How to clone a hard drive in MacOS and Windows

Our PCs contain so many valuable files that a crash is catastrophic. They house our family photographs, our homework, digital art, work reports and more. Losing all those hours of work and priceless memories is heartbreaking and heartbreaking, to say the least.

Cloning your PC disk is an easy way to preserve all those essential files. You can create copies of all your files and clone your operating system, software, and more. It is a good restoration plan for when your PC’s original drive begins to fail, as data recovery software may not be helpful. It’s also a great way to upgrade from a hard drive to a solid state drive without having to start over.

Here are the steps you need to follow to clone a hard drive in Windows 10 or MacOS.

How to clone a hard drive in Windows 10

Part 1: Download Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition

Grab Macrium Reflect 7 from the official website. While there are many great cloning apps that you can get, this is our current favorite. It has everything you need to clone a drive for home or business, and it costs you nothing but time.

Macrium provides a separate download file so you don’t install pirated software. Once the installer is on your PC, locate and install it like any other desktop program. Then it will safely take everything you need from Macrium and install a legitimate copy of Reflect 7 on your PC.

Part 2: Prepare Your Drives

Your “source” is the drive you want to clone, the one that is usually already installed inside your PC. Its “destination” is the drive where the clone will reside, the one that will replace the installed drive.

Step 1: Make sure both drives are connected to your PC and recognized by Windows. You can connect them internally or externally, or a combination of both. For example, if you are cloning a laptop drive, your target drive will connect via an external USB-based adapter.

Step 2: Open Macrium Reflect 7. The home page displays a collection of all drives connected to your PC and their respective partitions. Make sure Reflect 7 lists both units before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Make sure the destination drive has enough space. It requires more free space than its source drive to receive all new information. If not, you can use native Windows cleanup tools or those provided by third-party developers.

You can learn more about how to free up system space with our guide on how to clean your bloated hard drive in Windows 10.

Part 3: manage partitions

Now we have to take care of the partitions before cloning the source drive.

Step 1: Select the Source unit.

Step 2: Click on the blue Clone this disk link that appears below the unit in the main window. This opens the Clone Wizard window.

Step 3: Click on the Select a disk to clone link.

Stage 4: In the pop-up window, select your Target disk in a list of units.

Note: Reflect 7 will erase all existing data on the destination disk, so be sure to back up the information before proceeding.

Step 5: Uncheck the boxes next to any partitions on the source drive that you do not want to clone. However, if you are making an exact clone, leave it alone.

Step 6: Click on the Copy selected partitions link when ready to clone.

Note: You can manually delete existing partitions, but it is not necessary.

Alternatively, you can drag and drop specific partitions that you want to clone onto the new drive. If you are not sure, just clone all partitions and then find out what you don’t need.

Step 7: Increase the size of the primary partition if you are moving to a larger drive so that you can take advantage of the additional space. Just select the largest partition on your source drive (usually C 🙂 and select Cloned partition properties.

Step 8: On the next screen, select the box that says Maximum size.

Step 9: Click OK.

Part 4: start the cloning process

Once you’re ready to go, double-check everything one more time, it never hurts. When you are doubly sure that everything is ready, select End up and so OK to start the cloning process.

Depending on the size, speed, and usage of your drives, this process can take a long time. When finished, your new unit should be as functional as the old one.

How to clone your hard drive on MacOS

Cloning a hard drive in MacOS is a bit easier than Windows because you can use its built-in Disk Utility tool to perform the same function. However, there are many third-party alternatives, such as the popular Carbon Copy Cloner, but Disk Utility does the job well. You don’t need the latest version of MacOS, but it’s never a bad idea to keep your Mac up to date.

Generally, the instructions include booting into recovery mode and using the Disk Utility tool there. This is where you normally use external media to restore everything to an internal replacement drive. It is also used to repair the operating system. Obviously, you cannot perform these tasks within macOS.

However, you may clone your main drive to an attached external drive without starting recovery mode. Disk Utility copies everything from the source drive to make it bootable.

Note: If you are running a beta version of Big Sur, you might encounter a “broken seal” error. You may have to resort to Carbon Copy Cloner until Apple solves the problem.

Part 1: Open Disk Utility

MacOS Disk Utility Restore Drive

Your “source” is the drive you want to clone. Its “destination” is the drive where the clone will reside. Make sure both are connected to your PC and recognized by the system. You can connect them internally or externally, or a combination of both.

Step 1: With Finder selected, click Let’s go in the menu bar followed by Utilities in the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Double click to open Disk utility.

All units should appear on the left. The volume of the source should be read as Macintosh HD or OS X below Internal. Your destiny drive will probably sink External if it is connected to a USB port. However, let’s make sure everything is visible.

Step 3: Click See in the menu bar.

Stage 4: Please select Show all devices in the drop-down menu.

Part 2: select the units

Note that, at least in Big Sur, you must select the Volume or Divide, not the disk itself. Selecting the destination drive causes the restore process to fail.

Step 1: Select the Target volume or Drive listed on the left. In our example, it is the External unit volume on our connected Seagate SSD.

Step 2: Click on the Restore button.

Step 3: In the pop-up window, select your Fountain volume or Drive in the field next to Restore from. In this case, the tool automatically chose Macintosh HD.

Part 4: start the cloning process

Before you begin, make sure that you have correctly selected the correct final destination drive and source drive. Make sure the destination drive and the source drive are not in the reversed positions.

Click on the Restore after you have confirmed, and then the cloning process will start. Depending on the size and speed of the drive, you may need to let it run and wait a bit.

Once the cloning process is complete, you can use your computer, just like you did before.

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