How to Copy One Hard Drive to Another (Windows & Data)

You will learn two methods on how to copy one hard drive to another in Windows 10 and boot from it successfully.


By Ivy Updated on August 29, 2023

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Can I copy one hard drive to another?

Searching for "copy one hard drive to another", you may find there are two common situations just like those below. No matter what your situation is, there is a way to make it

Situation 1: Copy everything from 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?”

Situation 2: Copy data from one hard drive to another 

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

Is there an easy way to copy a hard drive to another?

Many users want to copy everything or data from one hard drive to another due to Insufficient disk space or other potential reasons, such as computer performance, disk failure, etc. So how to copy a hard drive to another?

Copy and Paste: This method is only suitable for transferring small amounts of data. If you use it to copy hundreds of files or large files, you may be disappointed because of the slow transfer speed. In addition, the process may be interrupted due to different operations.

Reinstall Windows: It will give you a fresh version of Windows but remove all the installed programs, personal data, etc. It means you need to configure your system from scratch and there is a risk of data loss. The process is time-consuming and tedious. 

Clone Disk or OS Only: It will copy all the data from the old disk to a new one. If it's a system disk, it will also include the system partition, system reserved partition or EFI system partition, and other boot files. So the cloned will remain bootable.

In sum, whether to copy boot drive to another drive or just your personal data, you can use the clone feature in powerful disk cloning software like AOMEI Backupper Professional. The process is easy and quick. 

Powerful disk cloning software to copy everything or just the data

AOMEI Backupper Professional is one of the best disk cloning software to copy Windows, programs, personal data, etc in Windows 7, 8/8.1, 10, and 11. It offers users three clone features, namely “Disk Clone”, "System Clone", and “Partition Clone”, which they can select based on their needs.

AOMEI Backupper
Easy Hard Drive and SSD Cloning Software
  • Try “Disk Clone” to clone Windows data or the data disk. Try "System Clone" to copy OS only. Try “Partition Clone” to copy data on a specific partition.
  • SSD Alignment: It makes use of 4k technology and is able to boost SSD disk performance, such as reading & writing speed, but also the lifespan.
  • Edit Partitions: Adjust the partition size manually or automatically to avoid the unallocated space left issue, or convert disk types from MBR to GPT or vice versa.
  • Support all brands of HDDs and SSDs, such as SanDisk, Samsung, WD, Transceond, Toshiba, etc.

Step-by-step guide: copy one hard drive to another in Windows 10

To be sure the cloning process runs smoothly, please get the things prepared:

1️⃣ Get a new drive, either HDD or SSD. The capacity of the new disk needs to be twice or three times that of the old disk. 

2️⃣ Purchase one connector (e.g.: USB-to-SATA adapter) if your computer has only one slot. It depends on your disk interface, such as SATA, M.2, PCIe, etc.

3️⃣ Install the new drive and be sure it's recognized. Open the back cover or hosts of your computer, slide your drive into the slot and screw it tightly. As for computer with one slot, connect it with the prepared connector.

4️⃣ Initialize the disk in Disk Management before using it to store everything on the old disk. Right-click it and select Initialize Disk. Then, select MBR or GPT partition style, depending on your old disk, and click OK.

5️⃣ Download powerful disk cloning software – AOMEI Backupper Professional. Install and launch it on your computer.

Download DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Things to know before cloning with AOMEI Backupper Professional:

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

  • You can clone HDD/SSD, and MBR/GPT disks.

  • You can clone disk to larger disk or clone large HDD to smaller SSD in simple steps. Or choose to clone OS only or the specific partition.

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

Method 1: Copy Everything from one hard drive to another

Here we will introduce you to the Disk Clone feature and how to copy everything, it can be  Windows, installed programs, personal data, etc., or simply all the data on your old disk (if it's a data disk). 

Step 1. On the deep-blue interface of AOMEI Backupper, click Clone and Disk Clone subsequently.

Disk Clone

✿ The Professional version of disk clone software supports cloning all the data disk and system disk, from MBR to MBR, MBR to GPT, GPT to GPT, and GPT to MBR. 
✿ Both MBR and GPT are two different disk types for data storage, and you can check this in Disk Management. Right-click the hard disk or SSD, choose Properties -> Volume -> Partition Style, then you will see its partition style, either MBR or GPT. 

Disk Partition Style

Step 2. Select the current Windows 10 hard drive (here is Disk0) and click Next.

Select Disk

Step 3. Select the new HDD or SSD (here is Disk1) and click Next.

Choose Destination Disk

Step 4. In the Operation Summary window, confirm the information is correct and click Start Clone to copy everything from one hard drive to another. Remember to tick “SSD Alignment” to optimize the SSD disk performance if it is.

Start Clone

🔆Highlight clone feature in AOMEI Backupper

Except for SSD Alignment, you can also use the Sector by sector clone to keep the old partition layout or Edit Partitions to adjust the partition size on the destination disk. The second feature resolves two potential issues during the cloning process. 

#1: The cloned drive not show full capacity.

By default, all the cloning software makes an exact copy of the source disk unless you change the partition size while cloning. To prevent this from the beginning, try the following 3 options. 

  • 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. 

Copy Without Resizing

#2: The cloned drive not bootable after cloning.

One of the biggest reason is the destination and source disk has different partition style and you don't convert them to the same before cloning. In this situation, you can simply check Convert the destination disk from MBR to GPT or vice versa, depending on their disk partition styles. 

Method 2: Copy Windows from one hard drive to another 

To copy Windows and data on the system partition only, try its System Clone feature. 

Step 1. Open AOMEI Backupper Professional. Select Clone and System Clone in order.

System Clone

Step 2. Select the new hard drive or SSD as the destination partition. AOMEI Backupper will automatically select Windows, system reserved partition, or EFI system partition, as well as other files required to start a computer.   

Choose Destination

Step 3. On the Operation Summary window, click "Start Clone" to copy Windows from one hard drive to another. Tick "SSD Alignment" to further accelerate the reading and writing speed of SSD if it is. 

System Clone Preview

Make full use of disk space: It will automatically add unallocated space to system partition and be checked by default if the target disk is larger.
Sector by sector clone: It will clone every sector of the system partition, even if it's empty or bad sector.  

Your Turn

That’s all for how to copy one hard drive to another drive in Windows 10. You can use “Disk Clone” to clone entire hard drive or "System Clone" to copy OS only. The same goes for Windows 11 and previous systems. 

Also, this software also applies if you just want to transfer personal data, you can use one of the file sync solutions. It’s all your decision, download this software to have a try right now.

Ivy · Editor
Ivy is an editor of AOMEI Technology, she covers backup & restore,hard disk & partitions management and cloud files transfer and so on for AOMEI. She is an outgoing girl and enjoys helping people find solutions to their problems. She loves traveling, eating, reading and so on. She usually hangs out with friends at her leisure time.