By Lily / Last update June 16, 2022

What is hard disk raw copy?

A raw disk copy is a kind of disk clone method that will copy all the sectors in the hard drive including the blank ones. The other clone method is intelligent disk clone that only clones the used sectors.

For a raw disk clone, the target hard drive must have capacity no less than the original drive that needs cloning. Obviously, a hard drive raw copy will take more time than intelligent disk clone.

When should you create HDD raw copy?

One of the most common reasons for using a raw disk copy is to clone a failing hard drive. When the source drive is completely failed, you can try to recover the data from the cloned hard drive.

Besides that, an HDD raw copy can be used in the following cases:

  • Data or system migration: transfer everything on the hard drive including system to another one.

  • Data backup: serve as a full backup of original hard drive just in case of data loss.

  • Media duplication: use it to clone storage media devices including SSD, external hard drive, USB flash drive, and SD card.

Free HDD raw copy tool for Windows 11/10/8/7

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free HDD raw copy tool for Windows 11/10/8/7.

  • It can help make an exact copy of your hard drive (sector by sector). Also, it is able to do intelligent disk clone, which is helpful to clone a hard drive with bad sectors.
  • It supports most of the storage devices that Windows recognizes such as an M.2, mSATA, SATA, IDE, SAS, SCSI hard disk drive or SSD. It also works with USB removable storage devices.
  • While the disk copy is in process, you can still use the computer to do other things. If you do not want to clone hard drive within Windows, you can create a bootable media and boot from it to start the clone.

HDD raw copy tool tutorial - create raw disk image step by step

AOMEI Backupper Standard will help you achieve disk raw clone job regardless of your hard drive partition style, capacity, and file system. You can refer to the following steps to create HDD raw copy.

Before you do, make sure the capacity of the destination disk is greater than or equal to the source disk. As mentioned, the blank sectors will also be cloned in a raw disk copy. Now let's begin.

Step 1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper Standard. Select “Disk Clone” under “Clone” tab. 

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Disk Clone

Notes:

👉 This software only supports cloning all the data disk and MBR system disk. To clone clone MBR to GPT disk and back, or GPT to GPT, please upgrade to the professional version at least. 

👉 If you try to clone a GPT disk to an MBR disk, only the first 3 partitions will be cloned because MBR disk supports at most 3 primary partitions.

👉 Both MBR and GPT are two different disk types for data storage. If you don't know clearly, please 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 can clone HDD raw copy for free. To clone GPT to GPT (eg: clone NVMe to NVMe), MBR to GPT or GPT to MBR, try a professional version.

Step 2. Select a disk you want to clone as “Source disk” and click "Next".

Select Source Disk

Step 3. Select a disk to save the clone as “Destination Disk”. Then click “Next”. If you do it for backup purpose, it is recommended to clone to external hard drive.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. At this screen, you can view the operation. Tick the option “Sector by sector clone”. If the destination disk is an SSD, “SSD Alignment” is recommended to optimize SSD performance. After that, click “Start Clone” to start the hard disk raw copy.

Start Clone

During the cloning process, you can watch some videos or do other things because the cloning process will not take much computer resources.

Conclusion

As you can see, the best free HDD raw copy tool - AOMEI Backupper Standard can help you create hard disk raw copy in just a few clicks. If you don’t want an exact hard disk raw copy, you can use it to clone only used space of a disk (uncheck “Sector by sector clone”) so as to save your time and disk space.

Besides cloning feature, AOMEI Backupper Standard is also a comprehensive backup tool which provides many other features to help you protect your hard drive data, like hard drive image backup, system backup, file sync, etc. Just try it by yourself now!