Can we reduce bit by bit cloning time from source HDD to destination SSD by unallocating some memory from source HDD?

Super User Asked by helloworld1e. on September 17, 2020

My laptop has 465 GB of C:(windows partition) and 465 GB of D:(empty) drive. C: drive is 183 GB full, D: is empty. I want to clone entire C drive to my new 512 GB, MX500 crucial SSD such that SSD boots. Will unallocating the D drive make the bit by bit cloning process faster?

One Answer

Partitions represent completely independent disk areas. If you perform a block-level clone of the C: partition, your cloning tool will only need to care about the 465 GB that was assigned to the C: partition, and won't even look at the rest.

(If you perform a block-level clone of the whole disk, it'll still spend 90% of the time cloning the C: partition, and then it'll quickly run out of space because your new SSD is smaller than the old HDD.)

What will make the process faster is either file-level cloning (e.g. WIM imaging) or filesystem-aware block cloning. For example, the Linux ntfsclone tool (which is used by CloneZilla) performs a bit-by-bit clone but it'll skip all blocks which have no files or other NTFS data stored on them. I would assume that commercial Windows tools do the same.

Correct answer by user1686 on September 17, 2020

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