By Lily / Last update June 16, 2022

Need help: What's the fastest way to clone HDD to SSD?

"I am currently using a USB boot disk with third-party backup software and a USB-to-SATA cable, it takes about 1.5 to 2 hours on average to clone a 600 gb hdd to a 120 gb SSD. On occasion this can spike up to 4 hours or more.

Any ideas why these drives are taking so long to clone? Is there a better/easier/faster way to do this? I am now slowly working my way through about 40 machines. IMO at APC 2 hours per drive this is taking far too long at each box."

This may be a doubt for many users who want to clone hard drive for greater capacity, better performance or just a backup copy. To be honest, the cloning speed finally depends on how much data you have and the reading & writing speed of the source disk and target disk.

However, you can choose to clone only used sectors on the source disk instead all sectors. And this article will introduce one such cloning software to help you clone hard drive safely.

Best disk cloning software to clone a hard drive

Replacing hard drive is the best upgrade for your computer, so many users want to copy hard drive to another one, either HDD or SSD. At this time, you may need the best disk cloning software, so you can complete the entire process smoothly in the shortest time. Here I strongly recommend you AOMEI Backupper Professional

✪ Multiple clone modes

It supports disk clone, system clone and partition clone. The previous two methods allow you to clone everything required to start Windows, including the operating system(OS), system reserved partition/EFI system partition, recovery partition, etc.

To make an exact copy of the original hard drive, you could use "Disk Clone". To migrate only OS, you could use "System Clone", which requires less time and disk space.

✪ Advanced clone settings

You can use it to clone only used sectors or all sectors of the source disk with different cloning modes - "Intelligent clone" or "Sector by sector clone", maximize the performance of an SSD disk with "SSD Alignment", and make full use of unallocated space after cloning with "Edit Partitions".

✪ Easy operations

It has a clear interface and user-friendly design, so all the users even novice can operate like a professional. To some extent, it's also the easiest way to clone a hard drive.

How to clone a hard drive in Windows 10/11 (fastest and easiest)

Here you will use "Disk Clone" feature in AOMEI Backupper Professional to clone hard drive safely in Windows 10/11. But this way is also applicable to Windows 8.1/8/7/XP/Vista. Before that, you need to make some preparations.

  • Prepare a target disk, either HDD or SSD. If it's not initialized, please initialize it in the disk management.

  • Install the HDD or SSD on your computer. If it's a laptop computer, you still need a USB-to-SATA cable to connect for cloning. 

  • Check the capacity of both disks. You need to make sure the target disk has enough space to include everything on the original disk. If not, please clean some unnecessary files on the old disk.

  • If there is any important data on the target disk, please create a file backup ahead of time. Because the target disk will be overwritten finally.

  • Download and install the best disk cloning software for Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vista - AOMEI Backupper Professional on your PC. If you are currently using server 2003/2008(R2)/2012(R2)/2016(R2)/2019/2022, please download AOMEI Backupper Server.

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Now, you can start to clone a hard drive to another hard drive with the following steps.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper, and then you will see its deep-blue main page. Click "Clone" -> "Disk Clone" subsequently.

Clone Hard Drive

Notes: 
You can clone large hard drive to smaller SSD as long as the used space on the old disk is smaller than or equal to the new one. If not, you can clone only OS with "System Clone" feature.
You can clone MBR to GPT disk without boot issues, and vice versa.

Step 2. Choose the old hard drive you can want to clone, and click Next.

Select Mbr Disk

Step 3. Choose the new hard drive or SSD you want to clone to, and click Next. 

Select Gpt Disk

Step 4. If the target disk is SSD, tick "SSD Alignment" to accelerate its reading & writing speed. Then, click "Start Clone" to execute the task immediately.

Ssd Alignment

Tip:
✩ Except for "SSD Alignment", there are two other options, namely, "Edit Partitions" and "Sector by sector clone". Both are applicable to clone disk to larger disk, but they cannot be used at the same time.
✩ The previous one is to make full use of unallocated space or convert disk types (MBR or GPT) while the latter is to clone all sectors of the source disk including the blank sectors and bad sectors. 

👉 For Edit Partitions, you have 4 options in the following. 

  • Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
  • Add unused space to all partitions: It will reallocate the unallocated space to each partition of the target disk, appropriate for the disk size.
  • Manually adjust partition size: It allows you to extend unallocated space to any partition on the destination disk you want. 
  • Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT: It helps to convert the partition style of the destination disk if it is different from the source disk, clone GPT disk to MBR, for example.

Edit Partitions

👉 Both MBR and GPT are two different disk types for data storage. If you don't know clearly, you can check its disk properties in Disk Management with the following steps.

  • Press Win + R to open the Run window. Then, type diskmgmt.msc and hit OK to open disk management.
  • Then, right-click the disk you want to clone and select Properties in the pop-up window.
  • In the Properties window, select the Volume tab and confirm the partition style. It can be MBR (Master Boot Record) or GPT (GUID Partition Table).

Disk Partition Style

  • Similarly, check the disk partition tyle of the destination disk. If it is still MBR, you don't need to convert disk type. If not, please tick the Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT or vice versa, depending on their disk type. 

Your turn 

The fastest and easiest way to clone a hard drive is to use AOMEI Backupper Professional. Its easy-to-use interface and simple operations will save you a lot of time and efforts. You can clone disk to larger disk to get greater capacity or clone hard drive to smaller SSD as you like. Also, you can optimize SSD disk performance with its 4k technology.

It's suggested to install this software on your computer, which can be one of the most powerful software to protect your data and system. For example, you can create a system image and then restore the image in the event of a disaster, even dissimilar hardware restore. At the same time, you still can use it to backup disk/partition/file, create incremental/differential backup, schedule backup, create bootable media, etc.