How to Clone Hard Drive (HDD) to USB Flash Drive

Abby Haines updated on Apr 10, 2019 to Backup and Recovery | How-to Articles

Can I Clone My Hard Drive to a USB Flash Drive

"Is there any safe and efficient way to clone an HDD to a USB drive? I'm using a Lenovo Essentials laptop that has a small internal hard drive to store data. So I want to make an exact copy of the hard drive onto an external USB flash drive. Do I need some kind of special disk clone software? I should perform a bit-for-bit clone my files or settings to an external USB drive. So I can successfully transfer or backup the data to the USB drive. If you have a similar experience, please help!"

Why Do You Need to Clone HDD to USB

Like the above case, people might need to clone a hard drive to an external USB flash drive for certain reasons. Here are the three commonest ones:

Data Backup/Transfer

Most users choose to clone HDD to a USB drive for data backup or transfer. It is the best way to protect user data from accidental deletion, virus attack, hard drive crash, disk corruption or any other accidents or free up some disk space, especially when you have a small internal hard drive disk. (If you accidentally lost data on your hard drive, learn how to perform data recovery with the best hard drive recovery software.)

System Clone

It's not rare for users to make Windows portable or do a system clone. By cloning Windows to a USB, you can use your operating system wherever you need. However, if your target device is USB flash drive, not USB hard drive, you may encounter booting issue after the cloning process.

If you clone your HDD to a USB for data backup/transfer or other similar reasons, just follow the steps below. If you do it for the purpose of system clone or creating a portable device, learn how to create portable Windows 10 on USB here.

How to Clone Hard Drive to USB Flash Drive

To back up or transfer your hard drive data, here is the complete guide.

The Tool You Need - EaseUS Todo Backup

EaseUS file backup software - EaseUS Todo Backup is a professional backup tool for disk/partition clone, system clone, disk/partition backup, system backup, file backup, Outlook email backup, and more. It serves to fulfill your needs of data or system transfer/backup. The backup feature allows you to create a backup image of everything on the hard drive disk or external storage device and then restore it to the same hard drive, a new hard drive or an external USB flash drive. While the cloning feature enables you to make a copy of the files from one place to another and keep it ready for use. For example, with this tool, you can easily:

  • Back up and recover your computer system
  • Upgrade your computer hard drive by cloning HDD to SSD or cloning SSD to larger SSD
  • Make an external hard drive portable
  • Back up your important files regularly and automatically

Now you may know that cloning an HDD to a USB is just one of the many things EaseUS Todo Backup. Download and install the powerful software on your computer, then follow to clone your hard drive to a USB flash drive with ease.

Steps to Clone Hard Drive to USB Flash Drive

Make sure your USB is empty or the data on it may be overwritten by the cloned data and the storage space is larger than the used space on your hard drive or the files on the source device may not be copied fully.

Step 1. To clone an HDD to a USB flash drive, make sure that both drives are correctly connected and recognized by Windows. Launch EaseUS Todo Backup and choose "Clone" to begin.

choose clone to clone hdd to usb drive

Step 2. Choose the entire HDD or simply one partition on it as the source disk, and click "Next".

choose the hdd as source disk

Step 3. When the USB flash drive's capacity is large enough to hold the source disk contents, the software will allow you to choose this drive as the destination disk. Otherwise, change another larger USB drive. Click "Next".​

choose the usb drive as the destination disk

Step 4. Preview a disk layout and click "Proceed" to start cloning the HDD to a USB flash drive at once.

preview disk layout and click proceed

Given that data loss happens quite often, you should equip your computer with such a file backup tool to avoid losing your files completely. Don't be the one who realizes the severity of data loss after the disaster occurs. Be the one who prevents the disaster from happening. 


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Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose EaseUS Todo Backup?

"The easiest way to protect your data and system files."techradar

"EaseUS Todo Backup Free is one of the most popular free data backup applications available. This software offers a myriad of features and is extremely user-friendly. It provides a full system backup, meaning you can back up your entire operating system."TopTenReviews

"EaseUS ToDo Backup Home is a great backup program, well suited to the home and SMB space."PCWorld

What is the difference between Clone and Backup? In what cases should I use Clone?

Clone will copy one disk to another or one partition to another (unallocated space is also supported). Usually, this option is used to upgrade the current disk by creating an identical copy. Backup will generate a .PBD image file containing the selected files or system that can be restored from the .PBD image if needed.

What is the difference between System Backup and Disk Backup?

System Backup will auto-select the system boot related partition(s) as the backup source to make sure the system image can be restored properly. Disk/Partition Backup will allow you to manually select a whole disk or speficy a certain partition as the backup source. You will get the same backup result as System Backup if you manually select the system and boot partitions with the Disk/Partition Backup option.

As a computer newbie, what features should I use to protect my computer?

You can use System Backup to back up the system and boot partitions, use Disk/Partition backup to back up the data partition and add plans to run an automatic backup. If you use the computer frequently or have software that may cause boot failure of the computer, we would suggest you back up the computer every 1 to 2 days. For other situations, you can backup the computer once a week. In addition, you can schedule File Backup to back up the files which are changed frequently.

What kind of storage service should I use to save my backup images?

EaseUS Todo Backup can save backup images to internal disks, external disks, network drives, or free cloud(Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive) and CD/DVD. It is suggested to save the images to the internal/external/network drives to save time as those kinds of disks have a better read-write speed. It is suggested NOT to save the image on the source disk, because once the disk is damaged, all the files on the disk will become unavailable and you will be unable to restore the image.

As a company network administrator, what features should I use to protect our internal computers?

It is recommended that you use the SQL Backup feature to back up your company's SQL server and Exchange Backup feature to back up the Exchange server. In addition, you can execute System Backup to back up the system and boot partitions on every computer and set a plan to execute the backup once a day or twice a week to ensure that the computer can be restored timely when it has boot issues. File Backup feature can be used to back up important user data. If there are a large quantity of computers, you can purchase EaseUS Backup Center to manage the backups on the client computers centrally.

About EaseUS Todo Backup

Be it a file, system, partition, or disk, EaseUS Todo Backup will help you back up or clone the item and provide you with multiple backup plans.