Best Way to Clone Windows to External Hard Drive

Posted by @Eileen

October 23, 2018

Cloning Windows to external hard drive is a good way to avoid reinstallation. The powerful software will help you clone Windows to external hard drive easily.

The importance of cloning Windows to an external hard drive

It is necessary to clone Windows to external hard drives in our daily life. Have you ever been in this situation where your computer is old and you need to replace it with a new one? It takes a long time to reinstall Windows on the new computer. Some non-professionals don’t even know how to reinstall the system. Then, cloning Windows to an external hard drive as portable Windows can be the best solution.

In addition to the situation mentioned above, you will encounter many situations that require copying Windows to an external hard drive. There are three main aspects as below.

  • Cloning the operating system to an external hard drive as a backup. Users usually copy their OS to an external hard drive in case some bad things happen like: system crash, virus attack, human error, etc.

  • Hard drive upgrade. If you have Windows 10 installed on your PC, you may need to clone Windows 10 to HDD for a big capacity or you want to clone OS to SSD for a good performance.

  • Convenient to carry. Most users prefer to clone Windows to USB or CD/DVD because of their light weight. Therefore, you can carry the portable Windows easily.

Copying Windows with the best cloning software – easy and safe

Copying OS to an external hard drive might be a tricky thing for some non-professionals. Thus, a reliable cloning software can be a good choice. AOMEI Backupper Professional, the best cloning software, runs smoothly on Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and XP. This software is totally safe. You can install the software without any plug-ins or programs. Other features like backup system, backup files, restore files are also available for this power tool. This user-friendly software has an intuitional interface. Easy steps meet the needs of users. There is a quick guide for your reference as below.

Detailed steps of transferring Windows to an external hard drive

Before transferring, you must connect the external hard drive with your PC. After moving, the external hard drive will be overwritten. If you have some important data on the external hard drive, you must backup them in advance.

Step 1. Download, install and open this software. Select Clone from the left list. Then click System Clone.

System Clone

Step 2. The required system partition is selected by default. Select the external hard drive (Disk 2) as the new location. Then click Next.

Select New Location

Step 3. At this interface you can have an Operation Summary. If all things are right, you can click Start Clone.

Click Start Clone

Step 4. After cloning, you can get your external hard drive out.


  •  Sector by sector clone means the software will clone all sectors. So, it takes a longer time for cloning. You must ensure that the external hard drive is equal to or larger than the space of the system.

  • You can enter into BIOS and set the external hard drive as the first boot disk. By the way, the original drive will not be wiped out. You can use the old drive as a backup or a secondary storage.

  • If the external hard drive is a solid state disk, you can click Align partition to optimize for SSD in Step 3 to accelerate the writing and reading speed of the SSD.


It is not hard to clone Windows to external hard drive, isn’t it? Whether you want to clone Windows XP to external hard drive or migrate OS to SSD in Windows 10, you can achieve your goals easily with the best cloning software - AOMEI Backupper Professional. Besides, the cloning process will not interrupt your work, so you can still use your PC to do other things while copying.

This powerful software provides users with many practical functions like: bootable clone for Windows 10, clone Windows 7 partition to the same drive, clone HDD to SSHD in Windows 10/8/7, backup Windows 8/8.1 operating system, restore Windows 10 system image backup, etc. You also can use the free version - AOMEI Backupper Standard to clone disk or clone partition.