How to Clone a Hard Drive on Windows 11/10

One of the biggest pain when using Windows is when it crashes, and then you need to reinstall everything. The OS, Applications, Sync Cloud Drives, and so many other things. The bitter part is that it never ends because there is always something that is left. This is where cloning comes into the picture, which can fix this problem. This post will guide you on how you can clone a hard drive in Windows 11/10.

What is Coning a Hard Drive?

Cloning is a sector-by-sector copy of your existing hard drive, creating a replica that can be used again. You can also use the cloned drive to create more copies and installed them into more PCs.

A cloned drive contains everything that is installed on the parent OS. It includes applications, software, files, user accounts, and more. When it is cloned and used again, it deploys the same set everywhere. This makes it perfect for deploying multiple computers in an Enterprise.

How to Clone a Hard Drive on Windows 11/10

How to Clone a Hard Drive on Windows 11/10

  1. Open Run prompt, type Control, and press the Enter key to open Control Panel.
  2. Find Backup and Restore and click to open.
  3. On the left panel, click on Create a System Image linkCreate System Image Clone
  4. It will then ask you to select the destination of the system image—external hard disk, DVDs, or a network location.
  5. Click Next, and it will then display a summary, total storage space, and list of drives that will be backed up, including the EFI System Partition.Start Create System Image
  6. Click on the Start backup button to initiate System Image creation. It will backup the drives in sequence and create an image that you can use to restore.Saving System Image Backup

Interesting to note that the method used by Windows doesn’t create an ISO or a standard system image but creates a folder with the name WindowsImageBackup where everything is kept. Windows uses Virtual Hard Disk along with other files to restore PC.

Once the process completes, it will prompt if you would like to create a system repair disc. It’s a good idea to create it as it will help you boot your computer if it becomes corrupt or all you get is a BSOD. The repair disc also contains Windows system recovery tools to help recover Windows from a serious error to reimage your computer from a system image.

What is System Image?

Cloned Harddrive is also called System Image. It is a copy of the drives required for Windows to run. It can also include additional drives. You can use the system image to restore the computer if your hard drive or computer every store working. However, it limits that you cannot select individual items to restore.

How to Restore Using the Windows System Image?

System Image can only be used outside the OS, and the Windows Advanced Startup section offers a way to use it. You can use the Recovery USB to boot into the advanced recovery. Using the menu, you can select Advanced Options > System Image Recovery.

Make sure the drive is connected so the wizard can pick up the location of the System Image and restore the PC. You will not get any option to select a file.

Is the System Image the Same as Backup?

No. On a system level, it’s completely different. Because while System Image is a sector-by-sector copy, backup is simply a copy of files and folders you select. Also, the System image is never updated but created from the search, while backup can be incremental.

Lastly, System Image can be used to be brought back a crashed system, while backup can only restore once the system is ready.

What Can a System Image Backup Do?

It can transfer PC, can be used to switch hard drives, and also install the same setup on multiple computers. It is probably the fastest way to recover Windows PC.

When Do You Need to Create a System Image Backup?

While it can be created anytime, the best time to create is when you think the system is stable, have freshly set up for use, or plan a major upgrade and want a backup in place.

When to Use a System Image Backup?

It can be used in various situations such as a PC crash, upgrading multiple computers using the same image. Using this, you can completely restore your PC, Settings, and applications.

Does Cloning a Drive Make It Bootable?

When you create a system image of a live system disk, the resulting disk also becomes bootable. Notice that it copies the EFI System Partition making the drive bootable when you create a system image.

Is It Better to Clone or Fresh Install SSD?

If you don’t have a problem with your existing state of Windows, then it’s better to clone the OS and restore it whenever you need it. It will be a lot faster compared to a fresh install followed by a full setup.

Is Cloning Faster Than Copying?

Yes, it is. Since it is reading and writing sectors, it will always be faster compared to copying files. Cloning a 60 GB system is always faster than copying that amount of data.

Which Third-Party Software Can Be Used Top Clone?

There are many, and most of them are free. Software such as Clonezilla, Macrium Software Reflect Free, DriveImage XML can be used to create a system image.

I hope the post was easy to follow, and you are now able to Clone a Hard Drive on Windows 11/10.

Ashish Mohta
A die-hard fan of Windows, PC Gaming, and Xbox. He is a seasoned content writer with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He is a specialist in writing about Windows, software reviews, troubleshooting Windows, and automation.


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