How to Clone Larger Drive to Smaller Drive Successfully?

Posted by @Teresa

September 12, 2017

Learn how to clone your larger hard disk drive (HDD) to smaller hard disk drive or SSD successfully in Windows 10/8/7 using free clone software AOMEI Backupper Standard.

Why cloning from larger drive to smaller drive?

"I need to clone my 250 GB hard drive to a 150 GB one, the 250 GB one is only using 95 GB of space so it would fit fine. Anyone knows a program that will let me clone it to a smaller one? Seems all the ones I’ve tried want it to be the same or bigger. The drive is sounding like its going to fail (lots of clicking sounds) so I figure I should do it before something bad happens."

Do you ever need to replace your old hard drive with a new but smaller one holding same reason as above? Hard drive fails and hardware updates. It is not uncommon to clone larger drive to smaller drive these days. You may clone larger drive to smaller SSD drive especially when SSD is becoming popular among computer users. Cloning boot drive to SSD only and make old HDD as secondary storage device could be counted as a wise move when considering SSD’s property. Anyway, to clone larger hard drive to smaller, you need to find a suitable solution.

The way to clone larger drive to smaller drive

Upgrading is nearly an inevitable process. However, when it comes to choose which software to clone Windows drive to smaller drive, you’ll want to make sure it has options you need to work with. Cloning is still an missing feature in Windows backup utility. There is no doubt that you have to turn to 3rd party software. When you Google clone software on the website, you may find that some of them are paid software while some of them support only clone to equal or larger size hard drive.

In order to clone larger disk to smaller disk successfully, you may want to use professional clone software AOMEI Backupper. AOMEI Backupper Standard is free for most personal Windows operating systems, like Windows 10/8/8.1/7 and Windows XP/Vista. The most important reason to choose AOMEI Backupper is it allows you to clone only used part with Intelligent Clone option as long as the used part is equal to or smaller than target drives. This operation is not asking you to shrink partition or volume before cloning. The software will take care of this using its built-in technology without user interaction. Besides, it is OK if the larger drive section is a little bit destroyed because AOMEI Backupper supports clone hard drive with bad sectors. So set your mind at ease to download this software and clone larger drive to smaller one now.

Clone to smaller drive with AOMEI Backupper

Step1. Connect the smaller drive to your PC. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper Standard. Click Clone and then choose Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

Step2. Choose the larger drive as the source disk.

Source Disk

Step3. Choose the smaller drive as the destination disk.

Destination Disk

Step4. This operation uses Intelligent Clone by default, so you don’t have to change anything. Click Start Clone is enough.

Start Clone


  • Do not check Sector by sector clone because this will clone all space on larger drive, then it will fail to clone larger drive to smaller drive.
  • To make sure OS (if any) boot from target drive, you need to either remove larger drive or change boot settings in BIOS.
  • You are allowed to resize partitions on the smaller drive by clicking Edit partitions on the destination disk.
  • If your smaller drive happens to be an SSD, it is strongly recommend you to check Align partition to optimize for SSD box. This function will improve reading and writing speed of SSD as well as prolong its service life.

Only 4 steps, you are able to clone larger drive to smaller drive relieved. Except for cloning, AOMEI Backupper actually has many other helpful features. You can backup data from corrupted hard drive, backup hard drive without booting Windows, migrate OS to smaller SSD, create bootable media, restore to dissimilar hardware, etc.