There is nothing insurmountable about cloning a hard drive, even for the most discerning user. Whether you are looking to back up your data, or transfer the operating system installed on your PC’s old mechanical hard drive to an SSD, there are many reasons you might want to clone a hard drive.
In a few simple steps, you can create an exact identical copy of the contents of a disc. To do this, you will need two disks connected to your computer (the source disk, and the target or destination disk), with at least as much storage or more on the target disk as the source disk. Here’s how to do it.
1. Format the target disk
First, do a proper formatting of your new drive / SSD where you want to clone your computer’s primary drive. To do this, click on the menu Start from Windows, search Create and format hard drive partitions and launch the utility.
You should see the system disk appear there, the one currently installed in your machine, and most of the time with the letter C :, as well as the new disk, the target disk, on which you want to clone your main disk. To format it, right click on it and select Format.
If your new disc appears in black with the mention Unallocated, right click and choose to create a New single volume. Follow the steps in the wizard to generate a volume the size of the disk.
2. Download Macrium Reflect Free
Start by downloading the utility Macrium Reflect Free. This completely free tool includes a function to clone your hard drive. You will then be able to obtain a true copy, strictly similar, and bootable, of your original disc.
Be careful, however, when installing the program, a download manager will open and ask you to select a version. Choose version Free to enjoy the free version of the software and click on Download. The utility will then be downloaded and saved in the directory selected by default in the downloader.
Then choose Home when asked what type of license you want to use.
The next step will ask you to register your copy of Macrium Reflect. You can skip this step by unchecking the option.
3. Access cloning
In the main window of Macrium Reflect Free, the two disks connected to your machine (the source disk, the one installed in your PC, and the destination disk) should be automatically recognized.
Click on the button Clone this disk displayed just below your PC disk.
4. Select the source disk and the target disk
The window that appears offers you to select the source disk and the destination disk. By default, your machine’s system disk should be automatically selected.
Then choose the destination disk by clicking on Select a disk to clone to … Your blank drive should automatically add itself as the Destination drive. Then click on the button Next.
Macrium Reflect Free offers to schedule the cloning of your disk. Skip this step by clicking on Next
5. Start the disk cloning
A summary window should appear. Make sure you have selected the correct source and destination disks, take a look at the steps in the process to make sure this is right for you.
In our case, the System partition and the Recovery partition will both be cloned to the destination disk. Click on the button Finish then on okay to start the cloning process.
Then confirm by checking the box All target data will be overwritten. Confirm to proceed then clicking on keep on going.
The cloning process begins, so be patient until all the data is copied.
After all the data has been successfully duplicated on the Destination drive, Macrium Reflect should display a warning window indicating that the cloning is complete.