How to Clone Windows 11 to Another Hard Drive (Bootable)

How to clone Windows 11 to another hard drive easily and make it bootable? Read on to solve this task effortlessly.


By Clytze Updated on November 1, 2022

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User case


Can I clone my hard drive to an external drive?

Basically, I want to copy my C drive (128g M.2 SSD) which has my Windows OS, other files, etc. to my external USB hard drive and then restore that onto a new larger 1tb M.2 SSD I recently purchased. My motherboard only has one M.2 slot, I assume I could just copy my C drive (OS) to external drive, install new SSD, then boot from external and restore. I tried some disk cloning software, but could not get my external drive to be bootable. (seemed scammy idk) My main problem seems to be that I can't get my external to boot. I am clearly dumb with computers, so laymens terms would be appreciated if possible. Thanks!

- Question from tom's HARDWARE 

If you have encountered such situation, you may wonder how to clone Windows 11 to SSD or HDD. Before that, let's figure out what the purpose of cloning is.

Reasons for cloning Windows 11 to another hard drive

Some common reasons for copying Windows 11 to new hard drive can be listed as follows:

⊙When your computer or laptop runs slowly and takes a long time to boot up.
⊙When you desire to improve boot speed and overall system performance.
⊙When your system drive is almost full. When you do not have enough space for Windows 11 updates, or your system is almost full after Windows 11 updates.
⊙When you don't want to reinstall any programs on Windows 11. Migrating your operating system to another location without reinstalling can save time and effort.

Preparations before Windows 11 clone

Before performing Windows 11 clone, you need to do some preparatory work.

☛ Select the target disk. Select the target disk according to your purpose and needs, it can be HDD or SSD, and make sure your target disk can be detected.

☛ Check the size of the disk. The capacity of the new disk should be greater than or equal to the used space on the old disk, so that the new disk can hold all the data on the old disk. Otherwise, the cloning process may eventually fail.

☛ Prepare the connector. For desktops, you can install the new HDD or SSD directly in the extra socket. For laptops, you need a SATA-USB adapter, which may vary by disk interface (SATA, NVMe, PCIe, etc.).

Back up important files ahead of time. As the target disk will be completely overwritten during the cloning process.

How to clone Windows 11 to another hard drive via best disk cloning software

Some users want to find a reliable cloning software to help them clone disks on Windows 11. However, there is no software available for disk cloning on the computer's own system, so you have to ask for help from third-party software.

There is no doubt that it is very important to find a secure cloning software that will not only help you migrate your data or operating system, but also ensure data integrity and safe boot from the new disk.

Here I highly recommend one best disk cloning software in Windows 11 for you—AOMEI Backupper, which can help you easily clone Windows 11 and make it bootable. Learn more about the clone features of this software below:

✪ Clone methods. The software offers three paths for you to perform disk clone, partition clone and system clone according to your different needs.
✪ Clone different hard drives. With its help, you can clone HDDs, SATA SSDs, NVMe M.2 SSDs, USB flash drives, and SD cards, etc.
✪ Intelligent Clone. In default mode, it only clones used sectors, so you can easily clone a larger drive to a smaller drive and boot successfully from the cloned one.
Sector by sector clone. It can clone all sectors, whether they are used or not.

Here I will show you how to migrate Window 11 system by disk clone—(it allows you to move OS to new drive by cloning entire disk) and system clone—(it lets you transfer only OS to new drive). You can choose according to your needs. Moving on to catch the stepwise guide on how to migrate your Windows system to another hard drive.

Copy Windows 11 to new hard drive using Disk Clone:

Step 1. Connect the target hard drive to your computer and make sure it is detectable. Download AOMEI Backupper Professional, install, and open it. Click “Clone”>“Disk Clone”.

Download DemoWin11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
Secure Download

Disk Clone

Step 2. Select the Windows 11 system disk that you want to clone and click “Next”.

Select the Original Disk

Step 3. Select the destination disk to store the cloned data and click “Next”.

Destination Disk

Step 4. Preview all the settings and the information of your source and destination disk. Then click “Start Clone”.

Start Clone

Advanced settings:
Edit Partitions
: Using this function, you can change the partition size on the destination disk.
Sector by Sector Clone: It will clone all sectors, whether it contains any data or not. Furthermore, this feature is generally available when cloning disks of the same or larger size. If you clone from a large disk to a small one, checking this option will cause clone failure instead.
SSD Alignment: It will accelerate the reading and writing speed of the SSD disk. It is highly recommended to check this option if you are cloning to an SSD.

Clone only Windows 11 operating system to another hard drive:

Step 1. Launch AOMEI Backupper Professional. Click “Clone” in the left-hand menu, and choose “System Clone” to clone only Windows 11 operating system.

Choose System Clone

Step 2. It will automatically select the system drive and related drives by default. Select the hard drive you wish to clone to as the destination disk and click “Next” to continue.

Choose Destination Partition

Step 3. Confirm all the settings and then click “Start Clone”. If your target disk is an SSD, you can select “SSD Alignment to accelerate the reading and writing speed of the SSD disk.

Confirm Settings and Start Clone

Step 4. When the process is complete, click “Finish”.


Boot from the cloned drive on Windows 11:

Now you need to follow the steps below to make the newly cloned drive bootable.

1. Reboot your computer and press F2/F10/Del to enter the BIOS.

2. Go to the boot menu and in the boot priority section, set the new hard drive as the first boot option in BIOS.

3. Press F10 to save all the changes and restart the computer.

Final words

That’s all for how to clone Windows 11 to another hard drive. With AOMEI Backupper Professional, you can easily perform Windows 11 clone, ensure that you can successfully boot your computer from the cloned hard drive, and never worry about data loss and system crash.

In addition, you can get into the habit of creating a full backup of your system and files on a regular basis with AOMEI Backupper, so that you can easily restore your computer to previous date using the backup created in advance if you encounter 0xc000000e in Windows 11. There are more features worth exploring, so download this free trial version now and give it a try!

Clytze · Editor
Clytze, an editor at AOMEI Technology, is passionate about safeguarding your digital world. She dedicates her expertise to empower users like you in data security and recovery. She firmly believes that everyone should have the tools and knowledge to protect their digital assets through computer backup, seamless disk cloning, and efficient file synchronization. Clytze is your trusted guide on the journey to data safety.