How to Create a Bootable Clone of your Windows 10 Drive

Cloning your Windows 10 boot drive to a new hard drive is not as easy as it might seem. While it’s trivial to copy the majority of your files from one drive to another, copying every single file to a bootable disk will require a separate program. And because the source hard drive can’t be active while it’s being copied, you’ll need to use a cloning program that runs outside of Windows.

Clonezilla Live runs from a separate boot medium like a CD, DVD, or USB drive, allowing you to copy your boot disk. The process is not difficult, but Clonezilla’s lack of a GUI can make it challenging to navigate confidently.

Note: the following method will do a clone of the target hard drive, regardless of the OS it is running. Therefore, it will work for Windows (any version), Linux or even MacOS.

1. Download Clonezilla. Get the version called “stable” with a string of numbers after it.

clonezilla-download-page

2. In the next screen, change the file type from “.zip” to “.iso.” Unless you know you need a 32-bit version of the software, you can leave CPU architecture as “amd64.” Leave the repository set to “auto.” Then, click “Download.”

clonezilla-change zip to iso

3. Insert a blank CD or DVD into your disk drive.

4. Navigate to the downloaded ISO file in Windows Explorer. Right-click on the file and choose “Burn disc image” from the context menu.

burn clonezilla disk image

5. Confirm the correct disk drive is selected, and click “Burn” to burn a bootable version of the ISO to disk.

clonezilla disk image burn button

1. Make sure both your source and destination hard disks are connected to your computer.

2. Reboot your computer.

3. After you hear the single beep to indicate that POST was completed successfully, you will see your BIOS splash screen. At this point, press either the F12 or DEL key (depending on your BIOS) to choose a boot disk. If you’re not sure what to press, look for an on-screen option that says something like “Boot Menu.”

clonezilla-boot-menu

4. Select your DVD drive from the resulting menu.

1. Once Clonezilla Live starts, you’ll see a splash screen. Leave the default and press “Enter” on your keyboard.

clonezilla-splash-screen

2. You’ll see some white text go by indicating that Clonezilla is booting. When it’s done, choose the appropriate language.

clonezilla-select-language

3. Leave the default selection (“Don’t touch keymap”), and press Enter on your keyboard to select.

clonezilla-dont-touch-keymap

4. Some more white text will go by. When you again see a blue and grey screen, press Enter to choose “Start Clonezilla.”

start clonezilla

Now that we’ve initialized everything, we’re ready to clone our disks.

1. On the next screen use the down arrow on your keyboard to select “device-device.” This allows you to clone from one physical hard disk to another physical hard disk.

clonezilla-device-device-mode

2. Press the Enter key to choose “Beginner Mode” which is the default.

clonezilla-beginner-mode

3. On the next screen leave the default selection of “disk_to_local_disk” and press Enter. This setting allows you to clone one physically-connected disk to another physically-connected disk. The other options allow you to clone to network-connected disks or work with partitions.

clonezilla-disk-local-disk

4. Select the source disk and press Enter. I’m using a virtual machine to capture screenshots, so you might see more disks. Your menu will also show different names and capacities. Since any names you’ve applied in Windows won’t typically be visible here, pay close attention to disk capacity and mount point.

clonezilla-change-local-disk-source

5. Select the destination disk and press Enter. Again, you might see more hard drives here.

clonezilla-choose-target-disk

6. Leave the default option to skip checking or repairing the source file system and press Enter.

clonezilla-skip-filesystem-check

7. Press Enter again to actually begin the cloning process.

clonezilla-start-cloning

1. Clonezilla will ask you to confirm that you want to clone the disks, erasing the destination disk in the process. Make sure everything looks correct before typing “y” and pressing Enter.

clonezilla-confirm-before-start

2. Clonezilla really wants you to be sure. Confirm your choices again, then type “y” and press Enter.

clonezilla-confirm-again

3. You’ll see Clonezilla create the partition table on the destination disk.

clonezilla-creating-partition-table

4. When prompted, type “y” and press Enter to confirm that you want to clone the bootloader to the destination drive. The bootloader is what allows the computer to start from a disk; without the bootloader, the drive will not be bootable.

clonezilla-clone-bootloader

5. Finally, the cloning process actually begins! Keep an eye on the progress bars to see how long it will take.

clonezilla-cloning-process

6. When done, Clonezilla will run some self-checks on the cloned drive. Press Enter to continue when prompted.

clonezilla-self-check-cloned-disk

7. In the next menu press Enter to shut down the machine.

clonezilla-power-off

8. After a five-second countdown, Clonezilla will halt itself, and the machine should turn off. If your computer doesn’t shut itself down, you can manually switch it off after you see the line that says [info] Will now halt. You’re done!

clonezilla-halted

After the cloning process is complete, restart your computer and select your newly-cloned disk as your boot drive.

12 comments

  1. Can you clone the drive and put it into another computer of the same type then run a sysprep? I am speaking of cloning a couple machines like the Thinkcentre M73. All are the same SO I wonder is this is a tool I can use.

    Thanks

  2. Yes it is free and yes it works but this product has no business on a site entitled “Make Tech Easier”. Easier it is NOT. There are a few free or low cost cloning programs out there that are far “EASIER”.

  3. Nice well written instructions. I wish I had these a year ago because, I had to figure it out by trial and error. I am using it now to a Networked Share.

  4. 1) Clonezilla steps you show seem like a GUI don’t they?
    2) no mention of source, target drive SIZE. Source should be same or smaller size than target
    3) if target is larger how expand it? Used to be easy in win 7 I couldn’t change it in windows 10
    4) This isn’t new I have am using Clonezilla for YEARS
    5) I copy drive from Source to a large data drive for backup! Work GREAT but creates file of source drive size!
    For multiple drives I build 1st drive on smallest size drive I can find, then was bur larger target drives and expanding
    (until windows 10 that is)
    Oh, had great success on Windows OS but not Linux/Unix OS, use G4L for them!

  5. Another cool Clonezilla trick –

    I was working on a project, I needed Bootcamped Macs. 20 of them.
    CCC is great for cloning macs but couldn’t handle the windows partition.
    Clonezilla, will copy all the data on a disk including partition information and then write that back to the destination machine.
    No need to prep the destination machine in any way.

  6. First, sorry for my poor English… :-)

    Well, Clonezilla is one of my favorite tools… I recently made a ubuntu bootable multi-tool remix and put it on a USB to recover, repair, make diagnostic etc… Clonezilla is one of the top tools and one of the most useful.

    I confess I never tried it on Win10 but in many years it never disappointed me or failed. Clonezilla has also a very rich console interface: from the console you can run testdisk, use dd, ddrescue parted, cfdisk, nano, badblocks and many other tools. The only thing I would appreciate is Gparted. Some years ago somebody made a project about this, but it’s a very old and abandoned project.

    Clonezilla is affordable, solid software, a great project I hope they keep on developing. Most of all, the Ubuntu based version is secure boot compatible, so you can run it easily from any PC.

  7. After scrolling for what seemed an eternity merely to gauge likely “level of difficulty” i conclude that this is unlikely to be “easy”.
    Some have questioned it’s functionality on Windows 10. If correct that is enough to indicate the SW is not genuinely mature & suitable for relatively inexperienced users.
    Critically important I would have thought is the ability too use a SSD as the target drive .

  8. The above definitely does not look easy to me. Further, you can’t use Windows while you’re cloning. Further, it won’t clone an ecrypted disc. Enter Casper Secure Drive backup 4.2. I’ve used regular Casper (along with AOMEI Backupper) to clone discs within Win 7 and Win 10 x64 with excellent and consistent results. The problem: Should you have a disc locked with Bitlocker or Symantec Desktop Ecryption (Opal 2.0), you have to unlock the encryption (note: not decrypt) and the resulting clone will be bootable, but not encrypted. You’ll have to go through the whole encrypting process for the clone. Casper Secure Drive so far is the only cloning software that will clone a bitlocker and PGP encrypted drive producing an exact bootable clone that is ALREADY ENCRYPTED. I’ve done this in Win 10 and Win 7 x64, but have only used the trial version (30 days) which does not allow resizing, unlike the full version. The other problem: it costs 129 bucks. Still, it does what no other software can do, and I’ve looked.

  9. Wow. Is this article outdated. Casper 10 cloning, even the old version 8, can clone windows 10 by using volume shadow copy, so you can truly create a clone while in windows AND while STILL continuing to work. OK, the new work you’re doing during the clone won’t be cloned, but everything done at the time of the clone will be done. I’ve created immediate bootable discs this way in Windows 7 x64 and Windows 10 x64, both in home and Pro versions.

    Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Because I seriously doubt that even Clonezilla can do the following: Clone an encrypted drive (secured either with Symantec Desktop Encryption aka PGP aka Opal 2.0, or secured with Microsoft Bitlocker) to another drive, and the cloned drive is ALSO ENCRYPTED! And all this can be done on the fly while you’re still working in windows. I’ve done this with the trial version of Casper Secure Disc 4.2 (different and more costly than just Casper 8 or Casper 10) and it absolutely works. The downside: $129. But, if you’re wanting instantly bootable encrypted clones, it is your ONLY choice.

    Please, get this article updated. Even AOMEI Backupper can clone for free while in Windows, but it can’t clone encrypted volumes.

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