Cloning two hard drives into one drive can be done, but it requires careful planning and preparation. The feasibility and process of cloning two drives into one depends on the storage capacity of the target drive and the used space on the source drives. With the right tools and techniques, it is possible to combine the contents of two drives onto a single target drive.
Yes, you can clone two hard drives into one, provided the target drive has equal or larger capacity than the combined used storage space on the source drives. Cloning copies all the data from the source drives to the target drive. To clone two drives into one, you need drive cloning software that can clone multiple drives to a single target. You also need to analyze the space requirements and prepare the target drive before cloning.
Examining the Feasibility
Before cloning two drives into one, examine if it is feasible based on the drive capacities and used space:
- Check the storage capacity of the target drive. It should be equal to or higher than the total used storage space on the source drives.
- Analyze the source drives and calculate the used space. Add up the used space on both source drives.
- Compare the combined used space of source drives to the target drive capacity. There should be no less than 10% free space on the target drive.
- If the target drive capacity is insufficient, free up space on source drives or get a higher capacity target drive.
The cloning process makes an exact copy of the used space from the source drives to the target drive. So the target needs to be large enough to hold all the data copied from the source drives.
Choosing the Right Cloning Software
To combine two drive contents into one drive, you need drive cloning or imaging software that supports cloning multiple drives to one drive. Some features to look for include:
- Ability to add multiple source drives and select one target drive.
- Option to resize partitions to fit the target drive capacity.
- Sector-by-sector cloning for an exact replica.
- Scheduling to automate the cloning operation.
- Support for cloning different drive types like HDD, SSD, NVMe, etc.
Popular tools like Macrium Reflect, Acronis True Image, AOMEI Backupper and EaseUS Todo Backup can clone two drives to one drive.
Preparing the Target Drive
Before starting the cloning process, the target drive needs to be prepared:
- Connect the target drive to the computer via SATA, USB or other interface.
- Initialize, partition and format the target drive if unallocated.
- Make sure the target drive is empty or does not contain useful data.
- Delete existing partitions on the target drive to create unallocated space.
The cloning operation will overwrite all data on the target drive. So backup any important data and delete partitions to make the full capacity usable for cloning.
Cloning the Source Drives
Once you have picked suitable software and prepared the target drive, follow these general steps to clone two drives to one:
- Run the cloning software and add the source drives.
- Select the prepared empty target drive.
- Review the disk layout and start cloning process.
- Wait for the operation to fully complete.
- Check the target drive contains data from both sources.
The cloning software will automatically copy partitions from the source drives and fit them into the target drive. This condenses the contents of two drives into one drive.
Verifying the Cloned Drive
After cloning two drives to one, verify that:
- Target drive has all partitions from both source drives.
- Partitions and data are intact on the target drive.
- No errors or corrupted data on the cloned target drive.
- You can access all data on the target drive.
Test by opening files, loading programs and apps from the cloned drive. If you encounter any issues, redo the cloning process after checking for errors.
Some potential challenges when cloning two drives to one:
- Insufficient target drive capacity – Result in failed or incomplete cloning.
- Incompatible partition style like MBR/GPT – May prevent cloning.
- Different drive sector sizes – Can cause alignment issues.
- Bad sectors on source drives – Lead to corrupted data.
- System drive cloning – Needs bootable media and extra steps.
Careful drive inspection, partition alignment checks and using sector-by-sector cloning can help avoid these pitfalls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why clone two drives to one drive?
You may want to clone two drives to a single drive to:
- Consolidate the data from two old drives to a new larger drive.
- Migrate data from two HDDs to one SSD for better performance.
- Combine two boot drives from different systems to one.
- Back up the contents of two drives to a single external drive.
Can I clone two SSDs to one HDD?
Yes, you can clone two SSDs to a single HDD provided the HDD has sufficient capacity. Connect both SSDs and the HDD to the computer and use cloning software to copy data from the SSDs to the HDD.
What happens if the target drive capacity is less than source drives?
If the target drive has lower capacity than the total used space on the source drives, cloning will fail with an error. You have to free up space on the source drives or get a larger target drive for successful cloning.
Will cloning delete data from the source drives?
No, cloning creates a copy of data and does not alter or delete data on the source drives. The original drives remain intact after cloning.
Can I boot from a drive cloned from two drives?
Yes, you can boot from a drive cloned from two boot drives if the cloning copies the system partitions properly. You may need to recreate the boot configuration or reactivate the boot loader.
Cloning two drives to one drive is possible if you select suitable cloning software and ensure the target drive has adequate capacity. Carefully prepare the empty target drive, add source drives to cloning tool, execute the cloning process and verify copied data. With this approach, you can combine the contents of two drives onto one new drive.