Some technical prerequisites must be met to clone a hard drive. At a minimum, the new hard drive must be example have as much disk space as the old data medium. If you want to transfer the hard drive from a laptop to a new SSD, you will need an external hard drive enclosure or a SATA to USB cable . There are also affordable docking stations that allow you to plug in an SSD and connect it to a computer via USB. If the target SSD is already built into a stationary PC, these connections external will of course be unnecessary.
When using the loappropriate software, creating a simple hard drive clone can be done quickly and usually is not a problem. However, if you want to clone an entire system , things get tough. After the transfer, you must make sure that the new data medium is bootable and correctly recognized during boot . In the case of very recent storage media, for example, Windows may need the corresponding drivers to initialize them and integrate them during startup. In the event of manual installation, the appropriate drivers are generally available on the websites of the hard disk manufacturers.
On the other hand, it may be necessary to make certain settings in the BIOS for boot processes with new hardware for example by setting the new hard drive as the primary boot drive. If you want to implement an operating system, you will need to have recovery media (eg a Windows DVD) in order to be able to carry out any necessary repair work.
The migration of an operating system can be an opportunity to tidy up and sort it out. If you have been using Windows for a long time without performing any sorting, your computer will often have large unnecessary data volumes , eg. in temporary installation directories or in the browser cache. Old network connections will spin around without finding their destination. Your favorites lists will contain links that you haven't used for ages.
After you have performed the migration and this cleanup, you will then have an optimized system offering udo better performance and more transparent operation. Of course, the smaller the data volumes, the faster it will be to clone a hard drive. Therefore, it is worthwhile to migrate the operating system only if the version of Windows you are currently using is healthy and running smoothly. . Otherwise, it is better to set up a new operating system and forgo cloning the old problematic system.
Before running any cloning software, you should, if possible, disconnect unnecessary data carriers from your system. Otherwise, it is possible that a wrong target disk is selected and irretrievably overwritten. On the other hand, the fewer data carriers you have connected, the easier it will be to have an overview of the cloning process, in particularr for inexperienced users.
Before any migration, you should also protect yourself against data loss as a preventive measure . It is recommended to back up all data or, at a minimum, essential data on a backup medium not involved in the cloning process . In fact, the loss of overwritten or damaged data will in principle be irreversible after having cloned a hard drive. If you want to use a second-hand hard drive, you will first need to check the data stored on it and, if necessary, back up old data. A backup copy will also allow you to quickly get back to the original state.
If you want to make sure that the clone works without a hitch and that everything will go smoothly if needed, you can another precaution must be taken: Windows 10 includes tools to find errors inthe disks and repair them. This tool can be accessed as follows:
Disk symbol in the file explorer (eg disk: "Data", letter: "I:")> right click> Properties> "Tab" Tools > Error checking> Click on" Check "
Windows 10: check disk for errors under Properties / Tools
Windows 10 does not provide any built-in functionality to clone a hard drive. This process may However, it can be done safely and in a user-friendly manner using proven software solutions . Below you will find out how to clone hard drives with AOMEI Backupper Standard, Macrium Reflect and Acronis True Image 2020. Examples of use are limited to the two data carriers involved.If more data carriers are connected, the program will display themalso have. During the tests, you must therefore ensure that you select the correct target disk!
If cloning a hard drive fails, it can in some cases due to the fact that the data medium contains encrypted partitions.
Clone hard disk with AOMEI Backupper Standard
After launching the program, AOMEI Backupper Standard opens a start screen with various features . By clicking on "Clone", you will again be shown various options. Selecting the "Clone System" option will allow you to create a bootable copy including the operating system.You can also clone partitions or hard drives . The following sections provide a step-by-step explanation of creating a hard drive clone:
AOMEI Backupper Standard splash screen with options to clone hard drives and partitions
By clicking on" Clone hard disk ", you open the" Source hard disk "menu containing a list of connected hard disks. In this menu, select the data medium to be copied. having clicked on "Next", you must define the target hard disk:
AOMEI Backupper Standard: select the source hard drive
AOMEI Backupper Standard: select target hard drive
After selecting the target hard drive, click "Next" to open a view showing a summary of the future copy: AOMEI Backupper Standard : summary of the action "Clone a hard disk
Additional operations may be defined at the bottom of the program window:
- Modify partitions (parameters concerning the size of the partitions, the allocation of storage capacities)
- Align SSD (recommended setting increasing the performance of an SSD)
- Sector-to-sector clone (identical hard drive copy without exception, also copy currently used, empty or bad sectors)
During the copy process, you can also view details if you want and closely monitor the process:
AOMEI Backupper Standard: displayhage details when cloning hard disk
After a while, the software displays the end of the copy process :
AOMEI Backupper Standard: the final screen indicates the end of cloning.
Clone a hard drive with Macrium Reflect
An English interface opens by default when the software is launched. The key combination CTRL + SHIFT + L allows you to change the language.
When launching the program, Macrium Reflect opens a user interface listing the available disks and starts the cloning process after clicking on" Clone this disk ":
Macrium Reflect: when launching the program, the start screen lists the hard drives connected.
A new window will then open for the selection of the hard drive. After clicking on" Select a drive for the clone ", you can select the target hard drive in a separate view : Macrium Reflect: selection of the target hard disk in the window that appears
The target hard drive (1) is then listed in the program window and appears with the source hard drive: Macrium Reflect: list of hard drives involved
By clicking on "Next", (2) you can decide in the next step whether to other copy processes involving the same disks must be scheduled and recorded. Clicking on "Add schedule" (1) opens a schedule wizard for automation of regular backups :
Macrium Reflect: creation of a schedule for regular hard disk cloning
After clicking on "Next" (2) again, a summary of the copy process is displayed to you in the next step: Macrium Reflect: summary of the work steps of the copy process figcaption>
By clicking on" Finish ", you can then give a name to your backup (and replace the name with default “My Clone”). If you wish, you can save the cloning process for future uses (as an XML file):
Macrium Reflect: definition of the time of cloning and title of the backup
After clicking on "OK", a security message asking you to confirm the cloning definitively appears. If the box is checked (1), the process is started when you click on "Next": Macrium Reflect: last security message before the start of cloning
A status windowinforms you about the continuation of the process and the end of the cloning :
Macrium Reflect: a final screen informs you of the end of the cloning
Clone hard drive with Acronis True Image 2020
To clone a hard drive with Acronis True Image, you need to follow the following steps:
After opening the program, select "Extras" in the sidebar then click on "Clone disk". The program then asks you to choose a "Mode for cloning. You have the choice between "automatic" and "manual". In general, automatic cloning is sufficient for normal users. If you want more flexibility in data transfer, you can make further settings in manual mode. In the next step, you need to select the source disk. When you click “Next”, you can athen define the target disk which will save the clone. After checking the configured settings one last time, click on "Finish".
Acronis does not allow clone dynamic hard disks . They are used in Windows operating systems for more complex recording and data management architectures (eg for creating generic volumes). On the other hand, the manufacturer states that if a Windows system can be transferred to an external hard drive through a USB connection, the PC will not be able to be booted from the external hard drive. Therefore, it is recommended to create the clone of a system drive via SATA cable and connect an SSD or HDD hard drive to it. On some desktop PCs, the SATA ports are accessible from the outside. Otherwise, they are located directly on the motherboard. You will find a guide for cloning laptop hard driveses here .
After hard disk copy: format free disk space as volume
If you transfer a clone to a larger hard drive using the programs presented above, the unallocated space on the target hard drive remains free. In Windows Disk Management, you can format this space as a volume to then use the entire storage capacity of the data medium.
To access the Disk Management , right click on the Windows symbol located at the left end of the taskbar. In the context menu that appears, selectction "Disk Management". The unallocated disk space is displayed after the list of disks. Open the menu with a right click. Click on "New Simple Volume" to open a Windows wizard:
Windows 10: create a new simple volume in Disk Management
The wizard guides you through several steps allowing you to make
Windows 10: definition of the drive letter in Disk Management
Windows 10: format settings and simple volume name