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How do I Copy a Hard Drive?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

There are a number of different ways to copy a hard drive, and the steps followed will vary depending on what applications you may have available and what you wish to copy the drive onto. If you are trying to copy one good hard drive onto another, then you can simply connect both of them and systematically copy each folder from one to the other. You can typically speed this process up by using software programs designed to allow you to more easily copy data between drives. If you are trying to copy a hard drive that has been damaged and restore the data on it, however, then you are going to need somewhat more sophisticated software.

The hard drive inside of a computer case, or tower, is the lasting memory within the computer, and all of the files, folders, applications, programs, and data on the computer is stored on the hard drive. In order to copy a hard drive, so that a second drive has all of the same data on it that the first one has, you should begin by considering what type of media you wish to copy a hard drive onto. For a second hard drive, you should establish whether you are going to use two internal drives, two external hard drives, or copy a hard drive from one type to the other.

An external hard drive.
An external hard drive.

One of the easiest places to start is by making sure both hard drives are connected to the computer. Unless you have a wireless external hard drive, in which case you would simply need to be sure your wireless network is functioning properly and that you are connected to the device through it. You can then simply copy and paste files, folders, programs, and anything else from one hard drive to the other.

Hard drive.
Hard drive.

It is also possible to effectively copy a hard drive by creating a backup of the drive on a number of removable media types, such as compact discs (CDs) or digital versatile discs (DVDs). This can usually be done by going into the properties of the hard drive and using an option to backup the drive onto the media. If you are unsure of how to perform this process using the operating system (OS) on your computer, then you may also want to consider downloading a software program that will help you with it.

Hard drive with case removed.
Hard drive with case removed.

There are a number of programs that are specifically created to help you copy a hard drive onto another drive or onto some other type of media. These programs are usually easy to use and tend to be fairly inexpensive. If you are trying to access and copy data that has been corrupted, however, you may need to purchase more expensive software or consider taking your computer to a professional for data retrieval.

Discussion Comments


@Soulfox -- That is all well and good for smaller files, but people who have larger files such as music and video will need a little bit more than cloud storage to backup those huge things. Like the article points out, copying an entire hard drive full of those files may be essential.

A very popular option is automated, wireless backup to a hard drive stored at a separate location so those files will even survive if the home office is burned to the ground. That is an expensive option, but it may be the best one for a lot of people.


One very important question to ask is whether you actually need to copy an entire hard drive or just back up some important files. If you have a bunch of word processing documents and financial documents that are essential, it is easier to keep them in cloud storage so they are always backed up.

That has become a popular option for a lot of people. If your system blows up on your or something, you can simply get a new one, grab your essential files from cloud storage and continue working with those critical files.

That is one of the great things about cloud storage. Making backups can be effortless and reliable.

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    • An external hard drive.
      An external hard drive.
    • Hard drive.
      Hard drive.
    • Hard drive with case removed.
      Hard drive with case removed.
    • A person can copy files by selecting them, then pressing the ctrl and c keys at the same time.
      By: Radu Razvan
      A person can copy files by selecting them, then pressing the ctrl and c keys at the same time.