By Teresa / Last update May 19, 2023

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.

Disk imaging vs cloning, which is better?

There are two ways to go to transfer data from old hard drive to the new drive: disk imaging and disk cloning. Disk imaging creates an image file of the old disk that can be restored to the new disk later. The process can be cumbersome and error-prone because it covers two main parts: backup and recovery.

Disk cloning directly copies data from the old disk to the new disk. As you see, cloning Windows 10 hard drive significantly simplifies the operation and reduces 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. Since Windows lacks of 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 non-system HDD to SSD or another HDD for free, all the 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
Secure Download

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

💡 Tips: 
* The Standard edition only supports cloning non-system disks. If you want to clone a disk containing OS, please upgrade to AOMEI Backupper Professional.
* To migrate only operating system to SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7, you may use the System Clone feature. It is available in advanced versions.

Step 2. Select your HDD as the source disk. Then click Next.

Source Disk

Step 3. Choose your new HDD or SSD as a destination disk 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 clone options

✿ 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.

✿ 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". The second option is recommended since it is smarter.

Edit Partitions

Extended reading

AOMEI Backupper works fine to clone two hard drives of different partition styles (MBR & GPT). If the target drive is not initialized (shown as unallocated space), AOMEI Backupper will initialize it as an MBR disk by default. You can also initialize it with Disk Management before cloning.

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

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. It is suggested to download this software to have a try. After all, practice is the only criterion for testing truth.

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.