Can I clone a larger HDD to a smaller one?

  hastelloy 07:32 19 Mar 2014

Simply that - A friend of mine has ordered a new system with a 1 TB HDD with W8 and Office 2013 preloaded. She is now wishing she had added a smaller drive for OS and software.

Is it possible to clone the 1TB HDD to a smaller drive or would the empty space prevent this?

  onthelimit1 08:54 19 Mar 2014

Looks as though you should be able to by using soft ware to reduce the size of the partition on the source disk, then clone it using Clonezilla (free).

Forum here

  Batch 09:31 19 Mar 2014

Depends on the cloning software used. I've certainly cloned to a smaller disk using Acronis True Image. Albeit ATI version 8, which is quite old now - but I can't see why the later versions would not support it. ATI allows one to manually configure the partition sizes during a clone.

Having said that, another consideration that might affect it is the type of partitioning of the disk (MBR or GPT - click for more detail). What I did before was on an "old style" MBR type disk (as that was all that the system would have supported anyhow. I don't know whether or not GPT would affect whether one could do it. Your friend's system will almost certainly support both MBR & GPT - the question is which will the supplier use?

BTW, one can change a disk from MBR to GPT and vice versa, but it really needs to be done on an empty disk (but it may be that tools like Partition Wizard are coming out with versions that convert disks with partitions and data in situ).

  Batch 08:36 21 Mar 2014


As I said "Depends on the cloning software used" - ATI can do the whole disk.

  chub_tor 09:47 21 Mar 2014

Yes you can do it, I use the free Mini Partition Wizard Click Here

  hastelloy 09:48 21 Mar 2014

Thanks for all the comments. Not sure whether it's worth doing. Probably see how she gets on with just the 1 HDD. I'd hate to mess up her new machine for her!

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 09:50 21 Mar 2014

Cloning means making an exact copy size for size

you can image the data on the partition and put that image onto a smaller size disk provided there is room.

you have a 1TB drive with 100G used

you image the drive making an image file to an external drive (of approx 70G as image is compressed)

then restore the image to the new (128G SSD for instance) drive and it is filled back to the 100G.

check it boots from the new drive then install the old drive and use it as a data drive.

  Batch 12:37 21 Mar 2014


It maybe a matter of semantics, but the ATI facility that allows the cloning of disks is called Disk Clone (at least that is what it is called in ATI8). From within Disk Clone one can choose to change the size of the partitions as copied on to the target disk (obviously within the constraints of the partitions being no smaller than the utilised space in the source partitions).

  hastelloy 14:08 21 Mar 2014

Thanks Fruit Bat /\0/\ and Batch.

That's given me 2 safe alternatives.

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