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How to clone a hard drive in MacOS and Windows

Having a backup of your most important files when your computer's hard drive is damaged is a relief, whether you do it on an external disk or in the cloud. But what about your programs? Obviously they get lost and you have to reinstall everything again. We bring you good news here: there is a better and more complete way in which all your data, programs and operating system are intact. We explain how to clone a hard drive in Windows and MacOS.

how to clone a hard drive External hard drive on laptop

Cloning a hard disk is an excellent way to create a backup, this process not only saves individual files, but also copies your operating system, drivers, software, folders and everything else that is stored on the disk. In this way, if your system fails, you can enter the cloned backup unit and resume it exactly where you cloned it. It is definitely and by far the best way to make sure your files are safe, and if you ever need to recover your hard drive, you can do it without wasting time or money.

Windows

Step 1: Download Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition from the official website

how to clone a hard drive Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition main screen

While there are many excellent cloning applications that you can download, this is our current favorite. It has everything you need to clone a disk for home or business, and it doesn't cost you more than time. In a somewhat frustrating movement, you will first download a small independent program. This miniature program downloads the Macrium server installer so you don't install pirated software. Once the installer is on your computer, locate and install it like any other desktop program.

Note: This guide is based on version 7.2.4601.

Step 2: Prepare your units

how to clone a hard drive Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition screen

Your hard drive Source(source) is the unit you want to clone. Unit DestinationIt is the disk where the cloned backup will be. Make sure that both are connected to your computer and that the system recognizes them. You can connect them internally or externally, or a combination of both. For example, if you are backing up your laptop, your Destination unit will connect through an external USB-based adapter.

Opens Macrium Reflect 7. The start page shows a collection of all the units connected to your computer and their respective partitions, make sure that both units are listed. Now is also a good time to make sure that the unit of Destination Have enough space. Requires more free space than your unit Source to receive all the new information. If not, you can use the native cleaning tools in Windows or those provided by external developers.

You can get more information on how to free up system space with our guide, how to clean your saturated hard drive in Windows 10.

Step 3:Manage partitions

how to clone a hard drive

To start the cloning process, select the source unit and then click on the blue link ?Clone this disk …?Located under the unit in the main window.

A new window will ask you to select a destination disk. Click on the area that says ?Select a disk to clone …?And select your destination unit from the list of units that appear in another pop-up window.

Note: Reflect 7 delete all existing data on the destination unit as part of the cloning process. Be sure to make a backup copy of any information before continuing.

You can manually delete existing partitions, but it is not necessary. If there are partitions on the source drive that you do not want to copy, uncheck the corresponding boxes. When you are ready, click on the link Copy selected partitions. Alternatively, you can drag and drop specific partitions that you want to clone into the new drive. If you're not sure, simply clone all partitions.

If you are upgrading to a larger hard drive, increase the size of the main partition to take advantage of the extra space. Simply select the largest partition in your source unit (usually C:) and select Cloned Partition Properties. On the next screen, select the box that says Maximum size and then click on To accept.

Step 4:Start the cloning process

Once you're ready to start, recheck everything once again, you're never over. When you are doubly sure, select Finalize and later To acceptto start the cloning process. Depending on the size, speed and use of your units, this process can take a long time.

When you finish, your new unit should be as functional as the previous one.

MacOS

Cloning a hard disk in MacOS is a bit easier than Windows because you can use its tool Disk Utility Built-in to perform the same function. However, there are many third-party alternatives, such as the popular Carbon Copy Cloner, but Disk Utility does the job well. You don't need the latest version of MacOS Mojave, but it's never a bad idea to keep your Mac up to date.

Step 1:Start on a different volume

The only disadvantage of Disk Utility compared to some third-party tools is that it disassembles all drives to speed up the copy process. That means you cannot make a clone of the hard drive you are currently working with. You should start from another drive or volume with a running MacOS installation or use the volume of Recovery HD.

You can access the Recovery HD volume by restarting your Mac while holding down the ?CMD? and ?R? keys simultaneously.

Step 2:Prepare your units

how to clone a hard drive Utility Disk Mac main screen

Your unit Source It is the one you want to clone. Your unit Destination It is the disk where the clone reside. Make sure that both are connected to your computer and that the system recognizes them. You can connect them internally or externally, or a combination of both.

Once MacOS Recovery HD is loaded, click on the option Utility Disk that appears in the MacOS Utilities pop-up window and then Continue.