Let’s face it, one day your PC or laptop will fall short of storage space. You will either add another hard drive or replace the existing one with a higher capacity hard drive. Adding another hard drive is easy, just connect, do partition and format it. But upgrading your primary hard drive is pain. It requires you to back-up all your data, partition a new drive, install the operating system and all the software, and then restore the data back again. You’ll also need to set up software such as email clients, IM clients, hardware drivers and everything else you need.
But there is a way to avoid all those troubles. Well, you can just clone it. Cloning your hard drive will help you to avoid the entire re-installation process. AOMEI Backupper is the utility which helps you to do this. It is free and therefore does not need any registration.
Here are the steps :-
- Download and install AOMEI Backupper from www.aomeitech.com. It’s around 45-55 MB. Before you do anything, do note the volume names and partition sizes of your current hard disk. This will ensure you don’t run into accidental data loss by selecting the wrong drives and partitions. Check the information in ‘My Computer’ as well as in ‘Disk Management’. You can access the ‘Disk Management’ console by right-clicking on ‘My Computer’, selecting ‘Manage’. You’ll find it under the ‘Computer management’ option.
For illustration purposes, we will take a primary 500GB hard drive that was split into two volumes of 125GB and 330GB. Then we choose a 1TB HDD as the upgrade. The new hard drive has not been partitioned, but has just been connected to the PC.
- After installing AOMEI Backupper, open it and click on the “Clone” button on the left. The next screen will inform you about the existing partitions just like Windows’s ‘Disk Management’. Here, you will see that ‘Disk 2’ is installed, which is the 1TB hard drive. Note down the drives on your system carefully on a piece of paper and proceed.
- Next you will asked to choose the source disk; in this case it is ‘disk0’, which is the primary hard drive (500 GB). Click on ‘Next’ and choose the destination disk (Disk 2). At the bottom, you will see two options for cloning: “Sector by sector clone” and “Partition editing”. If both the drives are identical in size and model number, you can choose to clone it by the sector.
However, if you’re upgrading to a higher capacity hard drive, you will need to partition with the partition editor. Therefore click on “Partition Editing”.
You will be given three choices here, which are:
- Clone the entire drive with the exact partition sizes and leave the remaining free space as it is.
- Fit all the existing partitions of the source disk to the destination disk with appropriate and proportional values.
- Edit the partition yourself so you can choose the volume sizes as per your choice.
You can choose any one of the options you want. But it is advisable to choose option 1, as it is the safest. Editing the partitions yourself would be the best course of action to take, as you have control over how much space you want to allocate to each of the drive’s partitions.
- Once you have made your decision, and chose one of the three options, click “OK”. On the next screen, hit the “Start Clone” button to begin the process.
THE CLONING PROCESS
The cloning process is the final stage in cloning the hard drive. AOMEI Backupper utility will begin cloning your hard drive and will take around one or two hours depending upon your system’s speed and the amount of data in your primary hard drive. Close all software running in the background, disconnect any open network connections and disable your screensaver before you begin cloning the drives. Once the cloning process is complete, click on the “Finish” button and shut down your PC. Disconnect all wires, disconnect the older primary hard drive and replace it with the new one.
If everything goes well, you will find everything as it was, except for the extra drive space. If not, load the older drive again and go through the entire process. AOMEI Backupper can be safely used with PCs running Windows XP or higher.