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 the steps 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, it’s also good to create a backup of your data 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 will need to 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 are using the entire available space.
Connect clone drive
Connecting a traditional HDD, SSD, and NVMe M.2 drives will vary per manufacturer and computer model. You must check your computer manufacturer support website for more specific details to complete this task.
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:
Open Clonezilla download page.
In step No. 2, select the ISO option as the file type.
Click the Download button.
After you complete the steps, you can proceed to 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:
Open Rufus website.
Under the “Download” section, click the download link for the latest version.
Double-click the file to launch the tool.
Select the USB flash drive with the “Device” drop-down menu.
Click the Select button.
Select the Clonezilla ISO file.
Click the Open button.
Click the Start button.
Create Clonezilla bootable USB with Tuxboot
You can also create a Clonezilla USB with the Tuxboot app with these steps:
Download tuxboot from SourceForge. (Select the latest stable version available.)
Double-click the tuxboot-x.x.x.exe file.
Click the Yes button to bypass the warning.
Select the On-Line Distribution option.
Select the clonezilla_live_stable option with the “On-Line Distribution” drop-down menu.
Select the USB Drive option with the “Type” drop-down menu.
Select the flash drive with the “Drive” drop-down menu.
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, make sure to 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:
Start the computer with the bootable media.
Select the Clonezilla live option and press Enter.
Choose your language and press Enter.
Select the “Keep option to stay with default keyboard layout” option and press Enter.
Choose the “Start_Clonezilla” option and press Enter.
Select the device_device option and press Enter.
Choose the Beginner mode option and press Enter.
Select the “disk_to_local_disk local_disk_to_local_disk_clone” option and press Enter.
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.
Select the (destination) drive, which is the empty drive you want to replace (or backup storage), and press Enter.
Choose the sfsck option to skip checking and repairing and press Enter.
Select the action to perform after the cloning is complete. Options available include “choose,” “reboot,” or “poweroff.” (You can select any option.)
Press Enter to continue.
Type Y and press Enter to confirm the cloning process.
Type Y and press Enter again to reconfirm that the process will delete everything on the destination drive.
Type Y and press Enter to close the boot loader, the piece of code that makes the Windows 11 drive bootable.
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.
Click on Storage.
Under the “Storage management” section, click on Advanced storage settings.
Click on Disks & volumes.
Select the Windows 11 volume and click the Properties option.
Click the Change size button.
Specify the “Max” value in the New (MB) field.
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 main partition because the recovery partition is on the way, 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.
Start your computer with the GParted USB drive.
Select the “GParted Live (Default settings)” option and press Enter.
Select the “Don’t touch keymap” option and press Enter.
Select your language and press Enter.
Select 0 and press Enter.
Use the drop-down menu in the top-right corner to select the drive with the partition to move.
Select the recovery partition and click the Resize/Move button.
Click and drag the partition to the end of the drive (right).
Click the Resize/Move button.
Click the Apply button.
Click the Yes button.
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.