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How to clone hard drive to smaller SSD?

Position: How Tos - Backup & Restore - How to clone hard drive to smaller SSD?

Summary
This article provides two guides for cloning a larger hard drive to a smaller SSD, including cloning data disk to smaller SSD as well as cloning Windows 10 to smaller SSD. Replacing traditional hard drive with an SSD is a good move to improve computer performance, and yet the new SSD is usually smaller than original HDD. No worries, here you can follow steps below to clone bigger HDD to smaller SSD using free disk cloning software DiskGenius Free Edition.
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DiskGenius - Free disk cloning software helps clone larger HDD to smaller SSD, migrate OS to SSD, etc.

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Table of Contents



About cloning a larger hard drive to smaller SSD/HDD

Can I clone a bigger HDD to a smaller SSD?

"I have an old computer and I'm using about 30% of the 500GB hard drive. I'm afraid that the hard drive will fail to work someday, and it is really slow to load system or perform any tasks. The desktop is running Windows 10 and stores photos transferred from my mobile phone. I bought two disks, a 1TB hard drive and a 256GB SSD. I'm planning to clone the 500GB hard drive to SSD so that the computer can boot from SSD and get a faster speed. However, I have no idea how to clone or migrate OS from a bigger HDD to a smaller SSD! Is there free and simple software that can do this for me?"

An SSD is no doubt faster than a traditional hard drive, and many of us would like to upgrade computer by replacing hard drive with an SSD, for example, install Windows 10 on an SSD will greatly increase the booting process and the speed of reading/writing data. The recommended and referred way of swapping out a disk is via cloning disk, by which we can easily move content like operating system, settings, programs and data to another disk. However, the fact is that currently an SSD's capacity is usually smaller than a HDD's. So the question is how to cloning a lager HDD to a smaller SSD, for example, clone a 1TB HDD to 500GB SSD, clone a 500GB hard drive to 256GB SSD? The answer is using free disk cloning software.

Benefits of cloning HDD to a smaller SSD

Why do people want to clone hard drive to another smaller SSD/HDD? Here are some benefits of doing this:

  • Create a backup: It is never a bad idea to create backups for important data, as hard drive can get damaged due to various reasons. Data loss will be a painful experience, which can be avoided if you have a recent backup.
  • Upgrade hard drive: Any storage device has a lifespan, and it is necessary to swap out a hard drive which starts to develop problems. By cloning content to a new disk, you can keep everything stored on the original disk.
  • Improve computer performance: it has been proved by many people that replacing system disk with an SSD can improve computer performance. Cloning system disk, including Windows system, settings and installed program, can save you the effort of reinstalling OS.

Get prepared for the disk cloning

  • Prepare the SSD: since the SSD is smaller than the HDD, you should make sure the SSD capacity is larger than the used space of the HDD.
  • Clean useless files: delete files you are not going to use from the HDD to reduce the time taken by cloning process.
  • Clone disk VS migrate OS: Make the decision between disk cloning and system migration. When you want to clone Windows 10 to a new SSD, you are recommended to try system migration, which guarantees there is not booting issues about the target disk; whereas, if you want to copy everything from a data disk, you can just try disk clone.
  • Find the free disk cloning software: A third-party cloning program will be used to complete the task, and yet you may find many paid programs by searching on Google. There is no need to spend money on such software, as there is totally free software to clone disk and migrate system.

Free hard drive cloning software free download

DiskGenius Free edition is the recommended software to clone HDD to smaller SSD. This free edition provides multiple backup solutions, including cloning disk and system migration, both supporting cloning bigger disk to smaller SSD/HDD. "Clone disk" function enables users to copy the entire disk as well as data to another disk, and a sector-by-sector copy can be made if the target disk is not smaller than source disk. System migration can help user transfer operating system and data from system disk to SSD/HHD.

DiskGenius allows users to adjust partition size on target disk before cloning process to better make use disk space. It also enables users to decide whether to clone a certain partition. Moreover, 4K alignment will be carried out during disk cloning and system migration, which means partitions on target disk will be 4K aligned. Apart from disk cloning, DiskGenius Free edition also supports to clone partition, backup partition to image file, copy sectors, backup partition table, etc. Hence, you can either backup a specified partition or entire disk. Free download DiskGenius Free Edition now and you can start the disk cloning task.

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Guide 1: How to clone a larger hard drive to a smaller SSD/HDD?

Tips:

  • If you want to clone system disk to SSD and make SSD bootable, it is recommended to follow Guide 2 to migrate system.
  • If you want to create a sector-by-sector copy, please make sure the target disk is no smaller than the source disk.

Step 1   Click Tools menu and choose Clone Disk item to open the disk cloning wizard.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Step 2   Select source disk and click OK button.

The disk selecting window shows 3 disks, and the 2TB disk is the source disk that we are going to clone, and the 932GB disk is the destination disk.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Step 3   Select destination disk and click OK button. Here you should select your new SSD.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Step 4   Configure disk cloning settings.

1. You can decide whether to clone a certain partition, for example, right-click on a partition from source disk, and you can choose "Do not migrate this partition" option which can remove the corresponding partition from target disk.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

2. Partition size on target disk can be adjusted. Place the mouse on the arrow area between partitions and drag mouse. There is possibility that the partition size on source disk are not ideal, and you can adjust the size on destination disk to get better use of disk space.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

3. Disk cloning modes: when target disk is smaller than source disk, only "Copy all files" is available. If you want to use "Copy all sectors" to create a sector-by-sector clone, the target disk's capacity should be equal to or larger than source disk.

Step 5   Click Start button to start HDD cloning process. Then click OK button to continue.

Warning: all partitions and files of the target disk will be removed and overwritten. Be sure there is not important files on target disk before clicking OK button.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Step 6   Select disk cloning methods between Hot Migration and Hot & Execute.

Hot migration is the recommended option, as it can clone HDD to SSD without closing current system or running programs.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Step 7   Wait for the process to complete.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Guide 2: How to clone Windows 10 to smaller SSD without reinstalling OS?

Do you want to clone Windows 10 to a smaller SSD so that you do not have to reinstall OS? Here is the solution. DiskGenius Free Edition supports to migrate Windows OS to smaller SSD via simple steps. Connect your SSD to computer properly and you can start to migrate OS to SSD now:

Step 1   Click Tools menu and choose System Migration option.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Step 2   Select destination disk and click OK.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Step 3   Configure settings for the OS migration.

1. You can decide the partition size on target disk to make better use of disk space. Two ways of change partition size: enter the exact number or drag mouse.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

2. Boot settings. As to UEFI-based system, you can choose whether to change computer boot sequence immediately after system migration completes. It is OK to leave this option unselected, as you can modify boot sequence in BOIS manually when you need that.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Step 4   Click Start button to start the migration. Then click OK to continue.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Step 5   Select Hot Migration button.

Hot Migration enables you to clone Windows 10 to SSD without closing current system or reboot to WinPE environment. If you choose Reboot to WinPE button, computer will reboot and enter DiskGenius WinPE edition to complete rest task.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

Step 6   Wait for the proves to complete.

clone hard drive to smaller SSD

If you did not select "When finished, change computer boot sequence" option during migrating system, you will have following options regarding booting from source disk or target disk:

1. The computer boots from source system disk by default.

2. If you want to boot from the new SSD, you need to change the boot order in BIOS: restart computer > press the specified key such as F1, F10 to enter BIOS > select the new SSD as the boot disk > save changes and exit.


FAQs on cloning larger HDD to smaller SSD/HDD

1. Can I clone a larger HDD to a smaller SSD?

Yes, cloning a larger HDD to a smaller SSD is available now. DiskGenius Free edition can help you clone disk or migrate OS to a smaller HDD/SSD. But you need to make sure the SSD is larger than the used space of the HDD.

2. How do I clone my hard drive to smaller SSD free of charge?

You can use DiskGenius Free edition to clone disk:

Step 1: Open DiskGenius Free edition, click Tools menu and select Clone Disk.

Step 2: Select source and destination disk.

Step 3: Click Start button and wait for the cloning process to complete.

3. Can I clone a 1TB HDD to a 500GB SSD?

It is possible to clone a 1TB HDD to a 500GB SSD and it is also possible to clone a 500GB HDD to a 250GB SSD. The only condition is that the SSD's capacity is larger than the used space of the source HDD. At this point, you can use DiskGenius to either clone disk or migrate OS.

4. How to migrate Windows 10 OS to a smaller SSD?

Following steps show how to migrate or clone Windows 10 OS to a smaller SSD:

Step 1: Launch DiskGenius and click System Migration option on the main interface.

Step 2: Select your SSD as the target disk.

Step 3: Click Start button to start the migration.

For more information about Windows 10 migration, refer to the guide: How to migrate Windows 10 to SSD?

5. How to clone GPT disk to a smaller SSD?

DiskGenius Free edition offers complete backup solutions and it can clone GPT disk to a smaller SSD for you free of charge:

Step 1: Start DiskGenius Free edition, then choose Tools > clone disk.

Step 2: Select source disk and target disk.

Step 3: Click Start button.


Conclusion

DiskGenius Free edition supports to clone disk as well as OS migration, making it possible to clone larger HDD to smaller SSD and clone Windows 10 to smaller SSD free of charge. Now you won't find any difficult in upgrading your computer or replacing HDD with SSD. If you feel this article useful, feel free to share it to your social communities. Should you have any questions or need help regarding cloning HDD/SSD, feel free to contact our support team.


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DiskGenius - The best cloning software to clone HDD to SSD, clone Windows 10 to SSD, clone partition, etc.

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