitions feature, migrate OS to smaller SSD with System Clone feature, clone dynamic disk in Windows 7 with Disk Clone feature, etc. Just download AOMEI Backupper Standard to explore it yourself.