I have two 2 TB external USB hard drives, call them HD1 and HD2. HD1 is USB 2, HD2 is USB 3. Each drive contains exactly one NTFS partition.

I want to clone HD1 to HD2, because it's newer and much, much faster.

What's the best way to do this? I don't want to do a copy-and-paste, I want to clone the whole partition. The new drive is actually a few bytes larger, so this should be possible?

I don't have a second drive that can hold the image, so it would have to clone directly to the other disk (not to a file). How can I accomplish this on Windows 7?

I know about Clonezilla but I would prefer not to have to boot from a CD or anything, as I don't have the capability to do that right now. I want to know if there's a way to do this while running Windows.

  • You might be able to live boot into a Linux system and use something like GParted. I hear there are Linux live boot systems that can run within Windows now... but I'd be concerning about copying file from a partition in active use. The state of the drive can/will be changing as you're copying (unless it uses shadow copying maybe)... – Jeff B Dec 13 '12 at 18:59
  • @JeffBridgman: Since we're dealing with external drives only here, any cloning program should be able to dismount the volume if required. – Karan Dec 13 '12 at 20:41
  • Ah, sorry for not reading the question a bit better! – Jeff B Dec 13 '12 at 20:48

You can use XCOPY. I made this specifically for this use. copy the following code and paste it into notepad then save it as "Backup.bat" run it and do as it asks. It is a very powerful backup and will backup everything in the drive.

@echo off
echo Enter Source Directory (Show Full File Path)
set /p sourcedir=
echo Enter Destination Directory (Show Full File Path)
set /p backupdir=
echo Enter Destination Folder Name (Name of folder that data will be saved to)
set /p destfolder=
set backupcmd=xcopy /e /h /f /y /v /c /i /r /g /k /d
%backupcmd% "%sourcedir%\*.*" "%backupdir%\%destfolder%"
attrib -s -h "%backupdir%\%destfolder%"
@timeout /t 3
  • 1
    I said I don't want to copy and paste. I want a true clone. – user156342 Dec 13 '12 at 18:10
  • Thats not copy and paste. It is an exact clone. Trust me – JustinD Dec 13 '12 at 18:10
  • Just type the first drive i.e. D:\ then destination, your faster drive i.e. E:\ then type a destination folder i.e. DATA then it will copy your entire drive to your new one, with hidden files and system files, everything on there will be coppied – JustinD Dec 13 '12 at 18:12
  • Or just leave the last option blank and it will not create that extra folder – JustinD Dec 13 '12 at 18:13
  • 4
    "I deleted the OS then copied it back and it worked" - AFAIK xcopy simply cannot copy the bootloader, so I bet if you tried to restore the OS' files to a new HDD or an old one with the bootloader removed, it would no longer boot. – Karan Dec 13 '12 at 20:35

Along the lines of Simon's answer, there's another pay option Acronis TrueImage that can do disk imaging (they have a free trial, I believe).

Another alternative is to run a liveboot system (like CloneZilla or GParted) inside a VM, using VirtualBox for example (VirtualBox is free). Or you could try to run a Linux distro inside Windows directly through some other means (example). In either case, there are plenty of Linux tools that will allow you to clone a drive (dd, GParted, etc).

  • 1
    For that matter there's dd for Windows, although I've never used it. – Karan Dec 13 '12 at 22:51

O&O Disk Image (which is a paid application)


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