Thursday, 9 February 2012

Cloning a Laptop Drive

I recently had cause to replace a laptop hard drive, cloning the contents to avoid having to reinstall all the software on it. Here is a list of the tools used and steps taken:

  1. Clone drive to external USB hard disk using EaseUS® Todo Backup Free 4.0*
  2. Remove old hard drive from laptop and replace with new one.
  3. Clone old drive image from USB to new laptop hard drive using  EaseUS® Todo Backup Free 4.0 (bootable disk).
  4. Boot from Windows install CD and run system repair to fix master boot record (lost as it can't be sector cloned to USB hard drives).
  5. Boot from new hard drive into Windows.
  6. Run chkdsk /r to verify and repair new disk and file system.

* I actually used CloneZilla for this step, as I hadn't yet discovered EaseUS Todo Backup. Image based clones were failing due to the old hard drive physically failing, so a sector-sector clone was completed. CloneZilla could not restore this sector-sector image back from the intermediate drive as it wouldn't clone a 1TB drive back to a 500GB drive (I couldn't find a way to sector clone just the portioned areas of the external drive). EaseUS Todo Backup happily restored only the required partitions back to the new 500GB drive.


  1. Finally! Something on the internet about sector by sector cloning to an external USB drive. I've been looking all over for something talking about whether true cloning to an external USB drive was even possible. Most discussion on cloning mixes it up with imaging. I just got a new PC with the OS on an SSD drive and would prefer to clone the drive rather than image it (just in the event the drive ever goes bad or wears out). Your explanation that it can be done but won't inlude the MBR is useful. But what do you make of this post on the subject: ? Thanks.

    1. No problem - I'm glad I can be of some help! Unfortunately the link you posted isn't working, but best of luck with cloning your drive!


Please leave a comment if you find this blog helpful or interesting! I'd love to hear from you!