Right now, I have a 120GB SSD in my Thinkpad with only one W7 partition, but want to replace it with a bigger, 256GB one. I also have a 500GB external USB 3.0 hard drive at my disposal.

In order to retain all my data and apps, I would like to clone the partition from the old SSD to the new one, and thought about this workflow: First, I clone from the old SSD to my external hard drive. Then I swap the SSDs and clone back from the external hard drive to my new SSD. I don't want to buy an USB case for the SSD or something like this... And I don't want to use Acronis True Image as I am sure there are very good and, most importantly, free open source programs. What do you recommend and is my workflow possible?

2 Answers 2


You can try Clonezilla Live but that has a learning curve as compared to other proprietary available alternatives.

Somebody formulated a guide for sake of ease.

  • 1
    Clonezilla should work, but keep in mind that it won't clone to a smaller drive, so the 120 GB -> 500 GB -> 256 GB scenario will fail. But you can create an image of 120 GB drive on the 500 GB one and then restore that image, this way the disk will never be cloned to the 500 GB one.
    – gronostaj
    Dec 12, 2013 at 10:39
  • I just figured out that my external drive doesn't have the size of 500GB but of 250GB, so even because 250GB < 256GB, it doesn't work? And what do you mean by creating an image, isn't that the same as cloning? And could I create this image with the usual Windows 7 tools (I used them to create image backups...)?
    – grssnbchr
    Dec 12, 2013 at 13:17
  • Why are you backing up to external hard drive? Why don't you backup to the new hard drive? The requirement is that you should have the newer disk of equal or larger size. You might need a USB drive in order to boot Clonezilla but even that isn't necessary. You can put the Clonezilla files on the new drive and once you boot from that, they are loaded into RAM and aren't needed anymore. Make sure you distinguish between source and destination drive. Visit this for complete guide clonezilla.org/show-live-doc-content.php?topic=clonezilla-live/…
    – Majid Khan
    Dec 12, 2013 at 15:04
  • @MajidKhan How would I do this without being able to connect the new hard drive to my notebook? As I said, I don't want to buy a USB case for the SSD.
    – grssnbchr
    Dec 13, 2013 at 8:34
  • The other question is: Would it be possible with W7 image recovery tools? I.e. backing up an image of the old drive to an external hard drive, then attach the new SSD, install Windows 7, enter recovery mode (or how it is called) and restore the old partition from the external hard drive?!
    – grssnbchr
    Dec 13, 2013 at 8:36

There are a few ways you could go about cloning your disks. It don't generally use any specific software to do the backup as I don't generally trust them. I use Unix for this kind of stuff.

The easiest way is to use a Linux live CD/USB and using the dd command. You can do all your partitioning (if any) using the gparted tool in the Linux Live system.

Use sudo fdisk -l or sudo lsblk to list connected hard disks to find your current SSD, your new SSD and your external drive. Make note of the device 'sd' number.

Clone a Disk: dd if=/dev/sdX of=/dev/sdY bs=4096 conv=notrunc,noerror where X is your current SSD and Y is your new / destination SSD. You can use dd to block copy a disk to a file, however I wouldn't like to recommend that unless you were more familiar with the dd tool.

I've just installed 'EaseUS Todo Backup' (Freeware) for Windows and it's looks like it will do backups as well as direct disk to disk cloning. I've used tools from EaseUS before and they've all been very good (and free). I'm actually trying out a backup of my SSD now... enter image description here

  • What about the external hard drive? Did you read my question? And I'd rather use software than screwing up things in the Windows cmd.
    – grssnbchr
    Dec 12, 2013 at 10:19
  • Sorry, I did read your question but I should have been more clear. In the above example the '/imagefile:E:\capture.wim' was assuming E: as the letter to your external drive. You said you didn't want to use free open source programs so I ruled any Linux method out and instead gave you a native Windows based method to clone your disk. Honestly though, the Linux dd command would be perfect for this kind of job.
    – Robula
    Dec 12, 2013 at 10:29
  • I wrote " And I don't want to use Acronis True Image as I am sure there are very good and, most importantly, free open source programs" -- never mind, do you know any Linux, USB-bootable tools?
    – grssnbchr
    Dec 12, 2013 at 13:16
  • I've updated my answer. I'm not aware of any standalone tools that provide this functionality (RIP PartitionMagic), however most Linux Live CDs will fit on a USB stick just fine. I personally use Ubuntu x64 straight from USB and use gparted/dd from there. I'll keep looking.
    – Robula
    Dec 12, 2013 at 13:57
  • In your answer you assume that both SSDs are attached at the same time, but how should this be possible if I can only attach one at a time (without using an USB port, as I said.)?
    – grssnbchr
    Dec 13, 2013 at 8:37

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