> > Clone A Hard Drive

How to Clone a Hard Drive to SSD in Windows 10/8/7?


Summary: Don't know how to clone a hard drive to SSD without any data loss in Windows 10/8/7? Are you looking for a simple way to clone the entire disk for free? Here in this article, two pieces of best free disk cloning software from MiniTool Solution Ltd. enable you to perform hard drive cloning operation safely and effectively.

Why Clone Hard Drive in Windows 10/8/7

Why need to clone a hard disk to another one? Is there any case about disk cloning in Windows 10/8/7? Perhaps you are looking for the answers. Here below are some details:

  • Upgrade old hard drive to a new or large one: Usually, after using the hard drive for a few years, this disk is pretty outdated. In order to ensure your computer can run smoothly, please replace the old disk with a new or large one.
  • Upgrade a small hard drive to a large one: if you need to save a large amount of data on your disk, but the small disk can't meet your needs. Then to upgrade to a large disk by cloning will be a good choice.
  • Make a backup: When using a computer, data loss often appears due to virus infection, system failure, partition damaged and more. In order to ensure data security, you had better back up the entire disk.
  • Get a good performance: Usually, SSD is chosen to be as the destination disk by many of you since its outstanding merits, such as fast read-write speed, lower consumption, no noise and so on. Then to clone HDD to SSD will be an option to replace your disk for a good performance.

In these four cases, you can use the method of hard drive cloning to achieve your aim. So, is there any simple way to do this operation? Of course. Keep reading now.

Clone Hard Drive Software – MiniTool ShadowMaker

In Windows 10/8/7, some of you may consider using Windows snap-in Disk Management. However, this free tool doesn't have a feature to clone disk to SSD. Then you will ask: Is there any way to do cloning operation? As a matter of fact, it is easy for disk cloning as long as you own a piece of third-party software. Whiling searching "clone hard drive" on the internet, you will find some users are looking for the clone tool, here is an actual example:

"Hello people, I'm not sure if this is the right section, just kindly inform me. I just wanted to know what is the best software for cloning an HDD. It's either free or not I'm willing to get any, I tried to search the net but there are too many to choose from so wanted your suggestions if any of you guys are using cloning software. Thank you."

--from tomsguide.com

So, which one is the best cloning software? Fortunately, MiniTool Solution Ltd. provides you with a piece of professional software – MiniTool ShadowMaker. It is designed to back up and restore your system, partition, and disk, as well as clone disk in Windows 10/8/7. We recommend this tool to you since it offers you a safe and free solution for disk cloning.

Before you do, you should focus on some points:

  • • Download MiniTool ShadowMaker, and then install it on your computer.

  • Prepare a hard disk, for example, SSD or an external hard drive. Please make sure the disk space of the target disk is larger than or equal to the used disk space on your source disk. Otherwise, you are not allowed to clone hard drive to SSD or another disk.
  • Connect your target disk to your computer. As you know, the computer can be divided into desktop and laptop. If you would like to clone a laptop hard drive, how to do? Actually, it is easy. Please connect your SSD or another hard drive via USB to your laptop and then start the cloning operation.

If you have done the above three things, now it is time to clone a hard drive to SSD in Windows 10/8/7. Follow the guidance below:

Step 1: Double click MiniTool ShadowMaker to run it. Then a window appears showing you two sections including Local and Remote Mode. You can click the first "Connect" to clone the hard drive of your local computer. Or type the specific IP address and connect to the computer in the same LAN for disk copy. Here take the local mode as an example in Windows 10/8/7.

backup type

Step 2: Next, you see there are a few tabs in the toolbar. From the main interface, you know MiniTool ShadowMaker is a piece of dedicated backup & restore software. And you probably ask: How to clone a hard drive to SSD or an external hard drive? In fact, this tool is also one hard drive clone software. Please click "Tools", then you see "Clone Disk" feature which can meet your need to copy the hard drive.

clone disk

Step 3: Next, you will enter the interface where you need to select the source disk you want to clone and the target disk to store the exact same disk copy. After finishing the selection, click "OK" button to start the cloning process.

clone hard drive disk to ssd

Attention: A warning will pop up to tell you that all the data which are saved on the target disk will be destroyed during the process of disk cloning. Please make sure your important files are not on the target disk. Just click "Yes" to continue.


Step 4: Next, MiniTool ShadowMaker will perform disk copy. Please wait for a few minutes. The cloning time is in proportion to the file size. After the process is 100% completed, you see some information in the pop-out window:

Shut down the computer. Please make sure you have disconnected either the original hard drive or the target hard drive when you first boot your computer after creating a disk clone. If your original disk and target disk are connected to your computer at startup, the target disk will be marked as offline by Windows operating system.


note Notes:

As mentioned in this part, in most situations, you choose to clone a hard drive to SSD in Windows 10/8/7 rather than simply copying & pasting for disk upgrade, good performance, and disk backup. Due to different cloning needs, the specific operations are different.

  • As for disk upgrade, after finishing cloning, the new disk can directly be used as OS disk so that your computer can run quickly since the disk cloning can clone all data including Windows system, all applications, settings and data required. But the precondition is to mark the target disk online, shut down your computer and remove the original disk or leave the original hard drive and change the boot order to boot from SSD.
  • Some of you make a disk backup by cloning a hard drive to SSD. After the cloning operation is completed, to remove the target disk is OK. (In addition to using "Clone Disk" to back up the entire disk, you can also use MiniTool ShadowMaker to make a disk image backup with its "Backup" feature.)

Hard Drive Clone Software – MiniTool Partition Wizard

In the above part, we show you how to clone a hard drive to SSD in Windows 10/8/7 with MiniTool ShadowMaker. As a matter of fact, in addition to this software, MiniTool Team has also developed another clone software – MiniTool Partition Wizard, which is compatible with Windows 10/8/7, Windows Server 2016/2012/2008 and more. It owns many features, for instance, resize/delete/extend partition, recover lost partition, migrate OS to SSD/HD, copy disk, copy partition and so forth. How to clone a hard drive in Windows 10/8/7? Just try its "Copy Disk" feature now.

Before you do, you also need to prepare an empty SSD or another hard drive as the target disk since the cloning process will delete all data from the target disk. Besides, the target disk can't be smaller than the used disk space on your source disk.

Moreover, download MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition to start the disk cloning now. If you need to clone your disk to the SSD with GPT partition style, please get its Professional Edition.

Step 1: Choose the hard drive you want to clone, and then click "Copy Disk" from "Convert Disk" in the action panel. Or right click on the source disk to choose "Copy" feature.

copy disk

Step 2: Then choose a target disk to copy the content of the source disk to. All data will be copied to the disk with the sector-by-sector mode. Click "Next" to go to another page.

Step 3: Next you will see there are two copy options for you, including "Fit partitions to entire disk" and "Copy partitions without resize". Thereinto, the first copy mode is checked by default and please select one according to your need.

You should align your partitions to 1MB since it can improve the performance of your SSD. Moreover, "Use GUID Partition Table for the target disk" can be selected if your SSD is a GPT disk.

copy option

Step 4: Then this tool will inform you to change the boot setting so that you can boot your computer from the new disk. If you only copy hard drive for disk backup, just ignore this warning.

Step 5: You can preview that all partitions will be copied to your SSD. Just perform this operation by clicking "Apply" button.

MiniTool Partition Wizard also offers another feature called "Migrate OS to SSD/HD" which enables you to move system related partitions to another disk. If you only need to clone the system drives of the hard drive, this feature is available.

recommend Hot Article: How Can You Migrate Windows 10 to SSD without Reinstalling OS


Some Tips about Disk Cloning VS Copying VS Imaging

We have introduced you two piece of software to clone a hard drive to SSD. It is likely that many of you ask: why choose disk cloning rather than copying & pasting all data or disk imaging?

Generally speaking, hard drive cloning refers to moving all data from a hard drive to another hard disk so as to let the target disk exactly contain the same data. Unlike simple copying operation, disk cloning is a highly efficient method to copy the same files and applications, including system files, hidden and in-use files to another hard drive. Due to its feature - exact same copy, after you clone a hard drive containing an operating system to another hard drive, the target disk can be used to boot your computer as long as you remember to change the boot setting in BIOS.

But system can't boot by copying & pasting since some system files can't be copied. As for disk imaging, it is suitable for backup. If you want to boot from your new disk, you need to restore the disk image to this disk. So, this way is troublesome. (For more information about these three modes, click here.)Thus, you had better clone hard drive to SSD so that your computer can run from the SSD with a good performance.

Bottom Line

In this post, we show you what is disk cloning, why need to clone a hard drive in Windows 10/8/7, how to clone your disk to SSD with two disk cloning software and some tips about the cloning, copying, and imaging. After learning so much information about disk cloning, just choose a proper tool to have a try.

When using our software to clone HDD to SSD or another disk, if there are some questions or suggestions, we are very glad to accept them. So, please tell us by two methods, such as leaving a comment in the following zone or sending an email via support@minitool.com.