By Lily / Last Updated April 26, 2021

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The case: need hard drive migration software

What is the best software for cloning a hard drive?

Tomorrow I'll be going from my current config (120GB SSD Boot disk, 320GB SATA 2 Games Disk), to a new config (64GB SSD Boot Disk, 120GB SSD Games Disk).
In other words, I need to clone the 40GB worth of Windows files and applications from my 120GB 840 EVO to my 64GB SanDisk Ultra Plus that arrives tomorrow. After that I'll clone the 80GB of games from my HDD to my 120GB SSD (or I could just reinstall steam and all my games). So, just wondering, what's the best free cloning software? I'm looking for something reliable and user friendly. Cheers!

- Question from Superuser.com

Just like this user, we will need to transfer data between different hard drives sometimes. Following are three common situations:

● Upgrade a hard drive. You may need to replace HDD with SSD or clone SSD to larger SSD.
● Replace a faulty hard drive and retrieve data.
● Buy a new computer and want to copy data from old computer hard drive to the new computer.

To make the data transfer process easy and error free, you will need reliable hard drive transfer software.

What makes the best hard drive transfer tool?

If you search the Internet, there will be various disk cloning software for Windows 10/8/7 available. How to choose a tool that fits you best? Following factors should be taken into consideration:

1. Capable of cloning disks of different types.

Different disks may come in different types. There are chances that you are cloning MBR disk to GPT disk or GPT disk to MBR disk. Some hard drive transfer tools require you to convert the source disk and destination disk to the same type before cloning. A tool that can carry out disk clone without conversion will save you plenty of effort.

2. Able to clone hard drives in different sizes.

Many users clone to a larger drive to get more storage space. If you don’t resize partitions on the destination drive after cloning, there will be unallocated space left that cannot be used to store data. You need a tool that allows you to edit partitions during the cloning process.

Some users also copy to a smaller drive. In this case, such hard drive migration software that is able to clone only used sectors on the source drive is needed.

3. Built-in SSD alignment feature.

SSD is a popular choice when it comes to hard drive upgrade. One of the differences between HDD and SSD is that SSD uses 4K alignment which greatly improves the reading/saving time. A kind of disk cloning software that can make the SSD 4K-aligned in the cloning process is necessary.

Luckily, AOMEI Backupper Standard can meet all the demands mentioned above, and it is totally free! All Windows PC operating systems including Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP are supported. If you are running Windows Servers, you may turn to the server edition. Wanna know how to use AOMEI Backupper for hard drive migration? Please move on to the next part.

How to transfer data from an HDD to an SSD step by step?

Before you start, you should backup files on the destination drive, because the drive will be overwritten during the cloning process. Then, follow the instructions below to transfer everything (files, programs and OS) from the old hard drive to an SSD:

Step 1. Connect the target SSD to your computer and make sure it is detected. Get free hard drive cloning software download.

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

Step 2. Install and run AOMEI Backupper. Click “Clone” and select “Disk Clone”.

Disk Clone

Note: The Standard edition only supports cloning system disk from MBR to MBR. If you are cloning a data disk, then there is no such restriction.

Step 3. Select the current system disk as the source disk and click “Next”.

Select Source Disk

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

Select Destination Disk

Step 5. Tick “SSD Alignment” to improve the performance of the target SSD. Confirm the operation and click “Start Clone”.

Start Clone

>> Edit Partitions: you can resize partitions on the destination SSD as per your need after upgrading to AOMEI Backupper Professional
>> Sector by sector clone: it enables you to clone every sector on the source disk no matter whether it is used or not, thus making the “Edit Partitions” option unusable.

✎ Notes:
● After the cloning process is finished, you can either change boot order in BIOS or replace the current drive with the target SSD to boot from the target drive.
● If you want to migrate OS only to the destination SSD, you need to upgrade to a higher edition and use the System Clone feature.

Wrapping things up

If you are looking for prime hard drive transfer software in Windows, you may consider the factors mentioned in this article. AOMEI Backupper can meet all your needs in regard to disk clone. Apart from the clone feature, AOMEI Backupper is a superb Windows backup utility. You can use it to run a backup when Windows Backup freezes at 97%. Why not try it now?