Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, disk cloning is not the same as disk imaging. Both processes duplicate your entire drive, but while disk imaging stores the contents of the device in an archived file, disk cloning copies all of the data on the drive to another hard disk, in real time. To upgrade or replace your existing hard drive, or create a copy of your disk to install to another computer, use a third-party solution like Acronis True Image, Clonezilla or Macrium Reflect.
Using Acronis True Image
Download and install the free trial version of Acronis True Image (see Resources), and then select "Create Bootable Media" on the "Backup & Recovery" tab.
Insert a blank disc into your optical drive, and then follow the on-screen prompts to burn Acronis Bootable Media to the CD or DVD.
Restart your computer to boot to the disc you created, and then select "Clone Disk" on the "Tools & Utilities" tab.
Choose "Automatic (Recommended)" from the options, and then click "Next." Select the hard drive you want to clone, and then click "Next" again.
Select the hard drive you want to transfer your data to, and then click "Next." If the destination disk contains data, click "OK" to format the drive.
Review your selections on the Summary screen, and then click "Proceed" to clone the disk.
Download Clonezilla from the official website (see Resources), and then open the containing folder when the download completes.
Insert a blank disc into your optical drive, and then right-click the ISO file you downloaded.
Select "Burn Disc Image" from the context menu, and then click "Burn" to write Clonezilla to the disc.
Restart your computer to boot to the disc you created, and then choose "Clonezilla Live" from the main menu using the cursor keys.
Choose your language from the options, and then press "Tab" to select "OK." Highlight "Don't Touch Keymap," and then select "OK."
Choose "Start Clonezilla," and then select "OK" to proceed. Follow the on-screen prompts to set the cloning operation to "Device-Device" and the user mode to "Beginner."
Highlight "Disk to Local Disk," and then select "OK." Choose the hard drive you want to clone, and then select "OK" again.
Choose the hard drive you want to transfer your data to, and then select "OK." Choose from the options whether to check for and repair errors on the source drive, and then select "OK" again.
Highlight "Use the Partition from the Source Disk," and then select "OK." Follow the instructions in the command-line interface to complete the procedure.
Download, install and open the free trial version of Macrium Reflect (see Resources), select the disk you want to clone, and then click "Clone This Disk."
Choose the hard drive you want to copy data to, and then click "Next." Check each volume on the source disk, and then click "Copy Selected Partitions."
Click "Finish" to clone the contents of your old hard drive to the new one.
Things You Will Need
- Blank CD or DCD
- In Macrium Reflect, if the destination drive is larger than the source drive, you can resize the partitions on the disk. Select the volume to modify, and then click "Cloned Partition Properties." Drag the arrows next to the partition to change the volume capacity, and then click "OK."
- If you want to clone a notebook drive, follow the instructions in your service manual to remove the previous disk from the computer and install a new device in its place. Typically, you can access the hard drive by removing one of the service panels on the bottom of the case. After extracting the previous drive, connect the device to the notebook using a SATA/IDE-to-USB adapter. Insert the SATA or IDE interface into the appropriately sized socket on the drive, and then connect the adapter to a USB slot on your notebook.
- You cannot clone a bootable hard drive to an external disk drive.
- The cloning process will erase all of the data stored to the destination drive. Back up any important information prior to cloning the source disk.
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