Clone HDD Won’t Boot|How to Make Clone HDD Bootable

Coco Lin updated on Jul 14, 2022 to Disk Clone

Many users fail to boot after migrating or cloning their Windows systems to SSDs/HDDs. What is the reason, and what should I do? Next, we will introduce why the hard disk cannot be booted after cloning and the solutions.

Clone hard drive

Reasons for HDD Cant Bootable After Disk Cloning

Reasons for the system being unbootable are as follows:

1. The cloned hard disk is not set as the first boot item, which will cause the computer to boot from the original system disk, and you need to change the boot sequence in the BIOS.

2. The partition style of the cloned hard disk does not match the boot mode. If the cloned hard disk partition style is GPT, you must use UEFI boot mode. If the hard disk partition style is MBR, you need to use Legacy boot mode. If the computer motherboard does not support UEFI boot mode, you must change the cloned hard disk to MBR partition style.

3. The primary partition of the cloned hard disk is not set as the active partition, and the startup file of the operating system is saved in the primary partition. If the primary volume is not set as the active partition, it will affect the system's startup.

4.If the cloning process is not successfully completed, some problems may cause some data to be missing after cloning, which will cause the cloned hard disk to fail to start. You'd better use professional disk cloning software (such as DMclone software).

Solutions to Fix ‘Clone HDD Wont Boot’ Issues

Method 1: Change the system boot order

The steps are as follows:

  • Make sure that the cloned hard disk has been connected to the computer, and restart the computer. When the screen appears, click the shortcut keys continuously to enter the BIOS settings (usually F2, F8, F12, Del). Please search the Internet for the BIOS of the corresponding motherboard Enter key.
  • After entering the BIOS, use the arrow keys to select the Boot tab, and set the cloned hard disk as the first boot item.
  • Press F10 to save and restart the computer.

Windows system boot mode

Method 2. Check the cloned hard disk partition style 

A GPT partition type requires the UEFI boot mode and the MBR partition type needs the Legacy boot. How to clone the disk partition type? Proceed as follows:

Part 1: Confirm the partition type of the cloned hard disk

Connect the cloned hard disk to the computer, and start the system before cloning (if the cloned hard disk has been set as the first startup item, the old system disk is set as the first startup item in the method before installation).

After startup, right-click the Start menu and select [Disk Management].
Right-click the cloned hard disk and select [Properties].

Confirm the partition type
Switch to the [Volume] tab and check the [Disk Partition Type], here is MBR, you need to use Legacy boot mode.

Confirm the partition type

Part 2: Set the boot mode according to the partition form

Restart the computer. After the screen appears, click the shortcut key continuously to enter the BIOS.

Select the [Boot] tab, select [UEFI/BIOS Boot Mode], and press Enter. Then select the boot mode according to your hard disk partition format (if the hard disk partition format is MBR, select Legacy, if the hard disk partition format is GPT, select UEFI). After setting, set the first startup item as the cloned hard disk.

Press F10 to save and restart the computer.

change system boot order

Part 3: Change partition style to match the system boot mode

Some computers do not support UEFI boot mode, so you need to change the partition format of the cloned hard disk to MBR to match the Legacy boot mode. Proceed as follows:

  • Connect the cloned hard disk to the computer and start the system before cloning.
  • After startup, right-click the Start menu and select [Disk Management].
  • Delete all hard disk partitions so that the entire hard disk is unallocated, right-click the hard disk, and select [Convert to MBR Disk]. Then clone the system disk to the target hard disk and change the boot order in the BIOS.

convert disk to MBR

Method 3. Set the active partition

The cloned hard disk cannot be started. It may also be because the primary partition where the system startup file is located is not set as the active partition. You can set the active partition through the command line. Proceed as follows:

  • Connect the cloned hard disk to the computer and start the system before being cloned.
  • After booting from the old hard disk, press Windows+R to open the run box, type diskpart and press Enter.
    Windows Diskpart command
  • In the pop-up window, enter the following commands in sequence. You need to press the Enter key each time you enter a command.
  • list disk (will list all disks in the computer)
  • select disk 3 (the number of 3 is the number of the disk you cloned, which the capacity can judge)
  • list partition
  • select partition 1 (select partition 1, which is the main partition of the system, please replace the number according to the actual situation)
  • active (make it the active partition)
  • Restart your computer after completing these settings.
    Windows Diskpart command

Method 4. DMclone - HDD Cloning software for Windows system cloning

This disk imaging software is one of the best disk cloning software. It helps you to clone HDDs, SSDs, memory cards, USB flash drives, etc. from one location to another easily. You can also use it to help you upgrade your old hard drive to a new one without reinstalling the Windows operating system.

hard drive cloning software

1. Partition clone
This mode can clone a source partition to an existing partition or to unallocated space. Then you will have the same partition on the destination disk with the same data.

windows partition clone

2. Disk Cloning
This mode will help you to fully clone the entire disk to the destination disk and make the same data on both disks.

hard drive disk cloning

Related Articles