Copy MBR from One Disk to another (SSD/USB) and Ensure Boot

How to copy MBR from one hard disk to another drive, such as SSD or USB flash drive in Windows 11/10/87. Take a look inside.


By Delia Updated on August 7, 2023

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Need to copy MBR from one disk to another


I’d like to copy my boot drive including MBR to another hard drive that is typically newly formatted. Clean reinstall would not be my choice because I almost have set everything done. Is there any simple way to copy MBR boot from one disk to another for Windows 10 in my case? Or can I copy MBR from one disk to another in similar ways?

Master Boot Record (MBR) is a critical data structure located at the beginning of a storage device (typically a HDD or SSD) that is used for bootstrapping the operating system.

Copying MBR to another disk generally refers to the process of transferring the partition table and bootloader (or entire boot drive). There are a few scenarios in which this might be necessary or useful:

  • Upgrading to a new disk: By moving MBR to the new disk, you preserve the existing configuration, and ensure that the computer's boot process remains unaffected.

  • Disk cloning or imaging: During disk migration or imaging, you can copy the entire boot disk including the MBR to another disk.

  • Fixing boot issues: If the MBR on the current disk becomes corrupt or damaged, you might need to move or restore the MBR from a backup or a working copy on another disk to get the system booting again.

There are various methods and tools to help you copy MBR. Let's have a closer look.

💬As technology evolves, newer systems are moving away from the traditional MBR-based boot process in favor of UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) and GPT (GUID Partition Table) methods. So the process of copying MBR to another disk might not work sometimes. Instead, you can refer to: How to copy MBR to GPT disk.


How to move MBR to another drive in Windows 11/10/8/7?

In Windows, you can use the bootsect command to copy the Master Boot Record (MBR) from one disk to another. Since the MBR contains information about the disk it installs, including the volume label for that drive which is not interchangeable, you need to handle it carefully if you want to copy MBR to SSD or other drives without boot failures. It's also suggested to make backups of important data before proceeding.

To copy the MBR from one disk to another, follow these steps:

1. Click Start and type “command prompt” in the search box. Right click the Command Prompt program from the given list and select Run as administrator.

2. Type diskpart -> list disk to identify the disk number of the source disk (the disk you want to copy MBR from) and the destination disk (the disk to copy the MBR to). Double check to avoid any accidental data loss.

3. Use the "bcdboot" command to copy the BOOTMGR and BCD to the target disk. Replace "Y" with the disk number of your target disk.

bcdboot C:\Windows /s Y:

*Make sure to replace "C:\Windows" with the appropriate Windows installation path if your Windows is installed on a different drive.


4. It may not be necessary to install the MBR boot code, because Windows should have initialized empty disks with correct MBR boot code already. But you can also use this command to reconfirm it. Replace Y with the disk number of the destination disks.

bootsect /nt60 Y: /mbr

*The /nt60 parameter specifies that you want to update the MBR code to the latest version.

5. After copying the MBR, it's a good idea to restart your computer to ensure that the changes take effect. You can also fix MBR for hard drive if it is moved yet not boot successfully.

💬Remember, altering the MBR can be risky, so you must proceed with caution and ensure you have backups in case anything goes wrong. If you're not familiar with disk management and partitioning, it's best to seek assistance from some qualified and streamlined tools.

Secure way to copy MBR to another disk (HDD/SSD) in Windows

AOMEI Backupper Professional is all-around cloning software that allows you to copy MBR to SSD, new hard drive, USB flash drive, etc. with secure boot in Windows 11/10/8/8.1/Vista/XP.

🔹It gives options to copy only operating system (boot-related files including MBR) to another drive, or clone entire boot drive for a complete duplication.

🔹It not only allows you to copy MBR to MBR disk, but also MBR to GPT or vice versa. You just need to make sure the partition style is compatible with the supported boot mode (MBR for Legacy BIOS and GPT for UEFI).

🔹It offers intelligent clone and sector-by-sector clone for different plans. The first method does a great help if you want to clone larger drive to smaller drive. And the second one requires equal or larger disk capacity.

Following will take how to copy MBR to new hard drive for example:

1. Download AOMEI Backupper Professional and install it on your computer. Connect the new hard drive to your machine and make sure it can be detected.

Free DownloadWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

✍Important: The cloning will overwrite everything on the target drive, so if there's any importan data on it, please go to Backup tab to make a backup first.

2. Run AOMEI Backupper Professional, click Clone and then System Clone. Note If you have boot drive and system drive on different disks, it is suggested to do Partition Clone, and select the source parition by yourself.

System Clone

3. All necessary boot-related drives including MBR boot drive should be selected by default. Here you just need to choose the new hard drive as the destination disk now.

Choose Destination Disk

4. Preview and confirm the operations. You have choices to perform Sector By Sector Clone and SSD Alignment to optimize the target SSD (if you copy MBR to SSD through this way). Click Start Clone.

Clone to New SSD

5. Waif for the process completes. Change the boot priority to the new drive in BIOS or replace current disk with the new hard drive when necessary.


  • To clone MBR partitioned disk to SSD entirely, you may need to use Disk Clone feature.

  • Sector By Sector Clone will copy every sectors, including unused and logically bad ones. If you have hidden recovery parittion on the source drive and want it to work on the target drive, please tick this option.

Updated: How to copy MBR from one disk to another in Linux

Below, I'll provide instructions for copying the MBR from one disk to another using the dd command on Linux.

✍Important: Please ensure you know which disks are the source and destination. The dd command can irreversibly overwrite data.

Copying MBR to another disk using dd on Linux:

1. Open a terminal and use the following command to list available disks:

sudo fdisk -l

Identify the source disk (e.g., /dev/sdX, where X is a letter corresponding to the disk) and the destination disk (e.g., /dev/sdY).

2. Make sure that the source and destination disks are not mounted or in use.

3. To copy the MBR from the source disk to the destination disk, use the dd command with appropriate options. Replace /dev/sdX and /dev/sdY with the correct disk identifiers.

sudo dd if=/dev/sdX of=/dev/sdY bs=512 count=1

Explanation of options:

  • if=/dev/sdX: Specifies the input file (source disk).
  • of=/dev/sdY: Specifies the output file (destination disk).
  • bs=512: Sets the block size to 512 bytes (the size of an MBR).
  • count=1: Copies only one block (the MBR).

4. After the dd command completes, you can verify the MBR's presence on the destination disk using the hexdump command (optional).

sudo hexdump -C /dev/sdY | head

It should display the hexadecimal contents of the first sector (MBR) of the destination disk.

5. Once you have verified the MBR copy, safely eject the destination disk and use it as needed.

Remember to be extremely careful when working with disk operations. A small mistake can lead to data loss or system instability. If you are not comfortable with the command line or disk operations, seek assistance from someone experienced or use specialized disk cloning tools.


You may need different methods when you copy MBR from one disk to another in various situations. To ensure secure boot from target SSD or USB flash drive, AOMEI Backupper Professional is recommended. You may need AOMEI Backupper Server edition if you want to copy MBR in Windows Server 2003, 2008 (R2), 2012 (R2), and 2016. Except for copying MBR to another drive, you can clone UEFI disk with similar operations.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.