How to Clone a Hard drive

Written by Ankit

Last updated Jan 22, 2022

Do you want to make a replica of your hard drive but aren’t sure how to do it? If you’re thinking of making a backup of all your files, keep in mind that Backup is not the same as disc cloning. Disk cloning is a technique that copies your settings, data, and the operating system itself. You can directly insert the cloned disc into any machine and begin working normally.

On the other hand, Backup allows you to back up a single file, many files, or everything on the system. It can be done with both built-in Windows tools and transferred to an external drive or the cloud, but you can’t just insert a backup disc and start functioning normally; you’ll need an operating system first.

There are a variety of reasons to do disc cloning: perhaps you’re upgrading your computer but don’t want to start over, or you’re switching from HDD to SDD because SDD is faster and more efficient with read and write operations, or you simply want to keep a copy in case of an emergency, such as a system failure caused by malware or virus. Whatever your reason, this article will take you step-by-step through the disc cloning process.

If you are looking for a hard drive, check out our other article on the 7 best hard drives for gaming and other use. Or, if you want to figure out what the difference is between a solid state drive (SSD) and a hard disk drive (HDD) is, check out this article – SSD vs HDD – What’s the difference? 

Let’s get to cloning a hard drive!

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Requirements before Cloning:

Below are some requirements before you begin the disk cloning process. It involves some equipments that you must have since you’re doing it all on your own.

#1 Secondary Hard Drive

To build a clone of your original, you’ll obviously need a secondary drive.

Depending on your needs, you can acquire an SSD or an HDD, but make sure the secondary drive has more storage capacity than the primary drive.

If you’re going to connect your secondary drive externally, you’ll need a USB to IDE/SATA converter. If your computer allows you to install two drives at once, you can install your secondary drive first and then begin disc cloning. This will significantly improve your cloning performance. A steady power supply is also required because the copying process can take many hours, depending on the amount of data on the source disc.

#2 Download Cloning Utility

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Windows doesn’t have a built-in tool for disk cloning. So you’ll have to use any third-party disk cloner for this tutorial. We will be using Macrium reflect. It is one of the best software for disk cloning with amazing features such as incremental cloning, regular backups, and much more.

It is powerful yet easy to use and comes in different price ranges. However, you may use it free of cost. Download Marcium reflect from its official website and follow the installation wizard to install it safely.

#3 Back up any important data to an external drive

If you plan to clone your drive and have any particularly important data on it, make a backup to an external drive first. This is critical since the cloning process will overwrite all of your original hard disc data. If something goes wrong, you don’t want to lose any of it.

How to clone the Hard Drive

Cloning a hard drive is a bit technical, but is a very simple process. Make sure you follow all the steps properly, or in case of cloning failure, you may lose some of your data.

Step 1: Launch third-party software

Because Windows lacks a cloning function, you’ll have to clone your hard disc using the third-party free cloning software like Macrium Reflect. Regular backups, schedule backups, and system cloning are just a few of the features available in the software. For a home user, the free trial version of the software should be sufficient. After you’ve downloaded the software, run it by following the on-screen instructions.

Step 2: Start the cloning process

When you start Macrium Reflect, you’ll see a list of all the discs that are attached to your computer. You must first choose your original hard drive, often known as the “Source disc. Then select the “target disc,” the drive to which you will clone. Then, in Macrium Reflect, press “Start Clone.” Depending on the size of the drives, the operation could take several hours. During the cloning procedure, your PC must have enough power to avoid any potential loss. Make sure to keep your device up until cloning is finished.

Step 3: Connect new hard drive

You must manually replace your hard disc with the newly cloned drive once the cloning process is completed. To do so, open the back of your laptop or desktop and insert the new hard drive into the slot, making sure it’s snug and connected properly. You don’t need to remove any drives if you have two disc slots; they can be utilized as backups if something goes wrong.

Step 4: Make your new drive bootable

Changing the boot priority of the hard disc is the final step in successfully cloning a hard drive. This enables your newly cloned hard disc to serve as the primary drive, with Windows and other programs loading directly from it. To modify your system’s boot priority, follow these steps: 

⦁ Restart your computer, then press the F2 key to enter BIOS.

⦁ Once the BIOS has loaded, go to the boot option and pick the new hard drive as the first boot device, then save and quit by pressing the F10 key.

⦁ You should now have a successfully cloned hard drive if you followed the steps correctly.


Hopefully, you now understand how to clone your hard drive and use it for numerous purposes. There’s no need to be concerned if you’re using a different application than Macrium reflects. Make sure your application is lightweight and has decent cloning and backup capabilities; furthermore, check the price to choose software that is inexpensive.

Again, If you are looking for a hard drive, check out our other article on the 7 best hard drives for gaming and other use. Or, if you want to figure out what the difference is between a solid state drive (SSD) and a hard disk drive (HDD) is, check out this article – SSD vs HDD – What’s the difference? 

Please let us know if you come across any additional apps that you find beneficial in the comments section below.

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