By Lily / Last Updated April 20, 2021

Why do we need to clone hard drive?

Cloning a hard drive means to copy all the contents on the drive—the files, the partition tables and the master boot record—to another. The destination drive acts as a simple, direct duplicate. Cloning helps to back up the drive as well as upgrade the drive to a faster drive. Cloning HDD to smaller SSD is one of the most commom ways.

A cloned drive is especially useful when your main drive crashes all of a sudden—you can swap to a cloned drive and be back in action almost immediately. Since it is necessary to clone a hard drive, how to clone it simply and safely?

Why clone hard drive in Command Prompt?

Generally speaking, there are two ways to clone a hard drive to SSD or another HDD, from graphical user interface (GUI) and from command prompt. Both methods have their advantages in different situations. For example, cloning a hard drive using GUI is more popular among users who has less computer experiences. It is clean and direct. However, the command prompt method saves time and effort especially avoids the cubersome clicking steps. That's why it gains more attract from IT experts and advanced users.

How to clone hard drive via Command Prompt in Windows 10/8/7 simply?

Command Prompt is a Windows built-in tool favored by a lot of computer users. I’ll show you how to clone a hard drive using cmd in two different ways. Note that Windows misses the feature of letting diskpart clone disk.

Method 1: Clone hard drive using xcopy program (file/folder level copy)
Method 2: Clone hard drive with AOMEI Backupper.exe (partition/drive level copy)

Method 1: Clone hard drive using xcopy program (file/folder level copy)

xcopy is a program designed to copy files and directories, including subdirectories. You can use xcopy command to copy files from one disk to another even if the two disks have different formats. Learn how to use xcopy to clone drive below:

1. Click “Start” and type “cmd”. Right click on cmd and select “Run as administrator”.

2. Type xcopy c:\ f:\ /s /e /h /i /c /y and press Enter to copy all the files and subdirectories (including any empty subdirectories, any system or hidden files) from drive C to drive F. You may change the drive letters according to your own needs.

xcopy

Note: 
The parameters mean:
● /s: copy directories and subdirectories, unless they are empty. If you omit “/s”, xcopy will work within a single directory.
● /e: copy all subdirectories, even if they are empty.
● /h: copy files with hidden and system file attributes.
● /i: if in doubt always assume the destination is a folder.
● /c: continue copying even if an error occurs.
● /y: suppress prompt to confirm overwriting a file.

3. Wait for the process to be done. Exit Command Prompt.

Method 2: Clone hard drive with AOMEI Backupper.exe (partition/drive level copy)

As you see, xcopy provides a file/folder level copy instead of a partition/drive level copy. The process is time-consuming and error-prone. Is there a simpler way to clone disk via Command Prompt? AOMEI Backupper Professional comes to help.

While some software requires you to clean the disk and create a new partition before cloning, you can directly skip this step using the disk clone software AOMEI Backupper. As a complete, reliable and fast cloning software, it owns many beneficial functions:

System Clone: clone only system-related partitions to another place, including C drive, system reserved partition (MBR disk) and EFI system partition (GPT disk).
✦ Disk Clone: copy all data from one disk to another. The two disks can be of different partition styles and different sizes. That is, you can clone an MBR disk to GPT or clone an SSD to a larger SSD, etc.
✦ Partition Clone: copy a specific partition to another. Various file systems are supported: NTFS, FAT32, FAT16, Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, etc.

Follow the steps below to clone one hard drive to another by AOMEI Backupper:

Step 1. Open Command Prompt as mentioned above.

Step 2. Type cd C:\Program Files (x86)\AOMEI Backupper and press Enter. You should change the path after “cd” with the installation directory of AOMEI Backupper on your computer.

Step 3. Type AMBackup /c /t Disk /s 1 /d 2 and press Enter to clone all the contents from disk 1 to disk 2. You should change the source and destination disks to yours.

Step 4. Type exit and press Enter to exit Command Prompt.

AOMEI Command Line

Tips:
● If you are not sure about the disk numbers of the source and destination disks, run AMBackup /l to list disks and partitions on your computer.
● If the destination disk is an SSD, add “/a” after the command in Step 3, that is AMBackup /c /t Disk /s 1 /d 2 /a, thus using partition alignment to optimize for SSD.
● You will receive a prompt that the destination disk will be completely overwritten before AOMEI Backupper starts clone. Make sure you have backed up your important data first.

AOMEI Backupper also enables you to clone hard drive in Windows 10, 8, 7, XP, Vista with its GUI utility. Just load AOMEI Backupper and click Clone > Disk Clone to complete the process.

Disk Clone

Summary

When you want to clone hard drive via Command Prompt next time, you can either try xcopy program or AOMEI Backupper.exe. With this two tools, you can also clone USB drives via command lines. However, AOMEI Backupper offers a partition/drive level copy while xcopy doesn’t.

Apart from cloning hard drive, it enables you to backup Windows 10 to NAS. If you are looking for portable backup software that can help you create backups on any computer, pick AOMEI Backupper Technician or Technician Plus edition. Go for it right now!