How to Copy Data from Bad Sector Hard Disk [Files & OS]

To copy data from bad sector disk, you can use the cloning software AOMEI Backupper. It enables you to clone hard drive with bad sectors, or copy files without booting Windows.


By Delia Updated on August 7, 2023

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Bad sectors are areas on the hard disk that have become damaged and unable to reliably store data. Usually, users can get bad sectors report by running chkdsk to check hard drive error, and the causes are varied.

When bad sectors arise, it's crucial to proceed with caution to minimize further data loss or damage to the disk. You may want to replace the hard drive containing bad sectors, and copy the files or OS to the new one.

User case: can I transfer data from HDD with bad sectors

💬“I recently purchased a Samsung 840 EVO in order to replace my current Western Digital HDD in my laptop. I did this because my current hard drive was showing signs of failure, such as having bad sectors.

However, because of these bad sectors I can't use Samsung's migration software to transfer both the OS and files from my old HDD to my new SSD. Is there any way that I can transfer both of these?”

This user‘s hard disk shows a sign of bad sectors, and he tries to transfer everything to new SSD in an attempt of replacing disk without losing data. This is possible, first of all. Let's talk about it in detail.

  • Can you copy files from damaged hard drive?

If there are only soft bad sectors (logical defects) instead of hard bad sectors (physical defects), then you can copy data from a bad sector disk. Even with some relatively serious system failures, by using a bootable media, you can still copy files without booting Windows.

  • Can a hard drive with bad sectors be cloned?

For users who want to keep everything including old files and operating system (just as in the above case) intact, it may be easier to clone a hard drive with bad sectors. However, the cloning may terminate as it fails to read the data.

Simply put, if you want to copy a bad sector disk to another disk without reinstalling, you need to use a migration tool that can skip bad sectors during cloning.

copy data from failing disk to another disk

What should you do when bad sectors appear

From a data security perspective, once you have bad sectors on a disk, you should take measures immediately. Either find a way to remove bad sectors or copy data from bad sector hard disk.

1. Repair the hard disk with Windows CHKDSK utility

Your hard disk can be partially repaired by the Windows CHKDSK utility. Before running CHKDSK, you'd better restore everything that could be recovered beforehand. Then you can repair your hard drive in following steps:

Step 1. Open computer and find the disk (here is E:\).

Step 2. Right-click on the Start button. Then select Command prompt and run as Administrator from the menu.

Step 3. Type command "chkdsk /f /r /x E:" in the command prompt.

Step 4. Click Enter to start repair process.

It is recommended that you copy your data from bad sector hard disk to another drive after repairing.


2. Copy data from bad sector disk with qualified cloning tool

CHKDSK does not always bring your HDD or SSD back to a healthy state. To ensure the data security, it's essential to copy important data or clone everything from a bad sector hard disk.

The annoyed thing is that many software cannot clone a failing hard drive. Therefore, I'd like to offer a reliable cloning software that supports cloning HDD/SSD even with bad sectors.

AOMEI Backupper Professional is the best cloning software for Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP. It runs in an intelligent mode by defalt to copy only used sectors, skipping unused and logically bad sectors.

▪ This means you can clone larger HDD to smaller SSD, or clone a bad sector disk without accidental termination. By the way, with volume shadow copy service (VSS) technology, the cloning process won’t interrupt your work.
▪ It also allows you to create a bootable USB (or a built-in recovery partition) that can boot your problematic computer into WinPE, and copy files from hard drive with bad sectors.

Download the powerful hard drive cloning software for free to demonstrate the operation:

Free Download Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

How to copy data from bad sector disk

How to copy fata from bad sector HDD or SSD to another safe location? All you need to do are a few clicks. You can refer to the following steps.

If your computer has already failed to boot, you can use AOMEI Backupper to create a bootable media on a well-functioning and Windows-based computer at first. Then use the media to boot your PC (change boot order in BIOS or UEFI settings), and perform the following operation in WinRE.

create bootable media

How to clone data and OS from bad sector disk to another disk

  • Before cloning, connect the target disk (HDD, SSD or other external hard drives) to your PC. If there's only one slot on your laptop, you can use an adapter or enclosure to connect it as an external drive.
  • The target disk will be overwritten by the cloning. If you have some data on it, please backup the disk first.

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper. Select Clone from the left side. Then click Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

📢Note: AOMEI Backupper supports cloning data disks and system disks of all brands and partition styles, such as cloning MBR to MBR/MBR to GPT or GPT to GPT/GPT to MBR directly. But you still need to ensure the partition style of the target disk is compatible with your boot mode (MBR for legacy BIOS and GPT for UEFI).

Step 2. Select the bad sector disk (Disk 0) that you want to clone. Then click Next.

Select Disk

Step 3. Select your Destination Disk (Disk 1). Then click Next.

Select Destination Disk

Step 4. You can have a confirmation in this Operation Summary interface. Then you can click Start Clone to clone hard disk with bad sectors.

Start Clone

👉 Sector by sector clone is an optional cloning mode that will copy all the sectors including unused or logically bad sectors. Please do not tick this option, otherwise the bad setors will be copied over to the target disk.

👉 You can click Edit partitions in Step 4, it helps you clone hard drive and resize it with 3 options in the following. Also, you can convert the partition style with it.

  • Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
  • Add unused space to all partitions: Reallocate unused space to each partition of the target disk appropriately.
  • Manually adjust partition size: Extend unallocated space to any partition on the destination disk you want.
  • Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT: onvert the partition style of the target disk to make it the same as the source disk.

Add Unused Space

👉 If you are cloning HDD to SSD in Windows 10, you can click SSD Alignment feature to accelerate the reading and writing speed of the SSD.

If the old HDD has repairable soft bad sectors, you can wipe the HDD and take it as your second storage after cloning.
If you’ve cloned system hard drive to another drive, change boot order in BIOS or replace the old hard drive physically to boot from the cloned drive.

How to copy files from bad sector disk even without booting Windows

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper. If you use a bootable media to start the computer, AOMEI Backupper should pop up in WinRE automatically. Click “Backup” and then click “File Backup”. 

File Backup

Step 2. Click “Add Folder” or "Add File" to select the folders/files you want to copy from the bad-sector disk.

Add Folders Files

Step 3. Select a destination path to which you want to copy files. It could be external storage (need to connect it in advance), NAS, or network share.

Select Destination Path

Step 4. Finally, click “Start Backup” to execute this task. Wait for it completes, close the program, and shut down the computer.


How to copy data from bad sector hard disk? AOMEI Backupper can help you solve this problem with its simple steps and intuitive interface. Besides, this software provides many practical features like disk restore, partition clone, partition backup, etc. You can use them by your needs.

Delia · Editor
Delia owns extensive experience in writing technology-related blog posts, and has been a part of AOMEI since 2020 to provide expertise in data security and disaster recovery. She works with Windows operating systems, SQL databases, and virtualization platforms such as VMware and Hyper-V, specializing in troubleshooting and advising on data protection and migration.