By Teresa / Last update June 13, 2022

Occasions of cloning Windows 10/11 HDD

As we all know, HDDs that have been used for a long time may suffer from lack of disk space, sluggish operation and natural aging. In such situations, disk replacement has become a very common choice, especially for users who have higher demand for hardware. 

To summarize, there are some possible scenarios:

  • Replace HDD with larger HDD to get more capacity.
  • Upgrade HDD to SSD for better read/write speed.
  • Simply install a new drive to get out of the disk failure dilemma...

The real problem is what to do with the system and files on the old disk. If you don't want to start from scratch, then migrating them to the new drive directly would be a convenient option.

You probably know the conventional way of creating a disk backup and restoring to the new drive, which is quite cumbersome and error-prone. In contrast, cloning Windows 10 hard drive can significantly simplify the operation and reduce the time spent on migration.

Therefore, no matter you want to transfer HDD to SSD or another HDD, I recommend you to use the disk cloning method. And since Windows lacks this feature, you need to pick free HDD cloning software that works with Windows 10, 11, etc.

HDD Clone

Best free disk cloning software for Windows 10/11

People care more about the safety, usability and simplicity of an HDD cloning program. AOMEI Backupper Standard, the powerful yet free disk cloning software can be one of your best choices.

  • It can help you clone HDD to SSD or another HDD free, including operating system, installed applications and all the other data you will never want to lose. 

  • It allows you to clone only used parts to another drive with the "Intelligent Clone" technology which makes it possible to clone larger drive to smaller drive.

  • It allows you to make a 1:1 copy of a hard disk by using "Sector By Sector Clone" feature.

  • It allows you to optimize the overall performance of SSD disk with "SSD Alignment" feature.

  • It supports Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP (all editions, 32/64-bit), various disk brands such as Samsung, Crucial, WD and different disk types like SATA/M.2/NVMe.

Besides, the click-based interface and simple operation also make this free disk clone software of Windows 10 praised by worldwide users. To get to know how it works, you could download and install this freeware to get started.

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Steps to clone a disk for free in Windows 10/11

With the help of AOMEI Backupper, the HDD cloning process can be very simple even for a novice. You can choose to view the video tutorial below or the graphic tutorial to do this.

Video tutorial:

Graphic tutorial:

Preparations before cloning hard drive in Windows 10:
◑ Install the target drive
. If your computer has only one slot, you may need a SATA-to-USB adapter or enclosure to connect it.
◑ Backup your important data. The cloning process will overwrite everything on the target disk. If there are any important files on it, it's necessary to make a backup first.
◑ Delete some programs or files (optional).  If you are cloning HDD to a smaller SSD, you may clean up the source HDD to make it fit in the smaller drive more easily.

Then, follow the steps to free clone HDD to SSD/HDD in Windows 10. The same steps also apply to Windows 11, 8, 7, etc.

Step 1. Launch this free clone software for Windows 10 and a simple interface will appear. You can click the Clone tab. Then, choose Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

● To migrate only operating system to SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7, you may use the System Clone feature in Pro or higher editions.

Step 2. Select your HDD (here is Disk 0) as the source disk. Then click Next.

Source Disk

Step 3. Choose your new HDD or SSD as a destination disk (take Disk 2 for example) and click Next.

Destination Disk

Step 4. In this interface, you can have a preview. Then click Start Clone to migrate Windows 10/11 hard drive. If your destination disk is an SSD, you can choose SSD Alignment to accelerate the speed of the SSD.

Start Clone

💛 Useful Options:

✿ Edit Partitions: Adjust partition size of target disk. You can choose "Copy without resizing partitions", "Add unused space to all partitions", or "Manually adjust partition size", and the last 2 options are available on the professional edition.

👉Among the 3 options, the second option is the smartest one, since it will add unused space to all partitions automatically without human intervention. While for the last option, it requires you to adjust the partition size manually by selecting the partition you want to extend and dragging it to the left or right side. 

Edit Partitions

👉 Also, you can convert MBR to GPT or vice versa while cloning disks with different disk partition styles. And you need to upgrade to the professional edition and then clone GPT to GPT, MBR disk to GPT, or GPT to MBR. Since the Standard version only supports cloning all data disks and MBR system disks. 

So, now the question is what is MBR or GPT and how do I differentiate between them?

Both MBR and GPT are two different disk types for data storage. And you can check its disk properties in Disk Management. The overall steps are below:

  • 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 can clone hard drive to SSD for free. 

👉 But if the target drive is a blank drive (shown as unallocated space), the partition style of the source HDD will be migrated to the target HDD or SSD as well.

✿ Sector By Sector Clone: Cloning all sectors on the old HDD whether used or not. It requires the target disk to be larger than or equal to the source disk.

Note: After cloning the HDD with Windows 10/11 to another disk, make sure to change boot order (set the cloned drive as the 1st option), or replace the old hard drive with the new one physically to boot from the cloned drive.

AOMEI Backupper is also an SSD cloning software, so you can use it to clone SSD to new SSD, clone SATA SSD, clone system from Intel SSD to another, clone NVMe to larger NVMe SSD, etc.


You can clone an HDD so easily with free HDD cloning software in Windows 10/11 - AOMEI Backupper. It requires only a few simple steps to move your Windows 10/11 hard drive to a new HDD or an SSD. If you happen to have this need, please download this software to have a try. After all, practice is to test the truth of everything.

For IT maintenance and support engineers, it's suggested to use the Technician or Technician Plus edition. It is convenient to backup, restore or clone on different computers without installing it first by creating portable version of this software.