By Ivy / Last Updated January 14, 2021

Need help: how to copy one hard drive to another

“I get a 2TB new hard drive and want to replace the old 500GB hard drive in my laptop. But I don’t want to waste much time reinstalling the operating system and the applications, so how do I copy one hard drive to another? Any ideas?”

“I have a large amount of files needs to be transferred to another drive, not only pictures, documents, but also music, videos, programs, because my old drive almost run out of the disk space. Can I just copy and paste them to a new drive? ”

Just like the above cases, many users want to copy hard drive or all the data on it to get rid of insufficient disk space problem. A large drive can give your computer new life, and it will run faster. An SSD will be better if you can make more investment. Also, you may just create a duplicate copy to prevent system crash or data loss.

Simple copy and paste operation works well when you want to transfer a small number of files, but you may be disappointed if you copy hundreds of files or the disk containing OS and multiple installed programs. The process is time-consuming and tedious. Even worse, your computer will fail to boot due to hidden boot files or partition(s) missing.

Well then, is there any easy way to copy boot drive to another drive? You can do so by cloning. Please keep reading below to get the best free disk cloning software and a step by step guide to clone hard drive.

Best free disk cloning software for Windows

To clone a hard drive in Windows 7/8/10, best free disk cloning software is indispensable, which can free you from the tedious work and make the clone drive bootable if it’s a system disk. Here I strongly recommend AOMEI Backupper Standard.

It supports “Disk Clone” and “Partition Clone”, both two features can help you transfer data from one hard drive to another in Windows 10/8/7. To clone entire hard drive including OS and data, you could use “Disk Clone” feature.

Also, you can benefit from its useful features. Its “SSD Alignment” makes use of 4k technology to help SSD achieve the best performance, not just reading & writing speed, but also the lifespan. Its “Sector by sector clone” can help you clone all sectors of a hard drive as long as the new disk has enough space to hold everything on the old disk.

Step by step guide: copy one hard drive to another in Windows 10/8/7

Prepare for hard drive clone:

  • Get a new drive, either HDD or SSD. If it’s not initialized, please initialize the disk in disk management.

  • Check the drive capacity. In most cases, the target drive needs to be equal or larger than source drive, so everything including OS, programs and data can be included. If not, please clean it up to keep only what you want to clone on the disk.

  • If your computer is a laptop, please remember to prepare a USB-to-SATA or USB-to-IDE cable to connect the new disk for cloning.

  • Download the best free disk cloning software – AOMEI Backupper Standard and install it on your computer.

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

Things to know before cloning with AOMEI Backupper Standard:

  • All data on the destination disk will be overwritten finally, so please backup file in advance.

  • You can HDD/SSD, MBR disk or GPT disk.

  • You can clone disk to lager disk and clone large HDD to smaller SSD in simple steps.

Now, let’s go straight to the point. See steps below and learn how to clone laptop hard drive.

Step 1. Connect the new disk to your computer and be sure it can be recognized.

Step 2. Launch this software, and you will see its deep-blue interface. Then, click Clone and Disk Clone subsequently.

Disk Clone

Please note that the free version disk clone software only supports cloning hard drive (containing operating system) to another one with the same partition style, clone MBR disk to MBR disk, for example. To clone MBR disk to GPT disk, you could use AOMEI Backupper Professional.
☛ To check partition style between hard drive and target SSD. You could go to disk management, right click the hard disk or the SSD, choose Properties -> Volume -> Partition Style, then you will see its partition style, either MBR or GPT.

Step 3. Select the current hard drive (here is Disk0) of laptop and click Next.

Select Source Disk

Step 4. Select the new HDD or SSD (here is Disk1) and click Next.

Select Destination Disk

Step 5. In the Operation Summary window, confirm the information is correct and click Start Clone to copy hard drive. If your disk is an SSD, please remember to tick “SSD Alignment” to optimize the performance of it.

Copy One Hard Drive to Another

Notes:
• To get rid of the cloned hard drive shows wrong size issue, you can use “Edit Partitions” in AOMEI Backupper Professional. It has three options, namely, “Copy without resizing partitions”, “Add unused space to all partitions” or ”Manually adjust partition size”
• To copy OS from one hard drive to another, you could use “System Clone” in AOMEI Backupper Professional.
• To transfer personal data, you could use “Basic Sync” or other sync options. “Real-Time Sync”, “Mirror Sync” and “Two-Way Sync” are supported by AOMEI Backupper Professional.

Your Turn

That’s all for how to copy one hard drive to another drive in Windows 7/8/10. You can use “Disk Clone” to clone entire hard drive including all the data on it. Also, if you just want to transfer personal data, you can use one of the file sync solutions. It’s all your decision, download the freeware to have a try right now.