By Delia / Last update September 23, 2021


It’s a dumb question of the day. I want to clone an old drive installed on my laptop to an SSD then install the SSD in the laptop. Should I format SSD before cloning the old drive to it? I am going to use third-party software to do the cloning.

Do I need to format SSD before cloning? – Unnecessary

To format SSD means to erase all data on the SSD and rebuild a file system so that your operating system can read data from or write data to the SSD. Usually this method is used to remove viruses, junk files and solve the storage problems.

As you know, swapping out hard disk drive for a solid-state drive is one of the best upgrades you can make in terms of speeding up your computer. Luckily, this task can be completed easily by disk clone. However, a question has often been asked: Do I need to format a new SSD before cloning? The answer is - no, you don't have to. Two main reasons are responsible for this answer.

  • Operation steps are time-consuming and complicated. Although many methods can be used to format an SSD, they all take some time. Some methods are even very complicated, and serious problem might occur if you make a mistake in the process.

  • Disk clone will clone the partition style and overwrite the target disk. All data on the new SSD will be covered, so you don’t have to initialize the SSD before cloning.

Freeware for cloning hard drive to SSD without formatting

Should I initialize SSD before cloning? It is unnecessary to format your new SSD if you use the best free cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Standard. It enables you to clone hard drive to SSD without formatting, as the SSD will be formatted or initialized during the cloning process.

What’s more, this utility applies to clone large HDD to smaller SSD as long as the SSD has enough space to store all data on the HDD. You are also allowed to clone SSD to a new SSD with larger capacity. In addition, it is capable to improve the reading and writing speed of the destination SSD. Disk clone and partition clone are available.

Just download this SSD cloning freeware (supports Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP) to copy old drive to new SSD without formatting. Let’s see how it works.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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How to perform a disk clone without formatting

Connect the new SSD to your computer. As you may know, the cloning process will delete all data on the new SSD. If there is any data on it, make sure to do a disk backup in advance. Before cloning, you need to install and launch this utility.


Step 1. Click Disk Clone under Clone tab.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the Source Disk (here is Disk 0) you plan to clone. Then choose Next.

Source Disk

Step 3. Select the Destination Disk (here is Disk 1). Then choose Next.

Destination Disk

Step 4. Confirm the Operation Summary. Click SSD Alignment to improve the performance of the SSD while cloning hard drive to SSD. Then choose Start Clone.

Start Clone

Step 5. Change boot order in BIOS or replace the old drive with the cloned SSD to boot from the new SSD. The second method is recommended.


  • You can click Edit Partitions in Step 4 to resize partitions. For settings, you can choose Copy without resizing partitions, Add unused space to all partitions or Manually adjust partition size. Please upgrade to the Professional edition to enjoy the feature.

  • Sector by sector clone in Step 4 can be used to recover formatted or deleted data on the old drive, because this feature will clone every sector of the old drive. Remember that the target disk must be equal to or larger than the source disk.

  • As for the old drive, you can reformat the hard drive and use it as your secondary storage after cloning.

  • If you want to clone GPT/MBR disk (contain OS) to MBR/GPT, you could consider upgrading to AOMEI Backupper Professional.

  • To get larger space, you could choose to clone disk to larger disk or clone SSD to larger SSD. While for best performance, it's suggested to clone Windows 10 to NVMe SSD, because NVMe SSD has much faster transfer speed. 

  • If you only want to clone the operating system, you can turn to system clone provided by AOMEI Backupper Professional.


Do you need to format SSD before cloning? This article tells you the answer – you don’t need to do that as long as you use AOMEI Backupper Standard. Apart from copying hard drive to SSD, this freeware is also working well when you need to clone SSD to HDD in Windows 10, clone hard drive Windows 11, replace laptop HDD with SSD, clone SSD to larger SSD, migrate Windows 10  to M.2 SSD, etc.

Give this freeware a chance! If you are a Windows Server user, please turn to AOMEI Backupper Server.