By Delia / Last update June 15, 2022

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What is bad sector?

A bad sector is a sector on a hard disk that can neither be accessed nor written due to physical damage or flash memory transistors failure. Usually, users can get bad sectors report by running chkdsk to check hard drive error, and the causes are varied: over-aging, overheating, file system error, virus attack, etc.

When bad sectors arise in your hard drive, your computer won’t work normally as before. The system may take much time to load, reboot or shutdown, and sometimes you can even not access your personal data. Such being the case, you may want to replace the hard drive with bad sectors, and copy the files or OS to the new one. 

The case: clone 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 without having to do a fresh install of the OS on the SSD or manually transfer all of the files individually?

This is a real case from Reddit. This user wants to know how to copy data from bad sector hard disk, and transfer the operating system without clean installation. Is this possible? the answer is yes. And from a data security perspective, once you have a bad sector on your hard drive, you should take measures immediately!

What should you do when bad sectors appear?

Bad sectors are not so terrible as long as you take the right approach. There are two efficient ways for your reference.

Solution 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.

Solution 2. Copy hard drive with bad sectors to another drive

The disadvantage of using CHKDSK is that it can physically fail if the drive is almost completely dead. What’s more, fixing hard disk is a time-consuming task. This is why we recommend you using another way – clone hard drive with bad sectors to another drive.

The annoyed thing is that many software cannot clone HDD with bad sectors or you must use its paid version. Is there a reliable freeware? The answer is yes. AOMEI Backupper Standard, the best free cloning software, runs smoothly on Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and XP.

This freeware allows you to clone hard disk and skip bad sectors with the intelligent clone mode. You also can clone hard drive to SSD, or even clone larger drive to smaller drive with this powerful software. By the way, with volume shadow copy service (VSS) technology, the cloning process won’t interrupt your work.

How to copy data from bad sector hard disk

How to clone a hard drive with bad sectors? All you need to do are a few clicks. You can refer to the following steps.

Before cloning, you need to connect the target disk (HDD, SSD or other external hard drives) to your PC. After cloning, the target disk will be overwritten. If you have some important data on it, you must backup the disk in advance.

If your computer refuses to boot, you can use AOMEI Backupper to create a bootable media on a well-functioning and Windows-based computer at first. Then boot your PC with this bootable media.

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

Step 1. Download, install and launch this software. Select Clone from the left side. Then click Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

Note: This version only supports cloning system disk from MBR to MBR. To clone GPT system disk to GPT disk, GPT to MBR or MBR to GPT, you could consider upgrading to AOMEI Backupper Professional.

👉 Both MBR and GPT are two different disk types for data storage. To check its disk properties in Disk Management, try 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.

Disk Partition Style

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

Source 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

💛 Useful features for cloning:

👉 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 disk types with it. The last three options are supported by AOMEI Backupper Professional.

  • Copy without resizing partitions: It will not resize the partition size.
  •  Add unused space to all partitions: It will reallocate the unallocated space to each partition of the target disk, appropriate for the disk size.
  • Manually adjust partition size: It allows you to extend unallocated space to any partition on the destination disk you want. 
  • Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT: It helps to convert the partition style of the destination disk if it is different from the source disk. 

Add Unused Space

👉 Sector by sector clone is an optional cloning mode that will clone all the sectors including the unused or logical bad sectors. Therefore, the target disk must be equal to or larger than the source disk. 

👉  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 few bad sectors and can be repaired, you can reformat 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 data from bad sector hard disk? AOMEI Backupper can help you solve this problem with its simple steps and intuitive interface. Besides, this freeware provides many practical features like disk restore, partition clone, partition backup, etc. You can use them by your needs.