How to Clone C Drive to External Hard Drive with Best Disk Cloning Software

How to clone C drive to external hard drive? Do you want to know the answer? If you wish to, this article will be helpful. The post will describe the reasons for cloning the C drive to an external drive and provide a solution for cloning the C drive to external storage devices.

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Updated on Apr 01, 2024

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Key Takeaways:

  • Step 1️⃣ Connect the external hard drive to the computer.
  • Step 2️⃣ Download the best disk cloning software, EaseUS Disk Copy, and launch it.
  • Step 3️⃣ A pop-up window will display and ask if you want to clone the system (C drive) to the new disk(external hard drive). Click Yes.
  • Step 4️⃣ Wait for the process to complete, and you can get you C drive cloned to the external hard drive successfully.

Copying the system drive or cloning the C drive is not as easy as copying a file or folder. Everything, including the partitions of the drive that lets Windows use it as a boot device, must be copied. The process can't be done manually via copy and paste. But don't worry. This post from EaseUS will tell you how to clone C drive to external hard drive.

Before diving into the detailed information on this topic, let's see what you need prepare.

🧰Tools You Will Use  EaseUS Disk Copy



  • An external hard drive
  • Download Disk Cloning Software - EaseUS Disk Copy

Download this awesome disk cloning software here first to prepare for the next action.

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Why Need to Copy C Drive to Another Drive

The C drive, also known as the system drive, is the primary hard disk partition containing the operating system (OS), applications, and related system files. When you plan to clone C drive to external hard drive, it means you want to clone Windows C drive to external storage devices., making an exact 1-to-1 copy of your system drive, and you can boot other devices with this bootable cloned drive.

c drive

You need to clone or transfer C drive to an external hard disk for various reasons. The following are the benefits of making a copy of the system drive to another one.

  • 💻Improved computer performance. Many applications and data are stored on C drive as time passes. Under such circumstances, you should clone the system drive to an external drive and boot it from the drive to improve computer performance.
  • 💾Bootable disk. When your computer fails to work, you have to buy a new one. At this time, you may want to clone the C drive to an external drive, such as an SSD or HDD, as a portable boot disk before having the new computer.
  • ⏰Time-saving. If your computer stops working and you want to upgrade it, it is better to clone the C drive to a new drive. As a result, you can save time reinstalling the OS and the necessary applications.

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Best Disk Cloning Software for Windows Free Download

Cloning a C drive is more challenging than backing up or copying a file or folder. Everything on the drive must be cloned. When done manually, the process will be rather time-consuming because there are many of data on the system drive. But don't worry, there is a way out. There will be special disk cloning software - EaseUS Disk Copy available for you to clone the C drive to an external hard drive easily and quickly.

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EaseUS Disk Copy is an easy-to-use disk cloning tool compatible with Windows 11/10/8/7. It can help you clone hard drive, operating system, disk, and partition. It allows for upgrading a hard disk to a bigger one and cloning an HDD to an SSD for better performance.

In addition, it can resize and rearrange partitions during the cloning process. It is an ideal tool for anyone looking for a reliable way to migrate an existing Windows system to a new hard disk, such as a larger hard drive. For example, it can help you copy your Windows installation to an SSD.

Take a glance at the key features of this fantastic cloning tool:

If you want to clone your C drive to an external drive, it can suit you well in every aspect.

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How to Clone System Drive to External Hard Disk

Among many cloning software available on the market, why do we suggest you use EaseUS Disk Copy? EaseUS Disk Copy is also very easy to use, except for the features mentioned above, because you can finish the disk cloning process in a few clicks.

🪁Key Takeaways:

Clone C drive to external hard drive involves four simple clicks by using EaseUS Disk Copy: Launch EaseUS Disk Copy > Partition Mode > Choose C drive > Select the external hard disk > Proceed.

The following are the steps about how to copy C drive to another drive with EaseUS Disk Copy. 

📖Preparations before cloning start:

  • A screwdriver, a Power Splitter Adapter Cable, a SATA cable, or a USB to SATA adapter. 
  • Make sure the target HDD/SSD has an equal or bigger capacity than the used space of the old system capacity.
  • Check whether the style of the new disk is the same as that of the old disk. If not, Initialize a new HDD/SSD to MBR or GPT.
  • Download a Disk Cloning Tool – EaseUS Disk Copy

Step 1. Launch EaseUS Disk Copy, and connect the new second HDD/SSD to the PC. A new window will ask, "A new drive on this computer was found, do you want to migrate OS to the new drive?". Click the Yes button, and it will automatically select all system-related partitions and files.

install a new ssd

Step 2. Adjust the target disk layout to fit into the new disk. Tick the "Check the option if the target is SSD" option to put your SSD in its best performance.

  • Autofit the disk: makes some changes by default on the destination disk layout to work at its best status.
  • Copy as the source: does not change anything on the destination disk, and the layout is the same as the source disk.
  • Edit disk layout: allows you to resize/move partition layout on this destination disk manually.

clone os to new ssd

Step 3. Click the Proceed button, and a message will appear to warn you that data will be lost. Please confirm this message by clicking Continue.

a warning message

Step 4. Wait for the process to complete, and you can check the integrity of the cloned hard drive and view if the OS has been migrated to it.

wait for cloning

The Bottom Line

Now, do you know how to clone C drive to external hard drive? After reading this article, cloning a C drive to an external drive via EaseUS Disk Copy will be a breeze.

EaseUS Disk Copy is a top-notch cloning utility for all computer users to clone various storage devices, such as a navigation SD card, a USB drive, an external drive, SSD, etc. Besides, it also enables you to clone NVMe SSD to SATA SSD. Due to its minimalist design and easy-to-use interface, you can start to use it immediately, regardless of your technical knowledge. Try EaseUS Disk Copy now; it will not let you down.

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FAQs on How to Clone C Drive to External Hard Drive

1. How do I transfer everything from my computer to an external hard drive?

Transferring data from a computer to an external hard drive is very easy. You can plug the hard drive into the computer, select the files on the computer you want to transfer, and then copy these files to the external drive.

2. Can you copy your C drive?

Of course, you can copy your C drive. Go to "My Computer,” expand the plus sign, select "C Drive," right-click on "C Drive," then click on "Copy." You can either select the entire C drive or choose files if space is insufficient.

3. How do I Backup my C drive?

Click on Start, type backup in the Search box, then click Backup and Restore. Under Back up files or your entire PC, click Back up files. Click Next after choosing where to save your backup.

4. Can I clone a hard drive without software?

If you plan to clone a hard drive without software, it is almost impossible. Microsoft does not introduce any tool in its operating system for creating a copy of a hard drive in Windows. You can manually copy all your files from one drive to another. However, it will be time-consuming.

EaseUS Disk Copy

EaseUS Disk Copy is a well designed and very easy-to-use HDD/SSD cloning and migration tool, a tool which should be ideal for anyone wanting to quickly and easily migrate an existing system disk to a new disk (or newly installed SSD drive) with the minimal of configuration required.

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    Larissa has rich experience in writing technical articles and is now a professional editor at EaseUS. She is good at writing articles about data recovery, disk cloning, disk partitioning, data backup, and other related knowledge. Her detailed and ultimate guides help users find effective solutions to their problems. She is fond of traveling, reading, and riding in her spare time.…
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