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Andreas GieryicFlag for United States of America

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Cloning a larger drive to a smaller SSD fails

I'm using a software program called "MiniTools ShadowMaker" that allows me to clone a hard drive to a solid-state drive. I've been using this with several dozen upgrades and it works fine. I have used others such as CloneZilla and others, but this one works well.

Every so often when I try to clone a larger hard drive to a smaller SSD, I get the following message - "the selected target disk is too small to clone to the source disk" and then it fails to continue.

- In this scenario, I have a 500 GB hard drive that's only using about 92 GB of disk space.

- The new drive is a new 256 GB SSD

- in the past, I've always been able to clone a larger disk to a smaller SSD. However, a few times I've seen the same error message and ended up having to get the same size SSD.

- I guess I need to understand why it works on some systems and not other systems.

- All my systems are running Windows 10

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The software probably isn't smart enough. Try paid products instead, like Paragon or Acronis. They're smart enough to adjust all the partition sizes automatically.
The SSD manufacturer typically delivers cloning software with the drive. Or they have it available for download.

What brand/type is the SSD drive?
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The drive I am using is a silicone power - 256 GB
I've done this over a dozen times on other Dell PCs running Windows 10. Typically most of the Dell OptiPlex is prior to the SSD days, had 500 GB drives such as the OptiPlex 3020, 3040 and 3050

I've been using the same software. There's definitely something different with some operating systems than others. But typically, I've been successful. Cloning a 500 GB drive to a 256 GB SSD. Especially when the hard drive has only around 100 GB of data including the operating system
Gerwin Jansen - most of them offer diagnostic software but not cloning software. At least the several different brands of solid-state drives. I've been using including Samsung do not provide cloning software, but to provide diagnostics and firmware upgrades
I would suggest running a defrag tool on the source drive, but use one that has the option to move data to the front of the drive. I think Defraggler does that but it's not the only one.

I have a pretty good feeling that even though you're using only 92 gb, some of that data is probably spread out across the drive. If even one byte is in use at the 257 gb mark on the source drive, a clone process will try to retain the same layout of data on the drive, and so it -thinks- that a 256 gb drive is too small. So it's not about actual space usage but more about data position within the drive and partitions.

But if you defrag the drive and move the files to the beginning of the drive, then you should be able to clone to the smaller drive afterwards without issue.
It does sound interesting and I'm not sure if I ever heard the defragler ever do that. I know that windows 10 always defrag to drive on the fly but not move everything to the front. Thanks for the tip. I'll research that
Sorry, I'm thinking of the wrong utility. PerfectDisk from Raxco does this (it's a paid product but has a fully-functioning free trial so you can confirm that this process works).

The most common use case for doing this is shrinking a partition, but it should apply to cloning, as well.
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Gerwin Jansen
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I will check out these suggestions. 
I would partition the larger drive so that the partition you want to clone is the same size as the smaller drive, it is true that data you are trying to clone only contains 92 gb of data but it is on a partititon that is larger than the target drive it still may not copy. Remember that when you delete data on a drive it is not really fully deleted only the index to that data is deleted this so that you can easly recover accidentally deleted files. The software may still see that there is more data on the drive then what you see as the 92 gb. If you wipe the free space on the drive, then you may be able to clone the data to the second drive. A second way to resolve the issue is to partition the larger drive to 100 gb sectors then you can easily clone that partition to the smaller drive, and you will not run into that issue again because the 100 gb sector you are cloning is smaller than the size of the target drive
Gerwin, You're correct. They do have the smart cloning software. It worked well and much faster the one I've been using. I like their SSD's and will use this software when using their SSD's

thanks everyone. Great information