How to Clone the Boot Drive of Windows 10 to Another HDD/SSD

Written byLucienUpdated on Jun 09, 2023
Gerhard Chou
Approved byGerhard Chou

Table of Contents


Is there any way to clone the boot drive to another hard disk or SSD? Here are 4 solutions to clone the boot drive to aonther hdd or SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7 and make it bootable.


Why Clone the Boot Drive in Windows 11/10/8/7?

Scenario: With the increasing popularity of Windows 10, I upgraded to the Windows 10 some time ago. The overall feeling is pretty good. But after using it for a short time, the computer often crashes and has a blue screen of death. After scanning the boot disk with Disk Management, bad sectors are found. There's no way but to replace the boot disk. how to efficiently and safely clone the boot drive on my original disk to the new disk and ensure successful boot?

 Here is a list of advantages to clone the boot drive:


    Upgrade the boot disk to a larger hdd for better performance if the startup disk pops up "low disk space" warning.


    Clone the boot disk to SSD for faster reading and writing speed. It will boot faster if you upgrade the system drive to SSD.


    Replace the boot disk with a new one if the old boot disk has too many bad sectors or signals an imminent meltdown, which may cause Windows system errors and boot failure.


    Backup the boot drive to external hard drive in case of system crash.

How to Clone A Boot Drive and Make it Bootable?

Generally speaking, there are 4 methods to solve the problem if you want to replace the boot drive with a new hdd or SSD in Windows 11/10/8/7. You can choose a right bootable clone solution among them, however, the best and easiest bootable clone solution in Windows we highly recommend is to clone the boot disk with an expert-level disk cloning software - Donemax Disk Clone for Windows.

Method 1: Clone the Boot Drive with Symantec Ghost

You can choose to clone the boot disk through Symantec Ghost in Windows 10. Ghost is a disk imaging software which allows you to create a disk image of the boot drive and then restore to the new drive.

However, it needs to enter the BIOS for some settings to start the program. This method is too professional and challenging to succeed. Moreover, as it is discontinued by Symantec, it has relatively our-of-date interface and doesn't support the latest Windows OS. After the successful cloning, there may be a boot problem if you have two system partitions, so it is not recommended.

Method 2: Reinstall A New Windows OS to Make it Bootable

You can clean reinstall a new Windows 10/11 system on the new disk. This method is relatively stable and ensures the successful boot, but it takes a long time. You need to make a startup USB flash disk first and then change the disk startup order. Meanwhile you need to reinstall all the programs and the important data on the original disk will not be transferred to the new disk. This method can be used as an alternative option. Without additional installation work, I hope to clone the original system to the target disk.

Method 3: Backup and Restore the Windows System

Use backup and restore software to make a disk image of the boot drive and then restore to a new one. This method aims at the files on the disk, which can not be cloned sector by sector, which makes 1:1 clone of HDD or SSD. In this way, it can not ensure that all files are copied to the target disk correctly, and the two steps of backup and restore will take up the some time. The bootable clone efficiency may be low.

Method 4: Copy the Boot Drive with A Disk Cloning Software [Highly Recommended]

It's a good idea to clone the boot drive of Windows with a bootable cloning software Donemax Disk Clone. It supports to clone the boot drive of windows 10/11 and can keep the same disk layout on the new disk after cloning with sector-by-sector clone. You can successfully clone the original boot disk to the target hdd or SSD, aand ensures to start the system successfully after pulling out the original disk. Here I will introduce how to clone the boot drive in windows.

Learn the detailed steps to make a bootable clone in Windows:

Step 1: Select the boot drive as source to clone.

Select the boot disk or partition as the clone source in the pop-up clone window. The target can be an empty disk or unallocated space as the clone target. Click next.

Select the boot drive as source to clone

Step 2: Edit the disk layout of target disk.

To edit the disk layout of target disk, you can select auto fit disk layout which will have the same dik layout as the source disk after cloning, or manually edit disk layout.

Edit the disk layout of new boot disk

Step 3: Perform bootable cloning.

After confirmation, click "execute" to start the bootable cloning process.

Start bootable cloning

★ Tip Before Cloning the Boot Disk:

1. Please back up important data on the target disk in advance if it has. Cloning a drive will delete everything on the target disk.

2. Make sure the target disk has enough space to save all the data on the boot disk, especially if the target disk is smaller. Otherwise, the cloning process will fail.

3. Laptops users can connect the target disk through a USB hard disk box and then clone it to the external disk. After cloning, you can disassemble the notebook and replace it with a new disk.

4. If the newly cloned hard disk cannot start up after cloning, please check the boot sequence.

FAQs About Cloning A Boot Drive

Follow the steps to clone the boot drive of Windows 10:
  1. Connect the new hdd or SSD to the Windows 10 PC
  2. Download and install Donemax Disk Clone for Windows
  3. Launch the software and select Disk clone
  4. Select the boot disk as source and the new drive as destination
  5. Click "Next" to apply cloning
  6. Remove the old dik from your PC or change to boot from the new disk if you want to keep the old disk as a data drive.
A bootable clone is to make an exact copy of the boot drive on the computer, including the Windows OS and other files. It is recommended to use "Disk Clone" rather than "Partition Clone" to copy the entire disk which guarantees the operating system and related boot files will be copied to the new disk and ensures to boot successfully from the new boot drive.
Here is a list of the top 3 bootable disk cloning software recommended for Windows 11/10:
  1. Donemax Disk Clone for Windows
  2. Acronis Cyber Protect Home Office
  3. Macrium Reflect
No, it won't ask you to reactive Windows if you are make bootable clone on the same PC. However, if you connect to a different PC where hardware has completely changed, you may be asked to reactivate the Windows in a new Windows PC.
Contributing Writer


Lucien is a writer and a chief programmer of Donemax software who has worked in the company for 5+ years. He has written much of the content on the site and devotes to providing troubleshooting and solution for Windows and Mac users including disk cloning, data recovery, migration, eraser, error fixes.

Gerhard Chou
Editor in chief

Gerhard Chou

In order to effectively solve the problems for our customers, every article and troubleshooting solution published on our website has been strictly tested and practiced. Our editors love researching and using computers and testing software, and are willing to help computer users with their problems