How to Clone a Hard Drive

By Techwalla Computers Editor

Using multiple computers means you may want duplicate information and programs on each. Nothing is more frustrating than sitting down to work at a computer and then realizing you don't have what you need to perform or complete tasks because it's all on another computer and you have no way to access it from your current computer. Clone a hard drive and be ready to work at any of your computers. Read on to learn how to clone a hard drive.

Step 1

Know that with cloning software, you can completely clone or copy your hard drive, or you can copy only the files and folders you need. Use cloning software as a way to back up important information also or even to switch to a bigger drive without losing anything from your current computer.

Step 2

Find cloning software at your local consumer electronics stores or via online shopping websites. Check out sites like Acronis or Clone 2.1 to buy cloning software directly online. Discover ways to clone your hard drive using free software with "Destructive Incorporated."

Step 3

Make sure your new disk is the same size or larger than your current disk, especially if you are switching to a bigger drive. Use the wizard on your new clone software, if it comes with one, for a smoother process. Discover that most cloning software allows you to clone one disk or partition to another disk/partition.

Step 4

Select the disk or partition you want to clone, which is found in what some cloning software calls "Source" (i.e., "Ghost" cloning software). Choose the new disk or partition you want to copy it to, which is found in the destination or target. Perform the cloning action and wait for the selected in the source area to copy and transfer over to the destination area. Utilize advanced features options on some cloning software to enhance cloning, such as access of external storage devices or additional command line options.

Step 5

Follow the instructions carefully that come with your cloning software since each type of cloning software runs and operates differently. Save data after your software finishes running and follow restart directions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Run antivirus and anti-spyware on your computer before cloning. Also run programs, such as "Disk Defragmenter" from "System Tools" or similar on your computer beforehand. Do the same to your destination or target drive.