5 Ways To Clone & Copy Your Hard Drive

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copy your hard drive One of the most annoying things about owning a computer is the maintenance. It’s easily neglected. After all you don’t really notice the slow decline of your system’s performance, do you?

But then again it’s a delight to work on a freshly installed machine, where everything is smooth and responds quickly. But customization is tedious. And when your hard drive decides to break spontaneously, time is something you won’t have for sure.

For emergencies it’s better you have a data and a system backup available. Here are the 5 best tools to clone or copy your hard drive in no particular order.

EASEUS Todo Backup

clone your hard drive

Backing up your data is one of those things in life that you really won’t understand until disaster strikes, by which time it’s too late. For most people who haven’t experienced data-loss, the task of backing up just seems like such a good idea in theory, but so much effort in reality.

But take my advice, use this incredible free Easeus Todo Backup software and it’ll be so easy you won’t even have to think about it. And if the worst does come to the worst, and you do lose any data, then you will be covered.

Paragon’s Drive Backup Express (Windows)

paragon drive backup - clone your hard drive

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This software is the easy solution to clone your hard drive . It’s comfortable to use with a sleek interface that guides you through the whole process of backing up and restoring step by step. And while a backup is running in the background you can even proceed using your system.

Both Drive Backup Express and DriveImage XML (described below) require a bootable CD, which the user has to create independently.

I have previously written about Drive Backup Express and thoroughly explained how it works here.

DriveImage XML (Windows)

driveimage xml review In contrast to Drive Backup Express, DriveImage XML is a visually very basic tool. However, it reliably creates images of logical drives and partitions and restores these to either the originating or a different hard disk.

Like Drive Backup Express, DriveImage XML applies a cloning technique that allows parallel use of the system while the backup is running. It can also do incremental backups, supplementing existing backups with what was changed in the meantime. Additionally, images can be restored without having to reboot.

CloneZilla (cross platform)

clonezilla - hard drive cloningCloneZilla is an open source and cross platform tool to make a copy of a hard drive and also to restore them afterwards.

It’s a tough tool for non nerds as it requires some background knowledge. First of all it’s not a software you install on your computer. You download CloneZilla in form of an ISO image or ZIP file and burn the image to a CD or load the files onto a USB flash drive or hard drive.

The next step is to reboot the computer from that medium you created, which may require going into the BIOS and allow booting from a CD or USB device.

Once the tool is running, it’s easy to use the simple interface to initiate or restore a backup. There also is sort of a screenshot walkthrough on the CloneZilla homepage, where you can view some of the options before running the tool.

XXCLONE (Windows)

xxclone reviewXXCLONE is Windows software. The tool can create a self-bootable clone of a Windows drive as well as full backups of non-system volumes. Basically, it can make a hard drive image.

The interface is basic and clear. When started, the tool scans for available volumes and you can then choose a source and target volume from these. A direct link to the Windows Disk Management is provided through the “diskmgmt” button. Under the “Tool Cools” tab you can make use of options such as making the target volume self-bootable, manage restore points or create a batch file to save your current settings for future re-use.

The download section of the website provides a thorough help file that contains screenshots and descriptions of all features.

EASEUS Disk Copy (cross platform)

easeus disk copy - backup hard diskEASEUS Disk Copy creates sector by sector clones of partitions or hard disks, independent of operating system, file systems or partition scheme. It’s a versatile tool for both the novice and experienced user.

Just like CoolZilla, it’s not installed locally, rather the ISO image is burned to a bootable CD or DVD.

The website is probably the best of all tools described here. The information is thorough and very clear, including a very detailed help section that will walk you through every aspect of the program.

Do you clone and copy your hard drive? If so, which program do you use? Can you recommend any particular program to us? Let us know in the comments.

Picture credits: CraigPJ

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Comments (77)
  • ozzy

    I have Western Digital USB External Hard Drive Cap 1000GB I begin noticing the problems after my son drop it while I was using it After that I was not being able to have access from my computer, but windows does recognize it on the device manager. I need to rescue my files 3 yrs of familiy fotos and videos. I tried to see maybe it would work on my laptop but I get 2 messages, one is: “Device I/O error” and the other is “Drive not formatted”, its asking me to format the drive I don’t want to do that. Can anybody help, Plese any suggestions.

    • Tina

      Hello ozzy,
      please resubmit your question to MakeUseOf Answers. A link is at the top of the page.

    • ozzy

      I have Western Digital USB External Hard Drive Cap 1GB I begin noticing the problems after my son drop it while I was using it After that I was not being able to have access from my computer, but windows does recognize it on the device manager. I need to rescue my files 3 yrs of familiy fotos and videos. I tried to see maybe it would work on my laptop but I get 2 messages, one is: “Device I/O error” and the other is “Drive not formatted”, its asking me to format the drive I don’t want to do that. Can anybody help, Please any suggestions.
      Ok the Question is; Is there a good software that I can use to fix my problem?, whats the name?

    • Chris Lyras

      Try using Hirens Boot CD…and run disk-genius from the cd (free use) http://www.hirensbootcd.org/download/

      Or use disk-genius (shareware) by downloading seperately
      http://www.diskgenius.net/download.html

  • mcmail99

    why didn’t anyone had commented on the famous Paragon Drive Back Up suite? I have it but i havent tried it yet. pls comment ty!

  • Pablo

    I used the dd tool above and it worked just fine, but there is a problem: My removable USB drive was 1 Therabite in size; after the cloning, is now the same size of the smaller one that I tried to copy, which is 152 GB. I need to run the command again with the right syntax.. any help??

  • Asanga

    I use Macrium Reflect Free Edition. Works great for me. Very easy to use.

  • Rob

    You don’t always get what you pay for either. I’ve used Acronis True Image for a few years, and most of the time it works great. Here are the two problems I have: 1) loading an image from a network share is more of a chore than it should be. The software likes to query the whole domain instead of using just the path I specify; which wastes a lot of time. 2) Support for RAID comtrollers and SATA drives is hit or miss. When a new model of computer comes out it may of may not work, requiring you to buy a newer version of Acronis to get support for the new hardware. They should use universal drivers to prevent this.

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.