What makes the best HDD cloning software?
Hard drive cloning becomes more and more popularization since an increasing number of computer users prefer to DIY hard drive upgrading instead of purchasing new computer and have acquired some basic skills of disk cloning. Therefore, finding a powerful yet free hard drive cloning tool for Windows is an urgent issue.
Well, what features should a “best” disk cloning software include? In general, to ensure a successful hard drive cloning, these features are necessary.
Professional. It should professional enough to clone selected disk entirely. If some boot related drives are not cloned during the progress, the cloned drive won’t boot trouble would emerge.
Reliable. You don’t want to use a cloning program which may get stuck or meltdown during cloning process. One of similar situations is Samsung Data Migration not responding or stuck at 99% in the event of cloning hard drive to SSD.
Easy-to-use. Since most users are not tech savvy, the cloning operation should be easy to follow on a lucid and user-friendly interface. It would be better when the steps are as easy as ABC.
Full featured. Hard drive cloning is not an isolate operation because you may need to clone larger drive to smaller drive or fulfill unallocated space on a larger destination disk in some cases. Or, some users just want to clone one or two partitions on the disk.
Bootable rescue solution. This feature plays an important role in cloning failing hard drive. With bootable media, one can clone or backup hard drive without booting Windows. As a result, a dedicated disk cloning software should involve such function.
Surely, users put emphasis on different features under different circumstances. However, where is the free yet comprehensive HDD cloning software? Find the answer below.
Free HDD cloning software download for Windows PCs
Fortunately, we found a reliable hard drive cloning tool for Windows here – AOMEI Backupper Standard. It is all-in-one backup & cloning software designs for Windows operating systems especially. The software has thousands of users all over the world and earns its own reputation due to easy clone and fast backup.
AOMEI Backupper Standard contains all properties mentioned above and provides an alternative way for data migration. In the aspect of cloning, it provides Disk Clone and Partition Clone for free. In Disk Clone, you can choose to clone only used space or sector by sector clone in different conditions.
More important, many users clone hard drive to SSD to gain better experience currently. This free hard drive cloning utility has the technology, by checking Align partitions to optimize for SSD option, to improve SSD’s performance and prolong its lifespan during cloning.
AOMEI Backupper Standard helps clone disk in Windows 10, 8.1/8, 7, XP and Vista (32 bit and 64 bit), works perfect on both GPT and MBR partition style. Free download it to have a try. Following comes a step-by-step guide on how to use the free HDD to SSD cloning software.
How to clone hard drive via free HDD cloning software in Windows?
In the first place, install or connect target disk to your computer. You may need an SATA-to-USB cable on a laptop that has only one disk bay. Then, follow these steps.
1. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper Standard. Choose Clone and then click Disk Clone.
2. Select current hard drive as the source disk.
3. Select the smaller SSD as the destination disk.
4. Check Align partition to optimize for SSD box will do 4K partition alignment during the cloning process on SSD. Click Start Clone after configuration.
5. Now, shut down your computer and replace HDD with cloned SSD. Then boot from your cloned SSD.
- By default, AOMEI Backupper will clone only used part. You can edit partitions on SSD to resize them. However, if you check Sector by sector clone box, it won’t allow you to edit any more.
- It is fine if the hard drive is damaged a little because AOMEI Backupper will clone hard drive with bad sectors as long as you do not perform sector clone.
If you want to replace hard drive with SSD on laptop, it is recommended to complete it through backup and restore method to ensure the success. In desktop, after you reformat the hard drive, you can keep it as the secondary storage.
AOMEI Backupper Standard is also bootable HDD cloning software free to use. Go Utilities > Create Bootable Media to do disk cloning without booting Windows.
System Clone is only available in AOMEI Backupper Professional. Upgrade if the need ever arises.
Alternative way for HDD data migration in Windows
As covered before, AOMEI Backupper Standard also provides another way to do data migration, i.e. Backup & Restore. It is for users who have no connection cable or do not want to perform a direct disk to disk clone. Here is a quick guide. For detailed information, please refer to SONY laptop hard drive upgrade.
Part 1. Create a disk image for your hard drive. You may like to save the image to a place where can be accessed from WinPE mode.
Part 2. Create a bootable USB drive or CD/DVD disc with WinPE boot OS. 13 GB in size is required.
Part 3. Replace hard drive with new disk. Boot computer from the bootable media and AOMEI Backupper Standard will be logged. Click Restore to perform image restoring.
Part 4. Remove bootable media on completion. Restart computer from the new drive.
Tips: if you want to restore image that contains operating system to a new computer, for example, backup Windows 7 and restore on another computer, check out the Dissimilar Hardware Restore feature in AOMEI Backupper Professional edition.
AOMEI Backupper Standard completely deserves the distinction of best free HDD cloning software for Windows based computer. Complicated cloning processes could be done within a few steps. It is also the best SSD cloning software.
Other than various cloning features, AOMEI Backupper Standard is also a good backup solution for personal users. For example, you can automatically backup Windows 10 to external hard drive for disaster recovery as well as backup hard drive without booting Windows with its create bootable media capability in Utilities.
If you want more advanced features like backup storage management, command line backup/restore/clone, real-time file sync, etc, please turn to higher editions.