How to clone a drive when the sector sizes are not the same? It is even possible?

So I decided to replace the 500GB HDD in my Dell Latitude 3540 with a 2TB HDD. The problem that I am currently dealing with is Macrium Reflect is giving me an error when I try to clone C: drive the old HDD to the new HDD. The problem has to do with sector size.

The 500GB HDD is formatted with 512 bytes in each sector. The 2TB HDD cannot be formatted with 512 bytes in each sector (Windows 10 does not allow it); it is defaulted to 4k.

I suppose I can simply install the new hard drive then use Macrium Reflect to restore an image I made about 2 months ago. But I just want to check if people have any other suggestion.
Reply to jaguarskx
10 answers Last reply
More about clone drive sector sizes
  1. are you referring to the NTFS cluster size? if so, check out these: Easeus Partition Master Free: ...
    MiniTool Partition Wizard: ...
    Not sure if the free versions offer the change cluster size as an option.
    Reply to drkatz42
  2. jaguarskx said:
    So I decided to replace the 500GB HDD in my Dell Latitude 3540 with a 2TB HDD. The problem that I am currently dealing with is Macrium Reflect is giving me an error when I try to clone C: drive the old HDD to the new HDD. The problem has to do with sector size.

    The 500GB HDD is formatted with 512 bytes in each sector. The 2TB HDD cannot be formatted with 512 bytes in each sector (Windows 10 does not allow it); it is defaulted to 4k.

    I suppose I can simply install the new hard drive then use Macrium Reflect to restore an image I made about 2 months ago. But I just want to check if people have any other suggestion.


    Are you trying to do this via a USB connected drive? If so, that may be part of the issue.
    https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW/Incompatible+Disk+Selected

    Macrium states that internally connected drives should not have this issue.

    Or, create an image of the drive as it is NOW, and then recover that image to the new 2TB.
    Reply to USAFRet
  3. In a general sense, yes. I say that because sector size and cluster size seems to be used interchangeably even though they are actually different.

    Sector size refers to the "block" size the hard drive can read or write to in a single operation. Cluster refers to the smallest "block" size the file management uses to write data to. Clusters can be made up of multiple sectors so a 4k cluster can consist of 8 sectors that are 512 bytes each.
    Reply to jaguarskx
  4. Gentlemen, keep in mind that there are drives with native 4K sectors now, not a cluster of 8 512Byte sectors. You will be unable to clone directly from an older drive to the newer one.
    Reply to ex_bubblehead
  5. ex_bubblehead said:
    Gentlemen, keep in mind that there are drives with native 4K sectors now, not a cluster of 8 512Byte sectors. You will be unable to clone directly from an older drive to the newer one.


    Right.
    An Image from the current 512B drive, then applied to a new 4k sector drive, will absolutely work.
    Reply to USAFRet
  6. +1 USAFRet; and I think you have to "tell" MR that the target HD is not the same geometry as the source HD, am I correct, USAFRet?
    Reply to RolandJS
  7. RolandJS said:
    +1 USAFRet; and I think you have to "tell" MR that the target HD is not the same geometry as the source HD, am I correct, USAFRet?


    No, I don't think so.
    The 'image' does not care.

    But...if MR requires knowing, there should be a prompt if it fails.
    Reply to USAFRet
  8. USAFRet, I moved from MR6 to MR7; I need to rediscover the area where one can "tell" MR about how the target HD is different from the source HD, else one will often find, after the image restoration, that the target has tiny slivers of "un-allocated partitions".
    Reply to RolandJS
  9. Well for now, this project of mine to upgrade the HDD is on hold....

    The screws that secure the original hard drive in the laptop are so tightly screwed in that I actually got a blister trying to use a tiny screw driver to remove one of the screws. I suppose I need to ask around so see if someone has an electric screwdriver I can borrow...
    Reply to jaguarskx
  10. Sorry I can't give you any advice re the electric screwdriver. While we have used them from time-to-time when building/repairing PCs I found them awkward to use in comparison with the simple non-electric screwdrivers we generally use. But I do know some builders (particularly those involved on a production basis wouldn't be without one). Perhaps your best bet is to visit a local machine shop with the HDD apparatus in hand and see what they could do to remove the recalcitrant screw.

    Now as far as the disk-cloning operation involving drives with different sector/cluster sizes...

    We use the Casper d-c program as our preferred choice for this operation. Our chief use of the program is for creating/maintaining comprehensive backups of our systems, so we utilize the program on a quite routine/frequent basis. And have been doing so for about the past 20 years or so. I've never found a d-c program its equal for ease-of-use, general effectiveness, and perhaps most of all speed of operation.

    I can't recall running into any problems with the Casper disk-cloning operation involving the source & destination drives because of different sector/cluster sizes. Perhaps you would like to give this program a try and see how it goes.

    Casper is a commercial program costing $49.99, however, a 30-day trial edition is available from https://www.fssdev.com/products/casper/trial/

    If you want to give it a go, here are some instructions...

    1. After installing the program and before undertaking the disk-cloning operation close all open programs. (Generally you need not disable your anti-virus program). Ensure that the two connected drives are properly connected in the system.

    2. The opening screen of the Casper program will highlight "Create a Bootable Backup". Click on "Add drive" and a listing of the appropriate destination drive(s) will appear, e.g., your (INDICATE DRIVE) .

    3. Click on the destination drive's listing (which I assume is your USB-connected 2 TB HDD) and then the "Back up now" button.

    4. Casper will run in the background and alert you when the disk-cloning operation is completed. (You can view the actual progress chart by clicking on the Casper icon in the Notification Area on the Taskbar.)

    5. Following the (hopefully!) successful disk-cloning operation (AND THE FOLLOWING IS ENTIRELY OPTIONAL) you may want to try booting to the USB external drive while it's still connected as a USB external drive to possibly determine whether the disk-cloning operation was successful. Casper does have the capability of booting to a cloned USB external drive provided that the BIOS OEM PC will allow this type of boot from a USB external device. Some OEM PCs allow such a boot, others do not. So if you choose to initially attempt a boot from the USBEHD and it fails, please understand this is NOT DEFINITIVE if the boot fails at this time. If you DO want to give it a try, ensure you select the destination drive as the boot drive from the laptop/notebook's boot menu when you power-up your laptop/notebook. Obviously the "proof of the pudding" as to whether the disk-cloning operation was successful is when you disconnect the internally-connected drive from the PC and replace it with the cloned drive.

    6. Ordinarily Casper will utilize the ENTIRE disk-space of the destination drive to contain the data contents from the source drive. In some cases the trial version program will create a partition on the destination drive equal to the source drive's partition. If that does happen, you can simply use Disk Management to extend the partition on the destination drive to encompass the total disk-space available on the 2 TB HDD (or whatever portion of the unallocated disk-space you desire).

    7. Work with the newly-cloned drive for a while to determine it boots & properly functions before making any changes in the former boot drive until you're absolutely ensured the newly-cloned drive is functioning without any problems. If all is well, only then should you make any desired changes in the former boot drive.

    Good luck and please keep us informed how it goes.
    Reply to ArtPog
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