By Lily / Last update June 14, 2022

The scenario: need to clone PC hard drive

“I was looking at perhaps getting a ready made PC with a hard drive and wanted to replace the drive with my SSD. What I wanted to do is to clone the entire hard drive with the OS that comes with the new PC and put it on my SSD. Hopefully the OS will detect the SSD correctly and not try to defrag it (except run TRIM).

Can someone suggest some decent freeware for this?”

This user is looking for free PC cloning software to clone original hard drive to SSD. Actually, with PC clone software, users can not only clone HDD to SSD for better performance but also clone smaller drive to larger drive to get more storage space.

Some users even clone the original hard drive to another drive just as a backup so that they can use the cloned drive in emergency. Since free PC cloning software is needed in so many situations, which is the best kind to choose?

Best PC cloning software for Windows - AOMEI Backupper

AOMEI Backupper Standard, the best free disk clone software, can be an ideal choice. It is capable of disk clone and partition clone, which can help to clone your PC hard drive easily.

✪ Clone hard drives with different sizes. You are allowed to clone a smaller drive to a larger drive and vice versa. If the target drive is as large as the original drive, you may use AOMEI Backupper as bit copy software to get a duplicate of the original drive.
✪ Clone disks of various types. You are able to clone an IDE hard drive to SATA, clone a SATA SSD to NVMe, and clone an M.2 SSD to U.2, etc.
✪ Run smoothly on all PCs and Windows OS. It is compatible with almost all the common PC makes, such as Dell, Lenovo, HP, Samsung, etc. All Windows PC operating systems including Windows 10//8.1/8/7/Vista/XP are supported.

What’s more, the cloning process will run in the background, so you can use the computer for other things during the process. Wanna know how to use this free PC clone software? Please move on to the next part.

How to clone your PC hard drive with the PC clone software for free

I’ll walk you through the three phases of cloning your PC hard drive here (before, during, after):

▶ Before cloning:

  • Connect the destination disk to your PC and make sure it is detected. If there is more than one drive bay inside your PC, you’d better connect it internally to ensure it is accessible after cloning.

  • Backup files on the destination hard drive, because the drive will be overwritten during the cloning process.

  • Create bootable media and perform disk backup for the source disk to get prepared for possible errors. Thus, you can restore the disk image to the target disk as a workaround if something goes wrong.

▶ During cloning:

Step 1. Get free hard drive cloning software download. Install and run AOMEI Backupper. If you are running Windows Server operating system, try Server edition.

Download Freeware Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Step 2. Click “Clone” on the left pane and select “Disk Clone”.

Disk Clone

Step 3. Select the current hard drive on your PC as the source disk and click “Next”.

Select Source Disk

Step 4. Select the destination drive you have connected to your PC and click “Next”.

Select Destination Disk

Step 5. Confirm the operation and click “Start Clone”. 

Start Clone

Related Tips:

💜 You can click Edit Partitions 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. 

  • 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. 

Add Unused Space

💜 The free version of this software only supports cloning all the data disk and MBR system disk (a disk type for data storage). To clone GPT to GPT, GPT to MBR, or MBR to GPT, try the professional version. 

To check its disk properties in Disk Management, try 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

💜You can enable Sector by sector clone to clone every sector on the source disk no matter whether it is used or not, thus costing more time. It requires the destination disk to be equal to or larger than the source disk.

💜You can check SSD Alignment to improve the reading and writing speed of the SSD. To make your computer run faster, cloning Windows 10 to NVMe SSD is the best choice, since it has the fastest transfer speed.

💜 This software is still a M.2 SSD cloner, thus you can use it to migrate Windows 10 to M.2 SSD, clone M.2 SSD to M.2 SSD, clone SATA to M.2 SSD, etc.

▶ After cloning:

  • You can directly replace the original hard drive with the cloned drive. If the two drives are in different types, for example, you are cloning MBR to GPT disk, you should then change boot mode in BIOS to boot from the cloned drive.

  • You can also use both the two drives on your PC—the cloned drive as system/boot drive and the original drive as data drive. If the cloned drive works perfectly after a period of time, you can wipe data on the old drive to release disk space.

  • If you fail to boot from the cloned drive, you may find quick fixes to cloned drive won’t boot from here.

Verdict

AOMEI Backupper Standard is the best free PC clone software for Windows which can not only help you clone PC hard drives but also backup and restore the system, disks and partitions. You may use it to backup Windows 10 to NAS if you need. Don’t hesitate to give it a shot!