By Lily / Last update December 3, 2021

User case

How do I clone Windows partition to bootable SSD?

I have a desktop machine with an HDD that I partitioned into a small bootable partition for Windows and applications, and a much larger partition for data. I did this anticipating that at some point I would want to be able to clone the Windows partition to an SSD which would be much smaller than the HDD.
However it is not obvious to me how to do the cloning. I can find instructions for cloning one drive to another and making it bootable, but I haven't found instructions on how to copy just one partition to another drive and make it bootable. How should I go about doing this?

- Question from Tenforums.com

Instead of cloning a whole disk, sometimes you may want to clone a particular partition to another drive. Here are two common situations of copying partition to another drive:

  • Move data partition to a larger drive because the current drive lacks storage space.
  • Transfer system partition to an SSD so that you can use SSD for OS and HDD for storage.

What’s more, cloning a specified partition costs less time than cloning an entire disk. It’s an efficient way to transfer only necessary data. Then, what’s the best solution to copy partition to another drive on Windows 11/10/8/7?

Best freeware to transfer partition to another drive

The best free cloning software – AOMEI Backupper Standard makes it a piece of cake to copy any partition on your PC. You can benefit a lot from its following features:

  • Disk Clone: it allows you to clone all partitions on one disk at the same time. It is useful when you want to transfer everything from one hard drive to another.
  • Partition Clone: it enables you to clone a specified partition to another partition/disk. It supports cloning NTFS drive, FAT32 drive, and exFAT drive, etc.
  • SSD Alignment: it uses 4K partition alignment to improve the read/write speed of an SSD.

Besides, AOMEI Backupper runs well on all editions of Windows 11/10/8.1/8/7/Vista/XP. Want to have a try? Download it now!

Download Freeware Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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How to clone partition to another drive in Windows 11/10/8/7 easily

Please note that all data on the destination drive will be deleted after cloning, so backup files on the target drive if you don’t want to lose them. Follow the guidance below to begin cloning a non-system partition:

Step 1. Connect the target drive to your computer if you are cloning to an external drive.

Step 2. Install and run AOMEI Backupper. Select Clone > Partition Clone.

Partition Clone

Step 3. On the Source Partition page, choose the data partition that you want to clone and click Next.

Select Source Partition

Step 4. On the Destination Partition page, choose the target drive and click Next.

Select Destination Drive

Step 5. Check the SSD Alignment option if you are cloning to an SSD. Then, click Start Clone to launch the cloning process.

Start Partition Clone

Notes:
◑ You can do more settings with Edit partition. It is available in AOMEI Backupper Professional and higher editions.
◑ If you want to clone every sector on the source partition, you can enable Sector by sector clone. It requires the destination partition to be equal to or larger than the source partition.
◑ After the cloning process is finished, you can wipe the source drive to release storage space. The source partition will become unallocated space after wiping. You can use the unallocated space to extend an existing volume or create a new volume via Windows tool Disk Management.

Advanced way to copy boot partition to another drive

If the partition you plan to clone is a boot partition, you’d better choose higher editions of AOMEI Backupper and use the System Clone feature. That’s because there can be other system related partitions on your PC, such as system reserved partition or EFI system partition, and you need to clone them all to ensure a secure boot.

The System Clone feature will choose all system related partitions automatically, thus reducing human error. Learn how to clone system partition(s) to another drive as follows:

Step 1. Connect the target drive to your computer as necessary.

Step 2. Load AOMEI Backupper. Select Clone > System Clone.

System Clone

Step 3. The system related partition(s) is(are) selected by default. Just choose a destination partition to hold the cloned data and click Next.

Choose Destination Partition

Step 4. Check the SSD Alignment option if the target drive is an SSD and click Start Clone to begin.

Start System Clone

Tip: To boot from the cloned drive, you need to change boot order in BIOS. If the original system disk and the target drive are in different partition styles, i.e. one MBR and one GPT, you should also change boot mode in BIOS to make the cloned drive bootable.

Wrapping things up

That’s all about how to copy partition to another drive on Windows 11/10/8/7. If you are cloning a data partition, free AOMEI Backupper works perfectly. If you are cloning a boot partition, then the advanced edition of AOMEI Backupper ensures a secure boot. You may pick an edition that best meets your need.

Actually, there are many other useful features offered in AOMEI Backupper, such as create mirror image backup and sync local folders to OneDrive. Why not try it now?