Many users do not adopt disk cloning for fear that something will go wrong and the system will no longer boot correctly after the process. The fears are well founded but, in order to carry out the procedure in complete safety, we just need to rely on safe and powerful software such as Macrium Reflectwhich has always been a point of reference for those who clone discs.
In this guide we therefore see the procedure for carrying out an exact copy process, both from a mechanical disk to an SSD, and the procedure for copying an SSD to another SSD (or to a drive NVMe M.2 new generation).
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1) Install Macro Reflect
To begin, let’s take a look at the Macrium Reflect pagewe press the button Download Free Trial, start the installer provided by the site and start it. We confirm the version to be installed on our system (Home), then we wait for the end of the download and actual installation.
In the setup screens we confirm the use of the free version of the product (valid for 30 days from the installation date), skip the installation of the Macrium add-ons (useless in our case) and finalize the process to immediately have the Macrium Reflect icon on our desktop or in the Windows Start menu.
Now that we have installed the program we recommend that you immediately install the new disk chosen as the destination for cloning: turn off the PC and connect it to the motherboard via SATA cable or NVMe slot, depending on the type of disk we are installing.
For further information we can read our articles on how to install a second internal disk in your PC come on how to install SSD on Laptop as second disk.
2) Clonare HDD su SSD
With the second disk connected to the computer we are ready to start cloning from the mechanical disk (used so far) to the new SSD disk. To proceed, let’s open Macrium Reflectwe press on the item Clone this disk immediately below the graphic representation of the disk already present in the system, we press on Select a disk to clone to and select the new disk (which should appear as unpartitioned).
Now let’s press the button Copy and select the item Shrink or extend to fill destination disk: we will immediately see a preview of the cloning process, which will effectively copy all the partitions of the original disk to the new disk.
The choice of voice Shrink or extend to fill destination disk is of fundamental importance: even if the destination disk is smaller, the program will carry out the necessary resizing to fit everything on the new disk, as long as the space of the occupied files is less than the maximum capacity of the new disk.
On the other hand, if we use a new larger disk, the program will take care of enlarging the partitions to fit them on the new disk, giving maximum priority to the disk containing the operating system. To change the partition settings we can always press on Layout and choose which partition to resize.
At the end of the process we press on Avantithen Next and start the process by pressing on Fine. The process may take a few hours, depending on the speed of the slowest disk and the amount of data to be cloned.
3) Clone SSD to SSD (or to M.2)
The procedure described above is also great for clone an SSD into a new SSD (also in M.2 format), choosing a new, larger and faster drive as the destination.
The only different thing to do is present in the cloning screen, after choosing the cloning destination disk: in this screen we press on the bottom left Advanced optionslet’s get the voice out Perform an intelligent copy of the sector and activate all the items present (Verifica file system, Rapid Delta Clone e TRIM SSD), so as to make the process completely painless.
Also in this case we strongly suggest you activate cloning by voice Shrink or extend to fill destination diskin order to resize the partitions of the old SSD to fit comfortably in the space provided by the new SSD.
4) Plan cloning activities
Since the process of cloning drives to SSD can take a long time (especially if we use mechanical disks), the advice is to use the Macrium Reflect scheduler to plan the activity during the night hours, so as to wake up in the morning with the disk already cloned.
To proceed, we start the cloning as seen in the first chapter of the guide, press Next after configuring the cloning and, in the screen Plan this cloningwe click on Add schedulechoosing a time or date to start the process.
After adding the schedule we press on Avanti come on Fine to start the scheduled process; for convenience we suggest you temporarily deactivate system suspension or hibernation after a certain number of minutes, leaving only the screen to turn off; to bypass Windows energy saving we can also read our guide on how to keep your computer awake and with the screen on.
The process of cloning the two disks has become a breeze thanks to the use of simple and convenient programs such as Macrium Reflect. Since the program is on a free trial for 30 days, the advice is to use it only when you actually need an exact copy of the old disk, on which perhaps we have programs and files that are too important to move.
However, if the disk has a different size from the new drive or we have a valid copy of all the important files, it is worth formatting the new SSD with a clean installation of Windows, as seen in our guide on how to install windows 11 from scratch with clean install.
To learn more we can read our guides on free programs to copy disk with Windows 10 and 11 come on How to turn on your PC if Windows won’t start.