Why should you clone hard drive in Windows 7?
Cloning a hard drive means to make an exact copy the drive including installed operating system (OS) and other contents. Actually, cloning Windows 7 hard drive serves a lot of purposes, and it is not hard. This article will break it down step by step.
Insufficient disk space, upgrade to a large one
Everyone knows that the space of a hard disk in Windows 7 is unchangeable, but the stored data on it may increase day by day. Therefore with time goes by, your Windows 7 may be in low disk space.
If this problem can’t be solved as soon as possible, your system might crash when free space in Windows 7 hard disk is extremely slow. If you do not want to delete much stuff saved on your computer, you can upgrade your Windows 7 hard drive with a large one without reinstalling Windows or installed programs.
Low performance, upgrade to a solid-state drive (SSD)
With high demands for fast speed, most of the users will choose to upgrade the present hard drive to SSD. Actually, it is considered as the best upgrade for old PCs that can be easily achieved. Unlike any other parts of the computer hardware, hard drive is easy to take out and replace.
In case of system issues, clone hard drive as a backup
There are many factors that can cause system problems, like ransomware, virus, and accidental deletion of crucial files. Moreover, any hard disk drive (HDD) or SSD has a limited lifespan. It will eventually wear out, so it is recommended to clone the hard drive as a backup to protect your data.
Install system by cloning the hard drive
Some companies or organizations may need a lot of computers with identical hardware and system configurations. If that is your case, you can install and configure one computer, clone to multiple hard drives and then install the cloned hard drive to all the computers.
What should you prepare?
1. A working computer and the hard drive needs cloning.
2. A new hard drive or SSD. It does not need to be larger than the original one, but it should be enough to hold all the data saved in the current hard drive.
3. Cables or adapter to connect the new HDD or SSD. For a desktop, you need a power cable and data cable to connect the new drive in your computer as a secondary drive. For a laptop, you need an SATA-to-USB adapter to connect the new drive externally.
Some laptops have a second drive bay or SSD slot that can also be used to connect your destination disk. You can also connect the other drive via an adapter in your desktop and then install the cloned drive on your computer.
If you do not have the device to connect your new drive, there is a workaround to clone hard drive with USB cable.
4. A hard drive cloning software for Windows.
Free Clone software for Windows 7
For cloning hard drive, you may have many concerns. Such as, will the cloned hard drive or SSD be bootable? Will the recovery partition be cloned? Can I clone the large hard drive to Smaller SSD? Can I clone dynamic disk? Will I be able to clone MBR to GPT drive?
Is there one single tool to get all these covered? That is when AOMEI Backupper Standard comes into play, and it is free.
When cloning Windows 7 hard drive, AOMEI Backupper will clone all the partitions on the hard drive including system drive, recovery partition, system reserved partition and EFI system partition if existed on the source disk.
By default, this freeware will clone the partitions as it is without changing the partition size, and you can manually change partitions size during the clone. When it detects the destination disk is smaller than the original disk, it will automatically resize partitions to fit on the cloned drive.
For cloning GPT disk to MBR disk, it will automatically create a system reserved partition to ensure the cloned drive bootable. When you try to boot the cloned MBR disk, you need to make sure the Legacy boot mode is enabled.
For cloning dynamic disk, it allows you to select dynamic volume as a workaround.
Detailed steps for cloning hard drive in Windows 7
After you connect the new drive to your Windows 7 computer, you can follow the steps below to start cloning Windows 7 hard drive to SSD. By the way, AOMEI Backupper also supports Windows 8/8.1, and Windows 10.
Step1: Download AOMEI Backuper Standard, install and open it. click Clone in the interface and then choose Disk Clone.
Step2: In the pop-up window, select a disk that you plan to clone as source disk (here is Disk 0) and click Next to go on.
Step3: Choose a disk as destination disk (here is Disk 1) and then click Next to continue.
Step4: Click Start Clone, then the operation will begin.
- "Edit partitions on the destination disk" enables you to resize the destination disk depending on their own requirement.
- Sector by sector clone will copy all the space source no matter you have used or not and it will take longer time.
- Align partition to optimize for SSD can improve the performance of SSD, so if the destination disk is SSD, we suggest you tick this option.
AOMEI Backupper Standard can clone hard drive Windows 7 to SSD or HDD, but may be some users only plan to migrate Windows 7 to SSD or HDD. If that is your case, you can also use this free software to clone Windows 7 to SSD or HDD.