Best Free Disk Cloning Software

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    In this specialist and informative guide, I will be looking at some of the best hard disk cloning software tools which are currently available for free. I will also be detailing some of the many disk cloning issues to be aware of, how to get the most out of any disk cloning tools as well as how to handle more generalised issues relating to the migrating of an existing system across to new or dissimilar hardware.

    best free disk cloning software - in-post featured cloning graphic

    Whilst several high-profile backup software titles now include both disk cloning tools as well as components for making full disk image backups (such backups which can also be used for cloning data to new disks), many such titles are usually only available as a premium purchase. This guide therefore focuses on the range of free to use disk cloning software tools which are currently available and, in many cases, equally capable of performing the same level of disk cloning operation to a very safe and reliable standard.

    In addition to a comprehensive list of free to use disk cloning tools (which can be viewed further down in this guide), I will also be focusing on some of the key concepts surrounding disk cloning software to be aware of in general. This includes how to make best use of such disk cloning technology before going on to answer some key questions relating to the disk cloning process itself along the way – Vamos.

    Check out my top free disk cloning choice...
    easeus best backup software logo
    Partition Master (Free)

    What is Disk Cloning Software?

    Disk Cloning software is specialist software which can be used to create an exact (1:1) copy of a computer’s hard drive, a copy of the data which is then immediately replicated across to a secondary (often bigger or faster) hard disk or SSD drive. Making an exact copy of a disk means that all existing data which is stored upon the original (or source) hard drive including the operating system, installed applications, system settings plus all existing user data is also copied across to the new disk during the cloning process.

    Top 5 free disk cloning software choices:

    Below is a quick look at the top 5 choices mentioned in this guide, scroll down further for the full and detailed list of free disk cloning software titles.

    Provider Solution Upgrade Pricing Website
    1 easeus best backup software logo Partition Master Free Pro edition from $39.95 / year
    2 aomei backup logo Partition Assistant Pro edition from $49.95 / year
    3 diskgenius review logo DiskGenius Free Standard from $69.90 (lifetime)
    4 minitool review logo Partition Wizard Free Pro @ $59 / year ($159 / lifetime)
    5 runtime software driveimage xml logo DriveImage XML N/A

    Such disk cloning software is especially useful when adding new or upgraded hard disks, SSDs or newer style NVMe drives to an existing PC without bringing with it the need to reinstall the operating system and any third-party applications again from scratch. For example, when adding a new larger or faster hard disk or SSD drive to an existing PC, the entire contents of the existing drive can be copied across to this new disk and kept exactly as they were beforehand. This means that the existing system will continue to work exactly as it did before, but with more disk space now available or a faster SSD or NVMe drive now in-place to help improve overall system performance (or maybe even both).

    NB – Whilst disk cloning software will work fine when migrating from an old hard drive to a new drive or SSD on an existing system, more involved work might be required when migrating an existing system across to new or otherwise dissimilar hardware. In such cases, the use of disk cloning technology with support for restoring to dissimilar hardware might be required (and I will discuss this topic in more detail further down in this guide).

    Overall, there are many varied scenarios which might require the use of specialist disk cloning software. These include the upgrading of hard disks, the migrating of an existing PC system to a newer (and faster) SSD drive, easily re-provisioning a PC with a clean installation of Windows and the returning of a PC back to its default (factory) state ready for resale or recycling are just a few examples of how disk cloning software can be very useful.

    Does Cloning a Hard Disk also Copy Applications?

    Yes, this ability to copy any applications which are already installed upon an existing system disk is one of the main reasons that disk cloning software has become so useful and so popular in recent years, but let’s consider a commonly seen example to get more details on how this process might actually work.

    One of the biggest problems with acquiring a brand-new PC is that all user data must be migrated across from an older, existing PC and then any Windows applications which are currently in-use must also then be re-installed, re-licenced and reconfigured. This process is often very time consuming at best and potentially very costly if the installation media or licencing keys for certain software is unavailable, often resulting in the need to re-purchase the application in question thus taking up even more time and adding even more cost to a system migration.

    With specialist disk cloning software tools available, as we have already discovered, the entire system as it currently stands (including the operating system, all user data plus any installed software) can all be copied across to a new PC with very little fuss.

    NB – Remember to be aware of how any installed third-party software might be licenced and be sure that cloning such software to a new disk or device is allowed. Generally speaking, software is licenced per device or per user (regardless of the number of devices in-use), meaning that migrating or wholly replacing an existing disk will usually not cause any licencing issues, but always be sure to contact the developers of your existing third-party software if you are unsure about the process.

    Cloning to Dissimilar Hardware

    One potential disk cloning issue which might occur when migrating an existing system onto a new or otherwise different device is that of any existing drivers installed on the current system not being be compatible with the new hardware. In such cases it will be most likely be necessary to make use of specialist disk cloning software which can accommodate the cloning (or recovery of a disk image backup) onto dissimilar hardware to solve such an issue.

    best free disk cloning software - easeus migrate os module in-use

    Such specialist disk cloning or disk image backup software tools will be able to automatically adapt the existing disk contents so as to either remove any proprietary hardware drivers during the cloning operation (meaning generic Windows drivers will be temporarily used at this stage) or simply allow for these drivers to be replaced (either automatically or manually) prior to the cloning operation commencing.

    NB – If this issue relating to dissimilar hardware sounds like it might be relevant to your own disk cloning or PC migration issues, then please note I have marked-out any software titles supporting cloning to such dissimilar hardware in the full list of free disk cloning titles further down on this page.

    Whilst not as straightforward a process as allowing for specialist software to help manage any driver issues by itself, one potential workaround to migrating to a new system with dissimilar hardware is to uninstall any drivers prior to the disk cloning operation taking place to ensure maximum compatibility on the new system straight after any migration work is complete.

    best free disk cloning software - aomei partition assistant cloning wizard in-use

    If you are using Microsoft Windows then this will often mean simply uninstalling any device drivers (using the built-in Windows Device Manager tool or a third-party alternative) and then performing the disk cloning operation straight afterwards. Once the cloning operation is complete, Windows will then (by itself) attempt to choose suitable device drivers for the new hardware (even if they are just generic drivers temporarily) until the correct drivers can be downloaded and installed for the new system.

    NB – for a more detailed guide on migrating existing PC systems to new or otherwise dissimilar hardware, please be sure to check out my guide to The Best Backup Software for Restoring to Dissimilar Hardware right here on

    Disk Cloning vs Disk Imaging vs System Imaging

    During the process of researching suitable free disk cloning software, you might have also noticed the terms “disk imaging” or “system imaging” are also regularly mentioned as well. These terms are sometimes (incorrectly) used interchangeably when they do, in-fact, all perform slightly different functions and have different ways of working.

    These differences in terms are explained in more detail below:

    Disk Cloning:

    Disk Cloning is the process of making an exact (1:1) copy of a physical hard disk or SSD drive by migrating everything across to a secondary physical hard disk or SSD (this is often a newer, larger or faster drive). During this cloning process the entire operating system, any installed software plus all user data and system settings are also moved directly from the original (source) hard disk across to the new (target) disk and no data is stored on any other media during the process.

    NB – Partition cloning works in a very similar fashion as mentioned above, albeit copying a partition in its entirety to a different location instead of an entire disk (usually on to a secondary hard disk or SSD drive).

    Disk Imaging:

    Disk Imaging technology is often incorporated into many modern backup software titles and can be used to make an image-based backup of a PCs hard drive into a single file (a file which is then kept upon the storage medium used by the backup software for safe keeping). In other words, the entire disk itself is copied (including the operating system, user setting plus any installed software), compressed, stored within a single file (or a series of smaller files when applicable) and then finally stored upon another disk or in the cloud as a part of the backing up of a device.

    NB – whilst this process might be classified as a “disk image backup” by many backup software developers, the process of performing such a backup and then recovering this “backed-up” image directly on to a new disk or SSD drive has the same net effect as simply cloning the two devices directly (albeit a less efficient solution than using direct disk-to-disk cloning software).

    Full System Imaging:

    Sometimes you might see backup software titles advertising the fact that they can make full system image backups amongst various other backup related features. Simply put, in cases where a PC might be made up of more than one hard drive or partition, the backup software will be able to automatically create multiple images of all connected hard disks and partitions which are in-use as a part of the system within the same backup set (i.e., capturing the entire system in a single backup set regardless of how many disks or partitions are in use).

    NB – Personally speaking, I think the confusion between disk cloning and disk imaging often comes from the fact that, whilst disk cloning could be used as a form of backup (albeit an inefficient one), disk imaging could equally be used to create a clone between two hard drives (albeit making the process slightly longer than it otherwise needs to be and slower than it would have been using software which supports direct drive-to-drive cloning).

    best free disk cloning software - diskgenius full system cloning in-use

    For example, if I had created an image-based backup of my entire hard drive using disk imaging capable backup software and then swapped out my existing hard disk for a new one, I could then recover the entire (old) disk onto the new disk using the disk image backup I made earlier on (assuming I had some bootable recovery media to boot the system into beforehand and perform the recovery from within). This process, albeit involving slightly more work, would have the same net result as simply cloning the existing disk on to the new disk drive directly.

    Likewise, I could also add a second hard disk to my system and clone my original hard disk to this secondary disk directly in order to keep said disk as a “back up” hard disk. Should I ever need to recover my PC to this original (cloned) state then I could then simply clone this secondary disk (the “back-up disk”) back onto my primary disk using some disk cloning software. This is potentially a very useful option to have when facing issues such as malware or ransomware damage to a system, but any user data would still most likely need to be backed-up else ware given that this approach, in effect, only allows for a single version of the system to be kept.

    NB – Of course, both of these aforementioned methods would work fine, but it is in my opinion often much simpler to stick to disk image-based backups and direct (disk to disk) cloning for their intended purposes so as to gain the maximum benefits from each approach!

    What Happened to Macrium Reflect Free?

    For many years a free to use edition of Macrium Reflect has been made available and this was widely recognised as one of the best free disk cloning tools available. As a result of this, you might be wondering why this software is no longer featured on the below list of free to use disk cloning software titles.

    best free disk cloning software - macrium reflect free cloning in-use

    Unfortunately, as of early 2023, the decision has been made to discontinue making Macrium Reflect Free available for download and instead only the premium edition of the software (currently this is Macrium Reflect Home 8) is being offered by the developers.

    Whilst I certainly hope Macrium eventually do decide to reverse this decision and make a free to use edition of Reflect available again (it really was an excellent disk cloning tool), anyone seeking the Reflect disk cloning capabilities will, unfortunately, have to purchase the premium edition of the software as of right now (this is currently Macrium Reflect Home version 8 which is priced from $49.99 per year or from a one-off $79.99 for a perpetual licence).

    Considerations when Cloning to NVMe Drives

    The cloning of conventional hard disks and SATA based SSD drives to the newer style NVMe based drives is in many cases a relatively straightforward process, however, there are still some potential issues which could arise during such a process. Such NVMe related cloning issues could be caused by a variety of factors including the type of disk cloning software being used not properly supporting the newly available Gen 4 NVMe hardware, NVMe drivers being different to more the conventionally available SATA drivers plus the configuration of the operating system which is being cloned amongst various other cloning related factors.

    best free disk cloning software - 2x nvme ssd drives

    One of the most common problems encountered after cloning mechanical or SATA based SSD disks across to NVMe drives is boot failure when attempting to boot from the newly cloned NVMe disk. Such failures can happen for a number of reasons, but one of the most common being that the NVMe drive is not configured to be the default boot drive after the cloning process has completed (this can be easily fixed by changing the boot order of any attached disks in the system BIOS or UEFI settings after the cloning operation is complete).

    NB – In addition to configuring the BIOS or UEFI settings after an NVMe disk cloning operation has completed, I would always advise physically removing (and keeping safe) the source disk which has been cloned from so as to ensure the cloning process has definitely worked correctly and that the new NVMe drive is indeed actually the drive currently been used!

    Another common problem when cloning to newer style NVMe drives is that of driver incompatibility arising after the cloning process has completed. NVMe drives use a different driver than the more traditional and commonly encountered SATA based SSD drives for which they are rapidly replacing in many modern PC systems and, if the correct driver is not installed, the operating system itself might not be able to recognize the new NVMe drive after the disk cloning process has completed.

    NB – Whilst this issue can usually be fixed by simply installing the latest NVMe driver from the disk manufacturer’s website, users of modern Windows systems will most likely find the operating system itself can temporarily make use of generic NVMe drivers before the system then automatically downloads and installs the correct NVMe drives a little later on.

    best free disk cloning software - multiple sata inc nvme drives

    Another issue to be aware of when cloning to NVMe drives is that of 4K sector size related issues which can arise when cloning from older style SATA based disks and SSD drives to the newer style NVMe based SSD drives which are starting to becoming very popular in newer PC systems.

    Such sector size issues can be become very problematic due to newer NVMe drives often using a different sector size than is used by the more traditional SATA drives which they are typically replacing. This means that whilst a sector size of 4096 bytes is typically used for newer style NVMe drives, older style SATA disks from which such NVMe drives are often cloned from will often make use of 512-byte sectors meaning problems will occur if the disk cloning software in use is not designed to handle such issues correctly.

    As with many of the other commonly encountered disk cloning issues you might be forced to address, issues pertaining to the cloning of data from older style SATA drives to newer style NVMe drives (and, in particular, the 4K sector size issue just discussed) can effectively be mitigated via the use of professionally built disk cloning software, several titles of which are listed towards the end of this very guide.

    How Effective is Free Cloning Software?

    Free to use disk cloning software will appeal to many PC users with a specific use case in mind, this could be the replacement of a small capacity drive with a larger one, the upgrading of an existing system across to a newer SSD style drive or even as a form of full system image backup in certain cases.

    best free disk cloning software - acronis premium disk cloning software

    Whilst free to use disk cloning software can be of great help in all of these commonly encountered scenarios, given how useful and powerful such disk cloning software is, it is always worth considering the benefits which could come from a premium upgrade.

    Below are just a few of many reasons why it might be worth considering upgrading from free to premium disk cloning software, especially so if you are a regular PC user wanting to make the most of your existing system hardware.

    1) More advanced cloning settings

    Free disk cloning titles often focus on the cloning of an entire disk with a basic set of predetermined settings applied. Whilst this approach can be very for basic cloning tasks (such as a straight clone form one disk to another), such software will often lack the more granular control provided by a premium disk cloning solution.

    Premium disk cloning software titles often provide much greater control over the actual cloning process versus this “one size fits all” approach often seen in the free to use alternatives. This additional functionality can include the ability to use sector-by-sector cloning technology, “hot” disk cloning technology (for cloning a running system), automatically resizing partitions to fit a larger disk (or leave them in tact), the ability to exclude selected files or file-types and even advanced management of the boot sector for the resulting target drive amongst various other advanced features.

    2) Faster cloning performance

    Premium disk cloning software titles often feature additional running modes meaning disk cloning tasks can be completed much faster in certain circumstances (such as when handling large drives with a lot of free space to manage). Add on to this (mentioned above) that premium titles often include many advanced options such as being able to exclude certain file types from the cloning operation and premium disk cloning software can become very useful when a quick and efficient disk cloning operation is required.

    3) Additional disk compatibility

    Whereas some free to use disk cloning software titles might make us of technology which is one or more generations behind that of the latest premium titles, such premium titles will often benefit from the latest drive and drives support and should (in theory at least) provide the maximum compatibility for the latest hard drives including PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD drives amongst many other new additions to the market.

    If you are making use of the latest and fastest new drives and drive types or facing issues when attempting to clone such drives using existing free to use disk cloning software then it is always worth considering a premium alternative which will benefit from being constantly updated with the latest disk drive support.

    4) Additional disk related tools & utilities

    Generally speaking, premium disk cloning software will come as a part of a suite of disk management or data backup software which sees many additional disk utilities also included alongside it. Such additional tools and disk utilities can often include secure disk and partition data wiping tools, disk partition management tools, data recovery tools, disk health checking and repair tools plus disk benchmarking and performance tools amongst many others.

    best free disk cloning software - acronis try&decide utility

    One great example of the benefits resulting from such premium disk cloning software comes from Acronis. Not only do Acronis feature their excellent disk cloning module within the latest edition of the Cyber Protection Home Office backup suite (formally Acronis True Image), but bundled in with this suite are many additional tools including a full disk imaging backup application, support for migrating systems to dissimilar hardware, bootable rescue media, system cleaning utilities, “Try & Decide” functionality, secure disk wiping plus use of the Acronis Secure Zone technology amongst other included features.

    Overall, if you frequently perform disk cloning and system migration related work, require advanced cloning features and configurations, prioritise speedy and efficient cloning jobs and value comprehensive disk and driver support, then upgrading to premium disk cloning software could become a very worthwhile investment.

    NB – Premium disk cloning software will usually be bundled within either premium backup software or premium disk and partition management software. For this reason, it is always worthwhile to check out exactly what premium features will be included within such offerings as this will differ between different software developers and whether you are purchasing primarily disk partition management or disk backup software.

    Disk Cloning FAQs

    No, neither Windows 10 nor the latest Windows 11 do not currently contain any built-in disk cloning software as of the time of last updating this guide in January 2024. This means if you do wish to clone a hard drive containing a Windows 10 or Windows 11 operating system then some third-party disk cloning software must be used.

    This is not too much of a problem, however, as you will see further down in this guide where I have collated together some reviews of my favourite free disk cloning software titles. This means when you are ready to clone your existing hard disk containing a Windows 10 or Windows 11 system, you can do so at very little or zero cost should you need to.

    Yes, both Windows 10 and Windows 11 will run absolutely fine on a solid-state drive (SSD) and will provide full support for such hardware.

    SSD disk drives have become very popular in recent years due to the increased operating speed they provide as well as the continuously deceasing costs and larger capacities as the technology itself becomes ever more advanced. If you are currently running Windows 10 or 11 on an older style mechanical hard disk then I would strongly recommend looking into an SSD upgrade as soon as possible to help in obtaining a much smoother and faster Windows system.

    The decision of whether to make use of disk cloning or disk image-based backups depends upon the exact process being completed and the intended result required. If you are simply wanting to make a copy of an existing disk to a new or secondary disk (e.g., when migrating an existing system from an existing mechanical disk across to a newer SSD drive) then disk cloning would be the most efficient solution. On the other hand, should you wish to keep multiple copies of said original disk and potentially store these versions longer term in a disk space efficient manor, then disk imaging-based backup software will be the best solution.

    NB – Remember, although usually a longer process then direct disk-to-disk coning, making a disk image backup of a disk and then resorting this same image to a secondary disk will provide the same net result as direct disk-to-disk cloning would have otherwise done!

    Generally speaking, when cloning an existing (and working) system disk, everything on said disk will be copied across to the new disk meaning it will also be bootable by default.

    If you do perform such cloning operations then always be sure to either remove the old hard drive form the device before then re-booting your system on the new (cloned) disk or, alternatively, using your motherboard’s BIOS or UEFI settings, change the device boot order so as to ensure the new disk will be booted from first.

    NB – It can be easy to forget to change the boot order after a disk cloning operation has taken place and this means there is a risk you could end up booting into the original (old) disk as a result. Being this the case, I would always recommend physically removing the old disk drive after a cloning operation has been completed (when feasible to do so) to help reduce the risk of this issue occurring!

    Yes, cloning a disk drive will copy across all data on a 1:1 basis, including the operating system itself!

    This means everything on an existing disk drive, including the operating system, any installed software applications, user documents plus any system configuration settings will also be copied across to the new disk during the cloning process as well.

    In most circumstances there is usually no requirement nor meaningful benefit in wiping a hard disk before cloning an existing disk drive across to it.

    One possible exception to this rule is when the newly cloned disk is to then potentially be passed on to another person, recycled or otherwise sold. in such cases it might be wise to perform a secure wiping of the drive and all data upon it prior to commencing the disk cloning process.

    NB – Cloning the contents of one disk drive onto another will not guarantee that all data on the target drive is erased during the process (specialist disk wiping software must still be used to guarantee such a result)!

    When cloning a disk under normal circumstances, the disk cloning software in-use will most likely streamline the cloning process by automatically detecting and omitting any bad sectors or free disk space form from the source disk during the cloning process. This optimised running mode (which is usually the default cloning mode in many applications) will often result in a quicker operation whilst importantly still ensuring that all important data is copied across to the new disk.

    If it is the case that any bad hard disk sectors or any existing free space are also to be copied across (1:1) to the new disk (e.g., this could be for additional data security purposes or forensic examination work) then disk cloning software supporting sector-by-sector cloning should be used and the sector-by-sector option specified before disk cloning commences.

    No, disk cloning software will automatically adjust a cloned image to make use of any larger target hard disks when asked to do so (something which is usually done by default and, if turned off, will simply leave any free space on a larger target disk unallocated).

    Cloning from a larger hard disk to a smaller disk is also possible, however, the part of the disk which is in-use (i.e., actually containing data) must be smaller than the total size of the smaller (newer) disk being cloned on to for this approach to be successful.

    The Best Free Disk Cloning Software of 2024

    Hopefully, by this point in this guide, you will understand a little better the reasons for using specialist disk cloning software and the benefits it can bring as a PC user. As was mentioned a little earlier on, neither Windows 10 nor Windows 11 include any dedicated disk cloning tools built-in by default, this means if you are looking to clone a Windows system to a new disk or SSD drive for free, then you must first obtain such cloning software from a third-party developer, some of which as are listed below.

    As always when selecting new software, be sure to always carefully check the details of each free disk cloning solution listed below very carefully before using it and if you are planning to make any purchases or upgrades, always try to take advantage of any free trials (whenever possible) to make sure any given solution meets your own requirements.

    1) EaseUS Partition Master Free

    Partition Master is a very impressive (and 100% free to use) disk cloning and disk partition management tool from highly rated software developers, EaseUS.

    best free disk cloning software - easeus partition master cloning tool in-use

    One of the key functions of Partition Master is that it allows for the easy cloning of both individual partitions as well as entire hard disk drives directly across to any new target disks or SSD drives. It also has the ability to merge, resize or move (as well as re-order) any existing partitions found on an active disk making it a very powerful piece of free disk cloning technology which is capable of performing many commonly used disk management functions.

    Other related functionality included within Partition Master includes the software being able to automatically optimise disk cloning operations for both SSD and newer style NVMe disk drives (with 4K alignment support), perform file system integrity checks, change partition names and labels within Windows systems and even perform secure disk wiping tasks when required to securely erase an entire disk or partition plus any data which might be stored upon it.

    best free disk cloning software - easeus partition master disk move in-use

    Whilst this free edition of Partition Master is a very capable tool with many disk cloning features included, an upgraded version also exists in the form of Partition Master Pro. This upgraded edition builds upon the free offering and brings with it lots of additional functionality including support for re-sizing dynamic volumes, converting dynamic volumes back to basic volumes, support for Windows storage spaces and also includes tools for building advanced WinPE recovery media amongst many other premium additions.

    EaseUS Partition Master Free is 100% free-to-use whilst the upgraded EaseUS Partition Master Pro is priced from just $39.95 / year with a lifetime licence (with free upgrades included) also available from just $79.95. More information on both editions of Partition Master can be found via the official EaseUS website.

    2) AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard

    AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is a very powerful disk cloning and disk management tool which, as with all of the disk cloning software featured on this page, is also 100% free-to-use.

    best free disk cloning software - aomei partition assistant cloning in-use

    Featuring many useful disk management utilities which are built directly into the software itself, Partition Assistant allows for the direct cloning of disk drives alongside additional functionality for resizing, merging, splitting and formatting of partitions plus additional tools for checking partitions and performing disk surface tests which might also be required during the disk cloning process. Partition Assistant also contains other useful tools including partial use of the disk cloning wizard utility, use of the PC Cleaner tool, the ability to convert between MBR and GPT disks plus the ability to convert between FAT32 and NTFS volumes amongst many other free-to-use features.

    best free disk cloning software - aomei partition assistant cloning wizard in-use

    Also available alongside this free edition of Partition Assistant Standard is the upgraded and fully featured edition of the tool, Partition Assistant Professional. This premium edition builds upon the free-to-use offering and brings with it additional features including support for directly migrating active operating system disks between disk types (e.g., cloning and converting MBR disks to GPT disks), secure SSD erasure tools, full use of the partition wizard migration module plus use of the bootable recovery media tools amongst many other premium additions.

    AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is 100% free-to-use with the upgraded Partition Assistant Professional edition priced from just $49.95 / year or a one-off price of just $69.95 for the perpetual licence including free lifetime upgrades. More information on both editions of Partition Assistant can be found via the official AOMEI website.

    3) DiskGenius (Free Edition)

    DiskGenius is a highly functional and free-to-use disk management utility for Windows PC users. It is a tool which, amongst the many other disk related features and functions on offer, also provides the ability to directly clone hard disks and migrate existing systems across to new disks or SSD drives with ease.

    best free disk cloning software - diskgenius cloning in-use

    Whilst an upgraded premium edition of DiskGenius does also exist, this free version is still very powerful and features many useful disk and partition management features alongside the core disk cloning and disk migration tools which see it feature in this guide to the best free disk cloning software. This means with DiskGenius Free we can split, move, resize, hide and unhide partitions, migrate entire disks to new disks (with SSD 4K optimisation supported), create disk image-based backups of entire disks and partitions to a file and, via the bootable recovery media builder, restore systems from these same disk image backups before booting into windows.

    Other tools included in DiskGenius Free include those for securely wiping entire disk drives, partitions and SSDs, tools for the verification and repair of bad disk sectors, the monitoring of hard drive SMART information plus the ability to convert MBR disks to GPT and vice versa amongst many other included additions.

    best free disk cloning software - diskgenius resize partition in-use

    The upgraded premium edition of DiskGenius, DiskGenius Standard, brings plenty of additional functionality over and above that found in the free edition including sector-by-sector cloning, file and partition recovery tools, support for cloning dynamic disks plus the ability to convert dynamic disks back to basic disks amongst various others.

    DiskGenius Free is 100% free-to-use with the upgraded DiskGenius Standard edition priced from just $69.90 with free lifetime upgrades included. More information on all DiskGenius software can be found via the official DiskGenius website.

    4) MiniTool Partition Wizard Free

    MiniTool Partition Wizard is a comprehensive disk and partition management tool for Windows systems which, as with all of the software featured in this guide, contains many great disk cloning capabilities and is also 100% free to use.

    best free disk cloning software - minitool partition wizard cloning in-use

    Partition Wizard allows both full disks and individual partitions to be cloned to new hardware as well as the resizing, reordering, creating, merging, formatting and splitting of any partitions on the disks as might be necessary as well. Unfortunately, as of this latest version of the tool, MiniTool have set some restrictions on the free version meaning an active system disk cannot be copied nor can such active system disks be migrated directly across to SSD drives or converted from MBR to GPT disk types (along with a few other restrictions present in this current free edition).

    Also available in addition to this limited free edition of the software is MiniTool Partition Assistant Pro, an upgraded edition of the application with many additional features making for a fully-functional disk cloning and disk management tool. Additions which can be found in the Pro edition include support for cloning active system disks and migrating directly to SSD drives (with 4K alignment support), full support for managing dynamic disks, WinPE recovery tools, the ability to convert from NTFS to FAT plus many more disk management utilities making for a big upgrade from the free edition overall.

    best free disk cloning software - minitool partition wizard partition splitting wizard

    MiniTool Partition Wizard is 100% free-to-use with the upgraded Partition Wizard Pro priced from just $59 / year or from $159 for a perpetual licence with free lifetime upgrades included. More information on both the Free and Pro editions of MiniTool Partition Assistant can be found via the official MiniTool website.

    5) DriveImage XML

    DriveImage XML is a powerful yet free to use disk cloning solution for Windows PC users. It is noticeably a very lightweight and streamlined disk cloning application which can be configured for both direct disk to disk cloning tasks as well as the creation of disk image-based backups directly to a file for future use or safekeeping.

    best free disk cloning software - DriveImage XML cloning in-use

    What makes DriveImage XML a great free option for the cloning of disks is that it offers Windows PC users the ability to directly clone between two disks as well as being able to take advantage of disk image-based backups which see an image file of any source disks created which can then be saved for future use (image files which can also be used to recover onto new disks at a later date).

    DriveImage XML also makes use of strong disk image compression technology to maximise any storage space which might be available alongside the use of VSS (hot copy) technology for backing-up or cloning any disks which might currently be in-use on an active system at the time of the operation commencing. DriveImage XML also provides full support for adjusting and resizing disk partitions during the cloning process as and when is necessary to do so.

    DriveImage XML is provided 100% for free for non-commercial use and can be downloaded via the official DriveImage XML website. A commercial version of the software is also available for business orientated and commercial users.

    6) Clonezilla Live CD

    Clonezilla is an open-source disk imaging and disk cloning application which is both 100% free to use and (unlike most other disk cloning software) runs exclusively from a live CD or Live USB flash drive making it a very versatile and portable choice.

    best free disk cloning software - clonezilla cloning in-use

    Clonezilla has many applications including that of cloning a physical hard disk or SSD drive to a secondary disk, making an image-based backup of an entire hard disk, SSD drive or individual partitions which can then be saved to a file and is also useful in deploying new PC hardware thanks to many advanced options including network and server-based deployment functionality.

    Additional functionality which helps to make Clonezilla a great free disk cloning and disk imaging backup choice includes support for applying strong AES 256-bit encryption to any resultant image files plus support for working with many different filesystems (including NTFS, ext2, ext3, ext4, FAT32 plus various MacOS options) amongst various other disk cloning related features and options which are available.

    Clonezilla is 100% free to use and open-source software and can be downloaded via the official Clonezilla website.

    Best Free Disk Cloning Software Summary

    Free disk cloning software has continued to evolve in recent years and some of the top software titles in this category now support performing many basic and even advanced disk cloning operations. In addition to performing many mainstream disk cloning tasks, such titles also provide the ability to make system, disk and partition image-based backups alongside more advanced disk to disk migration options including generally very good support for migration to newer and faster SSD and NVMe drives plus good support for utilising dissimilar hardware across the board as well.

    Many of the software developers providing these free disk cloning software titles also supplement their offerings with upgraded premium editions featuring even more advanced disk cloning functionality alongside other more advanced disk and partition management tools and image-based backup support. Whilst a premium edition of a disk cloning solution is not strictly required to perform a basic cloning operation between two disks (as this guide hopefully shows), such premium software is always worth consideration if you believe your disk cloning requirements will grow or become more advanced and important over time.

    As always, it is often best to try out these free disk cloning software titles before considering any premium upgrades considering the great range of features and functions on offer form such free-to-use cloning software to begin with.

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