How to clone a Windows 10 installation to new drive using Clonezilla

You can upgrade your current hard drive without the need to reinstall Windows 10 using Clonezilla to transfer everything to the new drive, and here's how to do it.

Clone Windows 10 drive using Clonezilla
Clone Windows 10 drive using Clonezilla

Clonezilla is a free tool based on Linux explicitly designed for drive cloning containing any data, similar to Macrium Reflect. It accomplishes this by copying all the bits on a drive to another equal or larger drive.

If you run Windows 10, you can also use Clonezilla to migrate the current installation with all your settings, apps, and files to a new equal, larger, or faster drive without reinstalling the operating system. Or you can use Clonezilla as a backup tool before changing your current setup.

In this guide, you will learn the steps to use Clonezilla to clone a hard drive with an installation of Windows 10 to another drive.

Warning: Although this is a non-destructive process, changing a drive has risks. As such, use these instructions carefully and at your own risk. If you plan to replace a hard drive, creating a backup of your data is also good before proceeding. You have been warned.

Clone Windows 10 to SSD or HDD using Clonezilla

Although using Clonezilla to make an exact copy of a drive on a new drive is a straightforward process, you must follow some preparation and specific steps.

The steps below will guide you with everything you need to know, including connecting a new hard drive, downloading and creating a bootable media to use Clonezilla, the cloning process, and even the steps to ensure that you are using the entire available space after the process.

Connect clone drive

After reducing the volume size, you can connect the new drive to the motherboard. The process to connect a traditional HDD, SSD, and M.2 drives will differ per manufacturer and computer model. As such, check your computer manufacturer’s support website for more specific details.

You can connect a drive using a USB adapter but shouldn’t use an external drive as you cannot use it as a boot drive. However, you can use a USB external drive you intend to create a backup, which you will be able to restore to the same or different drive.

Create Clonezilla bootable media

Before you can clone a drive, you must download the Clonezilla ISO file and create a bootable media to use the tool.

The easiest approach to create a Clonezilla bootable media is to use the ISO with Rufus, a third-party tool designed to create bootable USB flash drives.

You could download the Clonezilla zip file, but if you make a mistake using the instructions, it can break your current installation.

Use these steps to download and create a Clonezilla bootable USB flash drive:

Download Clonezilla ISO file

To download the Clonezilla ISO file, use these steps:

  1. Open Clonezilla download page.

  2. In step 2, select the ISO option as the file type.

  3. Click the Download button.

    Clonezilla ISO download

After you complete the steps, you can use Rufus to create a USB bootable media.

Create Clonezilla bootable USB with Rufus

To create a bootable media, connect a USB flash drive with at least 4GB of storage, and then use these steps:

  1. Open Rufus’ website.

  2. Under the “Download” section, click the download link for the latest version.

  3. Double-click the file to launch the tool.

  4. Select the USB flash drive from the “Device” section.

  5. Click the Select button.

  6. Select the Clonezilla ISO file.

  7. Click the Open button.

  8. Click the Start button.

    Clonezilla USB bootable media using Rufus

Create Clonezilla bootable USB with Tuxboot

Alternatively, you can create a Clonezilla USB with the Tuxboot open-source app with these steps:

  1. Download tuxboot from SourceForge. (Select the latest stable version available.)

  2. Double-click the tuxboot-x.x.x.exe file.

  3. Click the Yes button to bypass the warning.

  4. Select the “On-Line Distribution” option.

  5. Use the drop-down menu and select the Clonezilla-live-stable option.

  6. Select the USB Drive option from the “Type” setting.

  7. Select the flash drive from the “Drive” setting.

    Create Clonezilla USB with Tuxboot

  8. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, before starting your device with the tool, you need to ensure that your device can boot from USB.

Typically, you will need to access your device’s Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) or Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) by hitting one of the function keys (F1, F2, F3, F10, or F12), the ESC, or the Delete key during boot.

Once inside the firmware, look for the Boot section and make sure the boot order is set to the drive that contains the Windows 10 installation files and do not forget to save the configuration.

The BIOS/UEFI can differ depending on the manufacturer and per computer model. As such, check your manufacturer support website for more specific instructions.

Clone Windows 10 using Clonezilla

To use Clonezilla to clone a Windows 10 installation to a new SSD or large HDD, use these steps:

  1. Start computer with the bootable media.

  2. Select the Clonezilla live option and press Enter.

    Clonezilla boot launch experience

  3. Choose your language and press Enter.

    Clonezilla language selection

  4. Select the “Keep option to stay with default keyboard layout” option and press Enter.

    Keyboard layout settings

  5. Choose the “Start_Clonezilla” option and press Enter.

    Start Clonezilla experience

  6. Select the “device_device” option and press Enter.

    Clonezilla device to device option

  7. Choose the “Beginner mode” option and press Enter.

    Clonezilla beginner mode

  8. Select the “disk_to_local_disk local_disk_to_local_disk_clone” option and press Enter.

    Clone disk to local disk option

  9. Choose the (source) drive containing the data you want to clone to another drive and press Enter.

    Important: If you don’t specify this option correctly, you can wipe out the wrong drive.

    Selecting source drive for cloning

  10. Select the (destination) drive, the empty drive you want to replace (or backup storage), and press Enter.

    Select destination cloning drive

  11. Choose the “sfsck” option to skip the checking and repairing the source system files and press Enter.

    Clonezilla, skip check and repair of the source disk option

  12. Select the action to perform after the cloning is complete. Options available include “choose,” “reboot,” or “poweroff.” (You can select any option.)

    Clonezilla action after cloning options

  13. Press Enter to continue.

  14. Type “Y” and press Enter to confirm the cloning process.

  15. Type “Y” and press Enter again to re-confirm that the process will be erased in the destination drive.

  16. Type “Y” and press Enter to close the boot loader, which is the code that makes the Windows 10 drive bootable.

    Clonezilla confirmation questions

Once you complete the steps, Clonezilla will clone the data (bit-by-bit) from the source to the destination drive.

After the process is complete, replace the old with the new drive on your computer or remove the cloned drive if this is a backup.

Expanding cloned drive

If the clone drive is larger than the original drive you replaced, you will need to use the “Disk Management” app to expand the volume to make the additional space usable.

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for Disk Management and click the top result to open the app.

  3. Right-click the volume (C:) and select the Extend Volume option.

    Windows 10 extend volume settings

  4. Click the Next button.

  5. Select the disk with the space you want to allocate (usually the default settings).

  6. Click the Next button.

    Extend volume wizard on Windows 10

  7. Click the Finish button.

Once you complete the steps, the main volume on the drive should expand using the unallocated space, making the storage size bigger.

Move recovery partition 

If you can’t expand the main partition because the recovery partition is on the right, you will need to use a third-party tool like GParted to move the partition to the end of the drive.

Warning: Although this process works, there’s a that it might break the installation. Use these instructions at your own risk.
  1. Start your computer with the GParted USB drive

  2. Select the “GParted Live (Default settings)” option and press Enter.

    Start GParted

  3. Select the “Don’t touch keymap” option and press Enter.

    GParted keymap settings

  4. Select your preferred language and press Enter.

    Select a language to start GParted

  5. Select “0” and press Enter.

    Start GParted with graphical UI

  6. Select the drive with the partition to move from the top-right drop-down menu.

  7. Select the recovery partition and click the “Resize/Move” button.

  8. Click and drag the partition to the end of the drive (right).

    Move recovery partition

  9. Click the “Resize/Move” button.

  10. Click the Apply button.

  11. Click the Yes button.

  12. Click the Close button.

After you complete the steps, you can use the previous steps to expand the installation partition with available space on the drive.

We are focusing this guide on moving an existing installation of Windows 10 with apps, settings, and your personal files to a new drive to replace a hard drive or for backup purposes, but you can clone any drive with any data.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].