How to clone a Windows 11 to new SSD or HDD with Clonezilla

You can use Clonezilla to clone a Windows 11 installation to another drive, and here's how to do it.

Windows 11 clone to new SSD or HDD
Windows 11 clone to new SSD or HDD

You can clone a Windows 11 installation drive to another Solid-State Drive (SSD) or Hard Disk Drive (HDD) for free using Clonezilla without reinstallation. Clonezilla is a free, open-source Linux application designed to clone virtually any drive with any data. The application accomplishes this by copying all the bits on a drive to another equal or larger drive.

If you have a device running Windows 11, you can use Clonezilla to transfer the installation with the settings, apps, and files to a new (faster) SSD or HDD that is equal to or larger than the original drive without reinstallation. Or another scenario where Clonezilla can come in handy is to clone a drive as a backup before making system changes.

In this guide, you will learn how to use Clonezilla to clone an installation of Windows 11 to another drive.

Warning: This is a non-destructive process, but changing the system drive can still be risky. 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 11 to SSD or HDD with Clonezilla

The cloning process is straightforward, but you still need some preparation. For example, you must connect the new drive to the computer, create a Clonezilla bootable USB media, complete the cloning process, and reconfigure the hard drive to ensure you use the entire available space.

Connect clone drive

Connecting a traditional HDD, SSD, and NVMe M.2 drives will vary per manufacturer and computer model. To complete this task, check your computer manufacturer’s support website for more specific details.

You shouldn’t use an external USB drive because it can’t be set as a boot device. However, you can use an external drive to create a backup.

Create Clonezilla bootable media

The most straightforward approach to creating a USB bootable media is to use the Clonezilla ISO file with Rufus, a third-party tool designed to create bootable USB flash drives for Windows 11 and other platforms.

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

To download and create a Clonezilla bootable USB flash drive, use these steps:

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 for cloning, connect a USB flash drive with at least 4GB of storage, and 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 with the “Device” drop-down menu.

  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

You can also create a Clonezilla USB with the Tuxboot 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. Select the clonezilla_live_stable option with the “On-Line Distribution” drop-down menu.

  6. Select the USB Drive option with the “Type” drop-down menu.

  7. Select the flash drive with the “Drive” drop-down menu.

    Create Clonezilla USB with Tuxboot

  8. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, you need to make sure that the device can boot from USB before you start your device with the tool.

Usually, you will need to access the 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, find the “Boot” section, ensure the boot order is set to the Windows 11 drive, and save the configuration.

The firmware can be different depending on the manufacturer and computer model. As such, check your manufacturer support website for more specific instructions.

Clone Windows 11 to new drive using Clonezilla

To use Clonezilla to clone Windows 11 to a new SSD or HDD, use these steps:

  1. Start the 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 to replace or backup storage), and press Enter.

    Select destination cloning drive

  11. Choose the sfsck option to skip checking and repairing and press Enter.

    Clonezilla, skip check and repair of the source disk option

  12. Select the action to perform after the cloning is complete, including “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 reconfirm that the process will delete everything on the destination drive.

  16. Type Y and press Enter to close the boot loader, the code that makes the Windows 11 drive bootable.

    Clonezilla confirmation questions

Once you complete the steps, Clonezilla will clone the data from the source (Windows 11 drive) to the destination drive.

After the process, either replace the old with the new drive on the computer or remove it to store it as a backup.

Reconfiguring cloned drive

If the drive you cloned has more capacity than the original drive, use the “Disk Management” app to expand the volume to make the additional space usable.

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Storage.

  3. Under the “Storage management” section, click on Advanced storage settings.

  4. Click on Disks & volumes.

    Open Disks & volumes

  5. Select the Windows 11 volume and click the Properties option.

    Open drive properties

  6. Click the Change size button.

    Change size clone drive

  7. Specify the “Max” value in the New (MB) field.

    Windows 11 expand cloned drive

  8. Click the OK button.

Once you complete the steps, the main Windows 11 volume on the drive will expand using the unallocated space.

Move recovery partition 

If you can’t expand the primary partition because the recovery partition is on the way, you must 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 language and press Enter.

    Select a language to start GParted

  5. Select 0 and press Enter.

    Start GParted with graphical UI

  6. Use the drop-down menu in the top-right corner to select the drive with the partition to move.

  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.

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].