How to Clone Hard Drive in Windows 10/11 Easily [Bootable]

How to clone a disk in Windows 10/11? In this article, you will find the best answer and get some helpful tips on cloning hard drive in Windows 10/11.


By Teresa Updated on May 30, 2024

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User Case: Need to Clone Disk in Windows 10/11

“Recently, I bought a notebook where genuine Windows 10 is already installed but the hard drive is just 500GB HDD and Windows 10 runs really slowly. Now I want to install some large programs.
I think I can clone the hard drive to a larger SSD in Windows 10, but I don’t have the installation disk cos Windows was already installed. Plz can you help me?"

Clone HDD to SSD

If you are in a similar situation as this user and want to do disk clone instead of clean install, keep reading to find the best disk cloning software to help you.

👉 Why Clone a Hard Drive in Windows 10/11?
👉 Best Disk Cloning Software for Windows 10/11
👉 How to Clone HDD to SSD in Windows 10/11 Step by Step🔥
👉 Bonus: Disk clone vs. clean install, which is better?
👉 FAQs about Windows 10 Disk Clone

Why Clone a Hard Drive in Windows 10/11?

Here are some of the common reasons why users want to clone disks in Windows 10/11 laptop or desktop:

  • Upgrade smaller disk to larger disk

Some manufacturers may ship PC/laptops with second-class small capacity hard drives, typically around 500GB. This ends up annoying the purchaser as the drive runs out of space after just a few months. Normally, the user will then consider either getting a new PC (but this can cost a lot of money) or upgrading old hard drive to a large capacity SSD by using reliable disk cloning software.

  • Replace old HDD with new SSD

SSDs can make your computer run much faster, accelerate the read and write speed during data transfer, and generally increase overall user satisfaction with the quality of the system. If you’re a gamer, you’ll need an SSD to avoid lag when playing your favorite games like online FPS.

Best Disk Cloning Software for Windows 10/11

Speaking of the best disk clone program, AOMEI Backupper Professional edition is on the top of our list. It’s a straightforward and easy-to-use piece of disk cloning software trusted by millions of users worldwide.

Variable clone types: It enables you to clone hard drive to SSD or another HDD easily. You can also clone a specific partition or only OS as per your need.
✦ Clone to smaller/larger disk: By default, this software only copies used sectors, which makes it possible to clone larger drive to smaller drive. If you are cloning to a larger drive, you can use “Edit Partitions” to take advantage of full disk capacity.
SSD Alignment: It supports 4K partition alignment for SSD to improve the reading and writing speed of SSD and expand its life span.
Wide applicability: It is designed for Windows 11, 10, 8.1/8, 7, Vista, and XP, 32 bit and 64 bit. Also, it supports various disk types, including all-branded HDDs, SATA/M.2 SSDs, PCIe NVMe SSDs, USB drives, and SD cards, etc.

Download AOMEI Backupper to have a try now.

AOMEI Backupper

Easiest hard drive clone software for Windows PC.

How to Clone HDD to SSD in Windows 10/11 Step by Step

There are three phases involved in the disk cloning process. I'll walk you through them one by one.

Before Cloning Hard Drive on Windows 10/11

Before performing disk clone in Windows 10/11 using AOMEI Backupper, there is something you should pay attention to:

  • Backup important data on destination disk to external hard drive before cloning. All of the data on the target hard drive or SSD will be overwritten during the cloning process. 

  • Check the used space on the original Windows 10/11 hard drive. To clone large hard drive to smaller SSD (like 500GB to 256GB), you have to make sure the used space on Windows 10/11 hard drive is less than or equal to the target SSD. Otherwise, it will fail due to insufficient space. Ignore this information if trying to clone to larger HDD/SSD.

  • Convert dynamic disk to basic disk at first. If the target disk is a dynamic disk, you will have to convert it first, then you can perform a disk copy in Windows 10/11 as usual.

  • Prepare screwdrivers to open the back cover on your laptop or desktop.

  • Prepare a 2.5’’ SSD enclosure or SATA-to-USB cable to connect SSD if you’re running a Windows 10/11 laptop with only one hard drive slot. 

Perform Windows 10/11 Hard Drive Clone

To clone Windows 10/11 hard drive to larger SSD, just refer to the following step-by-step instructions.

Step 1. Choose Disk Clone in AOMEI Backupper

Install and run AOMEI Backupper. Click on Clone -> Disk Clone on the main interface.

Disk Clone

Note: To clone only your Windows 10/11 operating system, installed programs, and drivers to an SSD or HDD, please choose System Clone instead.

Step 2. Choose the old hard drive

Select the Windows 10/11 hard drive and click Next >> button to continue.

Source Disk

Step 3. Choose the new SSD

In the next window, select the larger SSD as destination and click Next >> button to continue. 

Destination Disk

Step 4. Enhance SSD performance and launch the cloning process

Tick SSD Alignment to accelerate the reading and writing speed for the larger SSD. And then click Start Clone to begin cloning HDD to SSD in Windows 10/11.

Start Clone

Step 5. HDD to SSD clone finished

Click on Finish to exit the window when the cloning process reaches 100%.

★ Helpful Tips:

  • If you use AOMEI Backupper to clone MBR to GPT disk, you need to change Legacy to UEFI after cloning, and vice versa.

  • Sector by sector clone: It will clone all of the space on the original hard disk regardless of used or not, and it will take significantly longer time than the normal cloning process. The “Edit partitions” option will be unavailable then. Resize partition with a free partition manager to show full capacity on larger SSD if needed.

  • Please DO NOT select the Sector by sector clone option when cloning larger HDD to smaller SSD.

  • Edit Partitions: This feature will allow you to resize the partitions on the target hard drive to take advantage of the increased capacity when you clone a smaller Windows 10/11 disk to a larger one. You will get unallocated space on the larger SSD drive if you uncheck "Add unused space to all partitions".

Add Unused Space

  • Create Portable Version: Create portable AOMEI Backupper to clone hard drive to SSD on different computers without installing this software again and again. It is available in AOMEI Backupper Technician or Technician Plus edition.

Create Portable Version

Boot from the cloned SSD

After the cloning process is finished, try one of the following methods to boot from the cloned SSD:

>> Method 1: Replace the original hard drive with the cloned SSD and boot your computer.

Remove Hard Drive

>> Method 2: Keep both the old and new disks installed and set the new SSD as the first boot option in BIOS to boot your computer.

Change Boot Order

Bonus: Disk clone vs. clean install, which is better?

When moving Windows from one hard drive to another, there are usually two methods: disk clone and clean install. Which is right for you? The following table will help you have a better understanding of these two methods.




Disk Clone

Time-Efficient: You don't have to reinstall everything from scratch.

Data Preservation: All your data, applications, and settings are preserved exactly as they were.

System Consistency: Cloning minimizes compatibility and configuration issues.

Transfer of Issues: Any existing issues are carried over to the new drive.

No Fresh Start: You miss the opportunity for a clean slate.

Clean Install

Optimal Performance: Clean install eliminates all old software clutter and potential malware, leading to a faster system.

Problem-Free: Any software-related issues from the old system are left behind.

Custom Setup: You are allowed to install only the software and drivers you need.

Time-Consuming: Reinstalling the OS, drivers, and applications requires a lot of effort.

Data Migration: You need to manually back up and restore your personal files.

Configuration Effort: You need to reconfigure system settings and preferences to your liking.

In conclusion, if you value speed and convenience and your current system is in good shape, a disk clone is a good option. However, if you want a fresh start and are looking to maximize performance and stability, a clean install is the better choice.

FAQs about Windows 10 Disk Clone

1. Does cloning a hard drive copy the OS?
Yes, everything on the source disk will be transferred to the destination disk, including the OS, programs and files.
2. What is the fastest way to clone a hard drive?
The fastest way to clone your hard drive is to find reliable disk clone software, like AOMEI Backupper. The disk clone software you choose should ensure secure boot after cloning, so you won't waste time troubleshooting the cloned drive won't boot issue.
3. Does Windows 10 have a cloning tool?
No, Windows 10 doesn't have a cloning tool. To transfer OS to another drive, you can create a system image first and then restore it to a new hard drive. However, the whole process is time-consuming and error-prone. To move OS more easily, you can try a specialized third-party cloning tool.
4. How long does it take to clone Windows 10 to SSD?
The usual wait time would be between 30 minutes to several hours. Assuming that you want to copy a disk containing 500GB of data and the cloning speed is 100 Mb/s, the cloning process may take about 90 minutes to complete.


With its user-friendly interface, cloning hard drive in Windows 10/11 with AOMEI Backupper is as easy as pie. You just need a few clicks to make an exact copy of Windows 10/11 hard drive. And it's also applicable to clone large HDD to smaller SSD, clone disk to larger disk, clone SATA SSD, clone Windows to NVMe SSD, etc.

Besides, you could create file backups, partition backups, disk backups, and system image backups which you can use to restore Windows to a new hard drive. If you are a server user, just try AOMEI Backupper Server.

Teresa · Editor
Joined AOMEI in 2015, Teresa has become an expert in the areas of data backup and migration. She shares her insights on setting up full protection for a Windows PC/Server and performing hard drive cloning. With a sharp focus on the latest technological trends, she ensures that the information shared is consistently aligned with the ever-evolving developments in the industry.