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How Do I Clone Hard Drive Windows 10 with 5-star Partition Manager


We all know that Microsoft has been firmly pushing Windows 10 for a long period of time, and the result is encouraging. By now over Windows 10 has become the 2nd largest desktop operating system, and shares over 22% market occupancy according to netmarketshare.com. Although Windows 10 still demands further improvement, there is no doubt that Windows 10 will become a big success in the near future. Since so many users are employing Windows 10, Windows 10 related issues are generating hot debate over the net. Thereinto, how to clone hard drive in Windows 10 is a heated discussion. A true example is showing here:

This is a two part question, I am currently running Windows 10, I wish to put a new SSD in my computer going from a 128gb to 240gb(minimum) I am looking for the best way to do this with Windows 10. I then wish to put the old SSD into my girlfriends PC to help hers speed up. They are both running Windows 10 and I don't know if windows 10 has built in function or whether there's easy to use software for this. Thanks in advance.
--from social.technet.microsoft.com

Have you ever got the similar experience? Do you know how to solve this issue? In this post, I will introduce in what situations do you need to clone hard drive Windows 10, and how to complete Windows 10 hard drive cloning easily and safely.

Why Do We Clone Hard Drive in Windows 10

Before we cut into the process of cloning hard drive Windows 10, I would like to share the following with you: is it necessary to clone hard drive Windows 10? Under what situations do we really need to do Windows 10 disk clone? Generally speaking, 3 aspects can make up the main reasons:

  • Cloning Windows 10 hard drive is an effective way to back up data in Windows 10, avoiding data loss if the hard drive is damaged or gets virus attack.
  • Though Windows 10 disk cloning, we can also upgrade hard drive to a larger HDD or more advanced SSD, so as to improve our computer performance.
  • What's more, for network administrators, they only have to install Windows 10 as well as some necessary programs once, then the rest bare computers can be finished by cloning that hard drive, because computers are usually purchased with the same configuration.

recommend Hot Article: This post will tell you how to clone Windows 10 hard drive to SSD.

After knowing the reasons to clone a hard drive Windows 10, it’s time to explain how to do this job. Before I put forward my own thought, it is necessary to figure out the differences between Copy and Clone, because there are users thinking Clone means Copy & Paste. However, that is not the case.

Do You Know the Difference between Copy and Clone?

So what's the difference between clone and copy? Copy means to make a same version of the files, while clone means more. Clone not only guarantees the files are exactly the same, but also guarantees the same physical location as they are in the source disk. In some cases, a file requires fixed and specified location for normal operation. Once the location of the file is changed, it won't work anymore. So generally speaking, clone is a much safer way to replicate data.

"Clone is a more reliable way than copy & paste in data protection, so clone hard drive is recommended when transferring all data to another hard drive in Windows 10."

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Having said all of the above, let's cut to the main point: how to clone a hard drive Windows 10?

recommend Hot Article: If you are a Windows 7 user, you may also interested in How to Clone Hard Drive in Windows 7?

How to Clone a Hard Drive in Windows 10 32/64 Bit

In fact, cloning a hard drive in Windows 10 is not that easy as you have thought, because Windows built-in utility won't work on this issue. Normally, users will turn to Disk Management to seek help when it comes to hard drive related issues, however, there is no feature that is designed to do this job. See what functions Disk Management provides to manage hard drives:

available features for disk management

Besides, Windows Backup and Restore can only back up files saved in libraries, on the desktop, in default Windows folder, as well as the system. That is to say, if there are other partitions storing personal files, it won’t help. Thus, we have to find another way out.

available features for backup restore

In fact, usually we use software to clone hard drives. In general, we get disk cloning software from the manufacturer of the new drive we purchase. If this is not the case, there are plenty of good partition magic to safely and efficiently clone hard drive in windows 10 free. With this in mind, MiniTool Partition Wizard is strongly recommended as it is free for home users with guaranteed functions.

1. About MiniTool Partition Wizard
Developed by MiniTool Solution Ltd, MiniTool Partition Wizard is all-in-one Windows 10 cloning software endowed with powerful functions and user-friendly interfaces to realize the usability. Thus, you probably won't have any problems in using this partition manager. Besides, this software will run on Windows 10/8/7/Vista/XP, both 32 bits and 64 bits. Moreover, MiniTool Partition Wizard Bootable CD is available for you to manage partitions when the operating system fails to boot. However, please note that this tool is generated by MiniTool Partition Wizard Paid Editions. So you need to buy this partition manager Windows 10 to get the bootable CD.

2. Preparatory work
  • Make sure the target HDD/SSD is successfully connected and recognized by your PC;
  • Make sure the storage space of the target disk is large enough to hold all the data in the source disk;
  • Make sure you have initialized the target disk to the same disk style with the source one if you are cloning the system disk;
  • Make sure the data on the target disk have been backed up because all of them will be destroyed during hard drive cloning.

3. Steps of cloning hard drive Windows 10
I will show you the detailed steps of how to clone hard drive in Windows 10 by using MiniTool Partition Wizard. Note that MiniTool Partition Wizard only works for basic disks when it comes to clone hard drives. Please follow the steps below:

Step 1. Run MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition.
On the main interface we can see all our disks connected to PC are displayed in the right pane, along with the key information. By clicking on a partition or a disk, all available features are displayed in the left pane.

partition wizard main interface

Step 2. Enter "Copy Disk Wizard" to choose the source disk and the target drive.
We can also right click the hard drive to be cloned and choose "Copy Disk" feature from the pop-up menu, thus avoiding picking up the source disk.

copy partition
select target disk

Step 3. Now choose a copy option according to your preference and click "Next" to go on.
  • Fit partitions to entire disk: this will create can copy partitions according to the ratio of the original partition sizes.
  • Copy partition without resize: when the target disk is smaller than the source disk, this option is disabled.
  • Edit partitions on this disk: we can customize each partition size by selecting this feature.
  • Force to align partitions to 1MB: this helps to improve the performance of the target hard drive if it is SSD or advanced format disk.

choose copy option

Step 4. MiniTool Partition Wizard will tell us how to boot from the destination disk. In my example, I am cloning the system disk, so I need to pay attention to this note before I click "Finish".


Step 5. Finally, click "Apply" to start cloning hard drive Windows 10. Note that Partition Wizard needs to restart computer since I am cloning the system disk. Depending on the data amount, the time it takes varies.

save change

For a more intuitive guidance, please watch this video:

"By using MiniTool Partition Wizard, I can easily and safely clone hard drive Windows 10, so I think it is worth recommending when transferring all data to another hard drive."

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FAQs towards Cloning Hard Drive Windows 10

Knowing how to clone hard drive Windows 10, I believe many users will download this free partition magic to have a try. During the process of cloning hard drive Windows 10 or after successfully cloning the hard drive, they may feel something confusing. Here are the explanations to the most frequently asked questions.

Q1: My Windows 10 won’t boot from the new cloned hard drive…

This issue is probably caused by the wrong boot disk. Remember that Partition Wizard reminded you to make sure the target disk is configured as the default boot disk? If you haven't done this, try it out.

Q2: What’s the difference between Migrate OS and Copy Disk in MiniTool Partition Wizard?

In short, "Migrate OS to SSD/HD" is extremely suitable for system migration or backup, while "Copy Disk" feature is more suitable for disk clone when you are doing disk upgrade or replacement. For more comparisons, please check the help document: Migrate OS to SSD/HD VS. Copy Disk in Partition Wizard

Q3: If I boot Windows 10 from the new drive, won’t there be two C drives?

In fact, only the system partition is C drive. That is to say, if you clone Windows 10 from Disk A to Disk B, you are able to boot Windows 10 from both Disk A and Disk B. If it is Disk A, the C drive is in Disk A; if it is Disk B, then the C drive will appear in Disk B. Please refresh the disk layout in Partition Wizard to have a check.

I can show you a true example to see what the target disk looks like after the cloning:

Booting from the source disk (Disk 1), we can see the target disk (Disk 3) has the similar disk layout with the source disk (because I choose "Fit partitions with entire disk" ). Besides, partitions on the cloned disk are allocated with drive letters automatically.

boot source disk

Booting from the target disk (Disk 3), we can see the drive letters of the two disks are interconverted, there is only one C drive, which is the current OS partition.

boot target disk

Q4: I noticed that there is a feature named "Copy Partition", can I use it to clone the only partition I want, such as the system partition?

The answer is NEGATIVE. In recent Windows OS, BOOTMGR is used as system boot manager and must work with BCD (Boot Configuration Data) to boot Windows. When using "Copy Partition" to clone system, the BCD file and the DS information of the source disk are also copied. However, the target disk has a different DS, which is inconsistent with the copied DS recorded in BCD. Thus, BOOTMGR cannot locate the Windows system files to load system on target disk. As a result, Windows won't boot from the cloned system partition.

However, users can employ "Copy Disk" and "Migrate OS to HD/SSD Wizard" features to successfully clone operating system, because both features adopt sector-by-sector copy. Thus, the target disk has exactly the same data copy with the source disk. In this case, DS of the target drive is accord with BCD and can be identified by BOOTMGR. Finally the clone system is bootable. For more detailed explanation, please read Why Windows Won’t Boot from the Cloned System Partition?


Here comes to the end of this post. In this article, I mainly tell the popularity of Windows, the necessity of cloning Windows 10 and how to clone Windows 10 hard drives. In a word, you can use the best cloning software for Windows 10 - MiniTool Partition Wizard Free Edition to help you because it is flexible, reliable and easy to use. For any questions towards using MiniTool Partition Wizard or suggestions of improving MiniTool Partition Wizard, welcome to leave us comments in the comment area or send us email via [email protected]. Thanks in advance!