Disk cloning software...free?

and not that borked ass piece of shit clone zilla, i thought i was fan till i saw how broken it can be. plus having to live boot is a PITA. anything free and decent that can run on windows?

EDIT: i’m trying this one

MAN i really need a crappy old USB3/eSata laptop that i can install these cloners and firmware updaters too. i’m sure this free stuff has god knows what in it.

Most of the bigger labels give you free tools, maybe they’re not the coolest or most flexible. Just used the Samsung data migration wizard for upgrading a couple older laptops with new 860 Pro SSDs.

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dd is free

not windows though

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Yeah but wouldn´t it be possible to just boot linux from a usb stick.
And then still use dd to clone the drives that have windows on them?


I use Macrium reflect for windows. AFAIK, it is the only free one that can clone from a larger disk to a smaller disk while the OS is booted.


That will be your issue. When Windows is booted you won’t have access to certain sectors and files, so you won’t be able to do a perfect 1:1 clone copy of a disk.

1:1 cloning requires an unmounted device.

Pretty much what Clonezilla does with a sort-of-GUI.

Used it a few times, never had issues with it.

OP should probably state what the issues with Clonzilla are in the first place.


That’s all I ever do when I need to clone a drive. Just have to VERY careful with the drive selections. More so if you are in terminal. But it always works for me. Also works well when I have a drive that won’t format correctly. Boot Linux. Use dd to write some zeros at the beginning to wipe the partition table. All of sudden the drive wants to format the entire capacity.

My goto for drive cloning is to boot a Linux Mint Live installer and just run DD. Works great for Physical to Physical, Physical to Img file, and Img to VHD/Virtual HDD (I do this for VMs sometimes). I do sometimes install the AOMEI backupper standard install via Chocolatey when a customer doesn’t want to pay for, or is deciding on a backup option just so they have something.


This. Although I don’t use DD. Use the gnome disks utility which is baked into the os (just type disks into the start menu).

This gives a GUI of all your drives. Select the drive you want to clone and use the hamburger button at the top of the window to create a disk image. You will need a third drive to store the image to enable restore later, but if cloning a small drive it’s fine.

The advantage of this method is it creates a copy of the drive in full that you can just open and mount. Really handy if you have a failing disk and need to get access to the data but don’t want to waste a whole drive for that data. I just store them on my NAS.

You can also mount a network drive and store the image there directly. I think I did that once with gnome-disks-utility.

I’ve used the Samsung utility last time I had to clone a system. It comes “free” with the purchase of a Samsung SSD. Sooooo probably not that free but buying a Samsung SSD is not too unlikely I think.

I personally have two 2.5 inch front bays in my system so I can just put both SSDs in threre and then I just direct attach them to a Hyper-V VM usually running linux and then I just do the gnome disk backup route.

HDClone does it from within Windows, so it’s possible

that’s an assumption! that’s assuming your booting windows of either drive! i merely have windows pc handy when i have to clone a drive. i’d rather pop both drive in the toaster and click a few buttons, instead rifling around fora usb dvd or usb drive, reachroung around for a free usb port, rebooting, etc etc PITA.

i’d be easier to just pop in 2 mismatched drives sizes in the toaster and launch a clone util in windows and watch youtube while it clones or walk away. hell maybe i could even fix my broken linux tower in my free time.

clone zilla doesn’t play ball with mismatched drive sizes or fucks up the boot loader. to be fair ghost 11 fucks up the bootloader but, it’s pre windows 8 let alone windows 10, especially with GPT. though ghost does quite well with mismatched drives. ghost also does great with dying drives too. just not EFI/Secureboot / GPT

yeah samsung auto selects the drive. and since my windows host has a samsung it tries to clone from the hosts C drive to the new samsung SSD instead of from the old HDD to the new samsung SSD.

the western digital cloner is way nicer. if you have a WD HDD in the system anywhere it will let you clone to and from any drive.

yeah i’ve run vmware player in lubuntu on my linux box (before i fed up the bios and gotto lazy to fix it) and i have run norton ghost from my xp vm a few times. it’s real nice cause if a dying drive is acting up and slowing down the host and casuing hangs, it will slow down the VM and not the actual/box host.

AOMIE also does hot cloning, IE clone you PC you want to clone WHILE it is running! never tested it, don’t care to, since i have this very windows box running 24/7.

EDIT: i may stick with AOMEI or pay for EaseUS or Acronis or something.

Clonezilla will play ball just fine, you need to be sure to select the right options though.

Now, if it fucks up the bootloader, that’s probably a Windows problem. the Windows bootloader is a mess to begin with.


AH-HA! i just need to suck it up and get a paid program. in this blog post you linked he had to manually resize. so i need a something that is smart enough to verify the boot loader and be able to resize partitions like ghost does.

that is a nice bit of info you linked though! i do appreciate that! that’s some nice nuts and bolts info right there!

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So I’ve don’t probably 30 resizes from 500gb to 250gb disks when upgrading laptops for the robotics team I advise. They were all on windows 7 (was like 3 years ago now I think) and I never had a single issue of clonezilla fucking up the bootloader or failing the clone when the improper options were selected

What I will do though, is try it with windows 10 to see if there’s something different happening. If I can pinpoint the problem, I’ll file a bug report or try to fix it myself.

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indeed 10 is a new ball games, i’ve never had a lick of trouble from ghost despite it’s age with windows 7. at least that i can remember. 9.9 times out of time i can count on win 7 being an MBR non secure boot.

with ghost you click and go, it does all the volume resizing and work for you. you can even use /F /R /O arguments on a dying drive and it will skip past any complaints or errors it can’t rectify.

win 10 is a sometimes, it CAN be an MBR style non secure boot but, that’s the exception not the the rule 9 or 8.5 times out of 10 it’s GPT Secure boot.

there are also other factors, the system i just clone wouldn’t clone the bootloader properly (BSOD) just like clonezilla did in the past. it could be this drive is dying but, has a clean SMART report. could just be the secure boot.

i’ll have try clonezilla again, especially with 7 if i’m on a linux machine.

Is there a reason you struggle with dislike/don’t get on with live USB’s?
You could use a live USB of a full fat Linux distro, and use disk imaging/copying software in the GUI of it is the CLI/text mode that is putting you off?

I am partial to a live USB with an internet connection to get gparted, as I can watch YT or whatever as I copy paste, without having to go off while I wait.

[edit: clarity, just wondered what puts you off the clonezilla suite]

yeah in my earlier response i don’t have very good access to usb ports. think navy submarine cramped or Japanese apartment. especially if i’m wiped out after work and helping a friend out i just wanna be able slot the drive in the toaster/dock, hit the power button on the dock and open an app in windows and click clone.

not save stuff, shutdown, feel around for the port on the side, try to plug it in, fail , flip the drive around, try again , fail flip the drive over again, slot it in, open the lid, feel for the power button. close the lid, live boot, clone, reboot again. fiddle with the screen settings cause i opened the lid to power it on. etc etc

if i had space i’d easily have a dedicated cloning rig, no muss no fuss.

EDIT: though thinking about it, surprised no one called me an idiot for not booting the live boot in a VM and do usb pass through. the last i check with vmware player you just click a single button for passthrough.

Huh, in that case I would probably splash out for a hardware device to do it for me, but not all markets are the same, and some of us have space for junk.

just bumping macrium reflect but it was a basic ass windows copy paste i did years ago. side note mega suspect sata to usb can be purchased on ebay for like $15 but ive killed 0 hdd thus far

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