By Yuka / Last update August 11, 2021

User case: how do I copy HDD to HDD?

◐ Case 1: “I am running out of storage on my Gaming PC and I want to add a larger data HDD for games etc. I currently have my OS on a Samsung SSD. I also have a 1TB Seagate HDD for games/music etc....this is almost full. I've purchased a 2TB WD blue to replace the Seagate (this will be kept for backups etc). I would like to copy everything from the Seagate over to the WD (Steam games etc). Do I need any specific software to do this or do I just copy all the game folders over to the WD?”
◐ Case 2: “There is already a hard disk installed with Win7 operating system, as well as many tools and data that need to be used. Now it is necessary to copy all the contents of this hard disk to another 10 or so hard disks. At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that other hard disks can also be started by Win7 after copying, and the tools and data can also be operated normally. Is there any tool that can achieve this goal?”

Copy HDD to HDD

As we can see, the user in Case 1 has run out of storage and wants to copy data between two drives when upgrading to larger hard drive. And the latter user wants to copy all data as well as the Windows 7 OS in one hard disk to another hard disk.

As we all know, we can transfer any file with "Copy" and "Paste", but this is only suitable when the number of files is small. What if there are large groups of files you want to copy and the drive you want to copy contains various programs or even an operating system? If you still use "Copy" and "Paste", your computer may not start due to the loss of some hidden files.

So, what tool do you need to help you easily copy all kinds of files, programs or operating systems in one HDD to another HDD you want intact? Please keep reading.

Best HDD to HDD copy software for free

AOMEI Backupper is the best disk cloning software which helps you copy all the data from one disk to another intact and ensures that the computer can be started normally after cloning. It can support many disk types, such as SSDs, HDDs, USBs, and external USB drives. You can clone hard drive while you are working on the computer, which is called "Live Disk Cloning". Most importantly, it offers many brilliant features and options.

 Sector by Sector Clone: AOMEI Backupper enables users to clone smaller hard drive to larger drive. By default, this disk clone software just clones the existing data (the used sectors) on the disk. If you would like to clone all the sectors on the source disk, whether it is used or not, please try the "Sector by sector clone" option.
◈ Edit Partitions: you can adjust partition size of destination disk with this feature to fix the problem that cloned hard drive show wrong size when you clone disk to larger disk.

Supported in all Windows PC operating systems like Windows 10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP, AOMEI Backupper can not only provide you with cloning features, but also Backup, Restore, Sync, etc. Learn how to clone HDD to HDD in Windows 10/8/7 in the next part.

How to copy HDD to HDD in Windows 10/8/7

Preparations:
 To clone a laptop hard drive to an external hard drive, please connect the external drive to your computer using a USB to SATA adapter. If you have a desktop PC, you can directly install the external drive into one of the hard disk bays.
If there are important data on the target drive, please backup files first, because all the data in the destination will be overwritten in the cloning process.
 Download and install AOMEI Backupper.

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

Step 1. Launch hard drive cloning software AOMEI Backupper Standard, then you will see its deep-blue screen. Click Clone and then select Disk Clone to start hard drive copy.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the original HDD on your computer as the source disk. Then, click Next.

Choose  Original HDD

Step 3. Select the new HDD as the destination disk. Then, click Next.

Choose New HDD

Step 4. Check the operation summary and click Start Clone to clone the original HDD to the new one.

Start Clone

Step 5. Wait until the process complete 100% and click Finish.

Notes✍:
The free version only supports cloning system disk from MBR to MBR. Thus, if you want to clone MBR system disk to GPT disk, GPT system disk to MBR disk, or GPT system disk to GPT disk, please consider using the advanced version - AOMEI Backupper Professional.
✼ Disk Clone doesn’t support dynamic disks. Please use System Clone or Partition Clone options to clone a dynamic disk.
The method of how to clone HDD to SSD is the same as the steps mentioned above. And you can check SSD Alignment option to optimize the performance of the destination SSD.

Boot from the cloned hard drive involves the OS securely

Just like the request of the second user in the above case, the HDD he copied has an installed system. When cloning is done, how to boot from the cloned hard drive correctly?

  1. Restart your computer.
  2. Press a specific key (usually F2, F8, F12, Del) to enter BIOS Setup.
  3. Click Boot, then set the cloned disk as first boot device in BIOS.

Tips: You can also replace the old hard drive with the new drive directly to boot from the cloned drive.

Boot Cloned Hard Drive

Conclusion

Since Windows doesn’t have a built-in cloning feature in its range of backup tools, we have to use a third-party software to clone HDD to HDD/SSD. AOMEI Backupper Standard Edition is the most credible and the most convenient HDD to HDD copy software. After reading the above introduction, I believe you have also discovered the convenience of this software. It is completely free for personal use. More features are waiting for you to explore, such as auto backuo folders to USB drive. Try it right now!