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How to clone a hard drive on a Mac or Windows PC

You can do it for free.
By
July 18, 2022

Hard drives may appear simple on the surface, but there are a lot of things under the hood making them run exactly the way they’re supposed to. That’s why cloning a hard drive is not just a matter of copy and paste, but instead a rather complicated process.

Thankfully, there are great free apps that let you clone a hard drive on a Mac or Windows PC with ease. All you need is your source disk, the one you want to clone, and a destination disk. Here’s how to clone a hard drive on a Mac or Windows PC.

Read more: The best external hard drives you can buy

QUICK ANSWER 

To clone a hard drive on Windows, download Macrium Reflect Free, connect both the drives and click Clone this drive under the source disk. To clone a hard drive on Mac, download SuperDuper, select the disks, and click Copy Now.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to clone a hard drive on Windows

Windows has quite a few apps that will let you clone a hard drive, but the best one of the lot is Macrium Reflect Free. Download it from the website and install it. The installation process is a bit more complicated than the average one, but just follow the flow and you should be fine. Make sure both drives are connected to your PC, i.e. the one you want to clone and the destination drive. Run the program when installed and you will see this screen, with your hard disks listed.

Clone hard drive Maricum Reflect home screen
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Make sure the box next to the source drive is ticked, and click the Clone this disk option under the source disk.

Maricum Reflect Clone hard drive screen
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Click Select a disk to clone to. It will give you a list of available disks.

Maricum Reflect Clone hard drive select drive
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Select your destination disk from the list by clicking it.

Maricum Reflect Clone hard drive drive selected
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Once selected, click Next to proceed.

Maricum Reflect Clone hard drive schedule
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Macrium will give you an option to schedule the clone, but you can just skip that by clicking Next.

Maricum Reflect Clone hard drive final check
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Verify the details listed, and click Finish.

Maricum Reflect Clone hard drive run clone
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

Macrium will give you another final screen with options. You can uncheck the box next to Save as a Backup Definition File if this is a one-time clone and click OK.

Maricum Reflect Clone hard drive final confirmation
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

You will see a warning about the destination drive losing all data. Check the box next to All target volumes will be overwritten. Confirm to proceed. Click Continue.

Maricum Reflect Clone hard drive successful
Palash Volvoikar / Android Authority

It will take some time, generally about five minutes. When finished, you will get a success dialog box. That’s it, your drive will have been successfully cloned. If you wish to boot from the cloned drive, you can select it from the boot drive selection menu right after starting your computer.

Read more: The best internal and external SSDs you can buy

How to clone a Mac hard drive

For Mac, we recommend using SuperDuper to clone your hard drive. Download and install it from the official website. Once installed, run the app. Select the source disk by clicking the drop-down next to Copy, and the destination disk from the drop-down next to to.

SuperDuper clone hard disk screen
Shirt Pocket

Click the Copy Now button to begin the cloning. You will see the progress in the app. It will take some time and finish the cloning.

SuperDuper clone hard disk progress
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FAQs

The process won’t be much different than the one we’ve described above. Just connect the drive to the docking station, and then follow the procedure with the apps recommended above.

Imaging is more useful for creating backup images, while cloning is better for creating a replica that can replace the existing drive.

The best free software to clone a hard drive are Macrium Reflect Free for Windows and SuperDuper for Mac.