Best drive cloning software


If you’re in the process of upgrading to a new hard drive, be that an SSD or traditional hard disk, copying the data off your old one is best done using cloning software.

That’s especially true if the existing drive contains your Windows installation, as it’s impossible to copy that across manually. Plus, all your apps and data will also be cloned to the new drive and – for the vast majority of the time – everything will work perfectly, and you shouldn’t have to re-activate Windows.

There are free and paid-for options, and some are better than others. One of the main features you should look out for is the ability to clone a larger-capacity drive to a smaller one as it’s common for an SSD to have less storage than your old hard disk.

Big-to-small cloning isn’t magic, though: you’ll still have to delete or copy off enough files so the remaining data will physically fit on the new drive. It’s simply that some cloning software won’t shrink partitions to fit, even if there’s a lot of free space.

Bear in mind that cloning software is often included when you buy an SSD, so that’s something to look for if you’ll need to clone an old drive.

Another alternative is a physical hard disk duplicator. These work independently of a PC and don’t cost the earth. Inateck’s 2-bay cloner costs £32.99 from Amazon, and it’s US$38.99 from Amazon.com.

But if you’re specifically after drive cloning software, here’s a selection of the best.

Paragon Drive Copy 12 Professional

Paragon Drive Copy 12 Professional

Acronis Disk Director 12

Acronis Disk Director 12

Paragon Migrate OS

Paragon Migrate OS

Macrium Reflect Free v7

Macrium Reflect Free v7

EaseUS Todo Backup Free

EaseUS Todo Backup Free



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