SSDs are faster and more reliable successors to traditional HDDs. However, making transitions from the hard drives to the SSDs can be difficult. Drive Cloning is what makes the transition process seamless. It basically replicates the entire Hard drive (or some partitions) on the SSD.
Aside from upgrading to SSDs, drive cloning can be used to create a backup drive or for storage expansion. Cloning if performed correctly will copy the entire contents in the hard drive to a secondary drive while still maintaining the data structures.
Preparations before Cloning a Hard Drive to SSD
- Create a Backup of all the files that are on the Hard drive before you attempt cloning. There are possibilities where you may lose the data if the process is not carried out correctly.
- Make sure that the SSD has a higher storage size than the hard drive.
- Ensure that both source and destination drives i.e. The Hard drive and the SSD are connected properly to your computer and functioning well.
- Check both the HDD and SDD for any logical errors in them. Bad disk sectors can cause the cloning process to not complete as intended. It is advised to use a
CHKDSK /rscan on both drives before you proceed with cloning.
- Use a good Drive cloning software. There are many paid third-party alternatives that come at a cost. In this article, we are going to use CloneZilla which is a free and open-source drive cloning solution. Although a bit complex to use, Clonezilla is very efficient in imaging and deployment of the system image.
- Also verify if the drive cloning software you are using can clone an encrypted drive.
Prepare a USB drive with Clonezilla Live
Unlike other cloning softwares, Clonezilla cannot be installed and used directly over an Operating system. You have to prepare a bootable USB drive using the Clonezilla ISO file and run it by making an adjustment in the BIOS.
- Download the Clonezilla Live ISO file.
- Download and then Install Rufus.
- Now connect the USB drive to the computer. Ensure that the USB drive is empty or the contents inside it are backed up.
- Open the Rufus software.
- Select the USB drive from the Device section.
- In the Boot selection drop-down, choose the Disk or ISO image.
- Click on the Select button and locate the CloneZilla Live ISO file.
- Click on the Start button.
- Choose the Write in ISO image mode (Recommended) option and click on OK.
Boot using the USB Drive
After you have created a Clonezilla Live USB drive, you will need to change the boot priority from the default boot manager to the Clonezilla live USB. This will enable the live disk to load the system and perform operations through the disk.
- Restart the computer. During the initial screen during the bootup, press the dedicated BIOS key.
- If prompted, choose to enter the BIOS setup.
- Navigate to the Boot tab.
- In the Boot priority section, you will see the list of system devices.
- Move the USB drive to the top of the priority list using the keys on your keyboard.
- Save the changes and exit.
- You will now get booted into the CloneZilla Live USB drive.
Clonezilla Live is basically an operating system based on GNU/Linux distribution. After you boot into the Clonezilla live USB, the OS loads up giving you plenty of drive cloning options.
- Once you boot into the CloneZilla Live USB, select the option CloneZilla Live (default settings).
- Choose the Language and keyboard configuration.
- Select Start Clonezilla.
- Now, navigate using the keys on your keyboard and select the option device-device.
- Choose Beginner mode.
- To clone the entire disk, select the option disk to local disk.
- If you want to clone just one partition of the HDD into the SDD, you can select the part_to_local_part option as well.
- Now, you have to select the Source local drive which is the Hard drive in our case. Carefully select the hard drive. A wrong selection may result in data loss.
- Then choose the Destination SSD drive.
- Select sfsck.
- Choose the option Choose reboot/shutdown/etc when everything is finished.
- Follow the prompts and wait for the process to complete. The time taken will vary on the size of the HDD that is to be cloned.
Once the process gets completed change the boot priority to the destination disk (SSD) and see if you can boot into Windows.