By Lily / Last update August 23, 2021

What is hard disk raw copy?

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

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

When regular clone failed due to bad sectors, you can perform a hard drive raw copy to clone the hard drive by skipping bad sectors. 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: server as a full backup original hard drive just in case data loss.

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

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

AOMEI Backupper Standard is a free HDD raw copy tool for Windows 10/8/7 that can help make an exact copy of your hard drive (sector by sector). It supports most of the storage devices that Windows recognizes such as an M.2, mSATA, SATA, IDE, SAS, SCSI or SSD hard disk drive. It also works with USB removable storage devices.

This tool has full support for UEFI boot mode. You can directly clone MBR to GPT disk (supported by the Professional version) and back. As mentioned hard disk raw copy will clone all areas on the hard drive including MBR and boot records, so if you clone MBR disk to GPT disk, the destination disk will be automatically converted to MBR disk.

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 bootable 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:

As mentioned, the capacity of the destination disk must be greater or equal to the source disk because the blank sector will also be cloned.

If you try to clone GPT disk to an MBR disk, only the first 3 partitions will be cloned because MBR disk only supports at most 3 primary partitions. You can use the feature Partition Clone to clone the rest of partitions over. Now read to see how to use HDD raw copy tool.

Step 1. Download, install and launch AOMEI Backupper Standard. Select “Disk Clone” under “Clone” tab. You can only clone System by select System Clone, which is available on the Professional version.

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Disk Clone

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. 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.


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 disk by default 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 give it a try by yourself now!