Cloning a Hard Drive on Windows and Mac


Storing your information on a hard drive is considered one of the safest options out there. To take it a step further, many also clone their hard drive. This creates a copy of all the data stored, keeping your information secure. In this article, we will discuss how to clone a hard drive, the process, and why it is recommended. By the time you’re done reading, you should be more confident in the process of cloning.

What Is Drive Cloning?

Before we get into the specific process of cloning, let’s talk about what it is.

Drive cloning is creating an exact copy of a hard drive on another drive. It requires two hard drives: a primary hard disk that has the data, and a secondary drive where all the data is copied to. The process copies all the contents as they are. The copied data can be used and edited almost immediately and it can even replace the original drive if necessary!

Hard drive cloning is quite different from just backing up files. When you back up files, it stores either your entire information or a part of it in a selected location. The data is stored as a file that can be encrypted or protected by a password, which is usually enough to secure your files.

DID YOU KNOW? Many people often confuse cloning a hard drive with simply wiping the hard drive. Wiping removes all the data while cloning copies it from one drive to another.

What to Do Before the Cloning Process

There are a few things you should keep in mind if you’re asking, “How do I clone a hard drive?”. Preparing for the cloning process will help you understand what you’re doing, and complete it more easily.

  • Prepare a New Drive

The first thing you need to do is prepare your new hard drive for the data to be stored in. This can either be a separate external drive or a built-in secondary drive on your device. You should also pay close attention and check if both drives are able to connect with each other. This can be done by using an IDE/SATA adapter.

  • Erase All the Things You Don’t Need

The best way to clone a hard drive is to only copy the data you need. This gives you a chance to delete any items you may not need and clear up space on your drive. It will also ensure that you save all the important information and increase the speed of your computer.

  • Double-Check the Capacities of the Drive

You must also make sure that the drive capacity of the new drive is larger than the source drive. This will make sure that you can transfer all the data and also leave disk space for more.

  • Double-Check if the New Drive Is Formatted

Another thing to pay attention to while doing hard drive migration is to double-check that the new drive is formatted correctly. This will ease the process of cloning altogether.

  • Think About Using Drive Cloning Software

A drive cloning software will make the process very easy for you, as it will remove all the technical manual work. Your drive would be copied and the software would automatically create a clone drive.

DID YOU KNOW? Drive cloning software and drive wiping software have two different purposes. Drive cloning is for copying, while drive wiping is for deleting; Choose your software carefully or else you may end up wiping your entire hard drive!

Why Should Someone Clone Their Drive?

Now that we’ve looked at some of the steps you should take before cloning your hard drive, here are a few reasons why you should know how to clone an HDD.

Using a Clone Drive for Testing

Do you love experimenting with different apps and software? It comes with a risk, as not all of them are secure. A clone hard drive will allow you to use it for testing without worrying that your data will be erased. What’s more, you can omit confidential information from being copied to the secondary drive altogether!

System Migration

It can become difficult to switch systems if you’ve bought a new device. It requires hours of work of reinstalling applications, remembering your passwords, and setting up the new device. Instead, you can easily do everything within a few minutes by using disk cloning software to create a copy of the drive.


Finally, creating a clone of your drive is a good backup option, as you can store all your information off-site. Even if your device stops working or there is a virus attack, you can be sure that all your information is quite safe in a carbon copy of your drive.

DID YOU KNOW? There is no restriction as to how many clones drives you can create. If you wish to create a second backup, go ahead and create two clones of your drive!

Key Takeaways

Cloning a hard drive is the process of creating an exact copy of your drive. It duplicates all the data as it is, giving you a carbon copy of your drive.
Before you begin the cloning process, you must prepare the new drive and erase the things you don’t need. You can get help from hard drive cloning software for this.
You must also check the storage of both drives and if the new drive is formatted correctly.
People clone their drives for testing, as a backup, and for ease in system migration.

How to Clone a Drive

Now that we’ve discussed everything you need to consider and do before cloning, let’s take a look at the actual process. It should be noted that the cloning process is quite different for Windows and Mac users as their operating systems don’t work the same way.

How to Clone a Hard Drive on Windows

The first thing to do is to choose a cloning tool. There are several available on the market and you can easily do your research to choose the right one for you. However, in this guide, we will use Macrium Reflect as it is one of the easiest tools out there to master.

  1. Plugin the secondary hard drive into your Windows device.
  2. Launch Macrium Reflect.
  3. Take a look at the upper part of the screen that displays all the connected drives in the hard drive cloner. You will see the internal hard disks in partitions. If you have a 500GB SSD, it will probably be divided into four parts. You can unclick the files in the checkbox you don’t want to copy.
  4. Click ‘Clone this disk’.
  5. Select the destination disk or the disk you wish to clone to.
  6. Click on ‘Delete existing partition’ if your drive isn’t formatted.
  7. Start the cloning process! It might take a while if you have a lot of files.

Cloning a Hard Drive on macOS

If you have a Mac, you can use SuperDuper to clone your hard drive; It is free and very easy to use. Here are the steps you must follow if you wish to clone a drive on Mac using SuperDuper:

  1. Plug the hard drive into your Mac using a USB.
  2. Install SuperDuper and permit it to access all your files. Don’t worry – this is only because you want to clone the entire drive.
  3. SuperDuper will launch a System Preferences app. Click on the lock and type your password.
  4. Click on +, browse through all your apps, and select SuperDuper. Now we’re getting close to answering the question of “How do I clone a hard drive?” on a Mac.
  5. Launch SuperDuper.
  6. Select the target drive you wish to duplicate data to.
  7. Call your friends over or go watch a movie as the entire cloning process will take a few hours!
  8. Once copied, you can boot from the destination or cloned disk. Hold down the options key while your Mac is starting up and select the other disk. You can take this cloned drive, connect it to another Mac, and start working on it!


Many people wonder how to copy a hard drive easily. The process is quite simple and just requires a separate hard drive. You can use Macrium Reflect if you’re a Windows user and SuperDuper if you have macOS. The process takes a few hours, but once completed, you can be sure that it is the exact copy of your original drive.


Does cloning a hard drive copy the OS?

Yes! A cloned drive is the exact copy of your original drive and copies everything, including the OS.

Can Windows 10 clone a hard drive?

Yes, Windows 10 can clone a hard drive.

How long does it take to clone a hard drive to an SSD?

Once you master how to clone a hard drive, the process can take anywhere between 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the size of your hard drive and data.

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