How to Clone Larger Drive to Smaller Drive Successfully?

Posted by @Teresa

November 20, 2018

This post presents how to clone larger drive to smaller drive say smaller SSD with the help of free disk cloning software in clicks. Let’s take a closer look.

Need to clone larger drive to smaller drive

"I need to clone my 1TB hard drive to a 500GB SSD to gain better performance, and the 1TB one is only using around 250GB 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 hard drive is sounding like it is 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 want to clone larger drive to smaller SSD drive especially when SSD is becoming popular among computer users. It could be counted as a wise move to clone boot drive to SSD only and make old HDD as secondary storage device due to SSD’s property. Anyway, to clone larger hard drive to smaller, you need to find a suitable solution.

Best way to clone bigger 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. Cloning is still a missing feature in Windows backup utility. There is no doubt that you have to turn to 3rd party software. 

However, 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 all 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 to target disk with Intelligent Clone option as long as the used part fits the drive. 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 free download this software and clone larger hard drive to smaller hard drive now.

Download Freeware

How to clone larger hard drive to smaller SSD step by step?

Step 1. Connect the smaller drive to your PC. Install and launch AOMEI Backupper Standard. Click Clone and then choose Disk Clone.

Disk Clone

Step 2. Choose the larger drive as the source disk.

Source Disk

Step 3. Choose the smaller SSD drive as the destination disk.

Destination Disk

Step 4. This operation uses Intelligent Clone by default. Tick Align partition to optimize for SSD since the target disk is an SSD. Finally, clicking Start Clone is enough.

Start Clone

Step 5. (Optional) Replace larger drive with the smaller SSD if you cloned system disk before. Also, you can change boot priority to cloned disk in BIOS only to boot from the new drive.


  • 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 Edit partitions on the destination disk, please upgrade to advanced version.

  • This function, Align partition to optimize for SSD, will improve reading and writing speed of SSD as well as prolong its service life.

  • To clone larger partition to smaller drive, choose Partition Clone instead.

  • AOMEI Backupper Server Edition helps you clone larger drive to smaller drive in Server 2016/2012 (R2)/2011/2008 (R2)/2003.


Only 4 or 5 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 clone SSD to HDD in Windows 10, back up hard drive without booting Windows, transfer everything from C drive to SSD, create bootable Win PE & Linux media, etc.