We take regular backups of our smartphones, digital camera, and other gadgets on our computer just to ensure that we safeguard our data for any type of accidental loss. Similarly, it is wise to take a backup of our computer on an external hard drive ensuring data safety and security. There are numerous methods to backup or copy data depending on the purpose of the backup.
One of the most popular methods is Disk Cloning & Disk Imaging that ensures that the entire data is copied with the existing file formats with an exact replica of files and formats. Here in this article, you’re going to explore what it is, what is the Difference Between Disk Cloning and Disk Imaging, and how to Clone Disk in Windows 10.
What is Disk Cloning?
The process of creating an exact replica of a hard disk drive (HDD) or (SSD) is termed Disk Cloning. This process not only copies the files but also copies the architecture and sector-wise allocation of the hard drive. Disk Cloning is majorly used when you wish to upgrade your hard drive or replace an HDD with an SDD. It can basically replace the original copy to run as the main drive on a computer. Data scientists also use Disk Cloning for disaster recovery or forensics analysis.
People use various software for disk cloning or try different applications for disk imaging as per their need. There are dedicated cloning software that has specialized features for specific hardware conditions.
Difference Between Disk Imaging & Disk Cloning
Disk Imaging: Disk Imaging feature creates large and compressed files of your hard drive. These files can be restored back to boot your device to the desktop. Image files are larger in size hence are saved on external drives, network drives, LAN, cloud, or on a memory disk. Disk Imaging creates a byte-by-byte archive of the entire content on the hard drive. This compresses file is mostly saved as an ISO file but it works as a huge zip file.
Disk Cloning: is a process of creating an exact replica of the hard drive by copying the entire contents of a hard drive to another hard drive. With cloning, you can’t differentiate the source drive and the destination drive. You can anytime switch between or replace the cloned drive however you will only be able to see the content that was there while cloning.
Both the processes involve rigorous steps to perform the data transfer and its way too different from simply copying and pasting. Both the processes are used to back up a drive or replace an old, corrupted, or a failed drive with a faster, bigger and better one.
How to Clone Disk in Windows 10
There are different ways of cloning a disk in Windows 10. You can do it manually with the inbuilt utility or make use of one of the best hard drive clone software. We’ve covered the manual process in this article.
Step 1. Right-click on the Windows start menu and then click on the Settings (gear) icon. You can also press (Win + I) to get into Windows settings.
Step 2. Scroll down the list and click on the ‘Update & Security’ option.
Step 3. On the left-hand side panel, click on the ‘Backup’ option.
Step 4. On the right-hand side page under the ‘Looking for an Older Backup?’ section, click on the ‘Go to Backup and Restore (Windows 7) link.
Step 5. A new window will open where you need to click on the ‘Create a System Image’ link.
Step 6. Here it will ask you to select the destination location from options like ‘On a Hard Disk’, ‘On One or More DVDs’, or ‘On a Network Location.’ Select the desired location and click on the ‘Next’ button.
“Please Note: If you are using an External Hard Drive, USB Stick, or an SD Memory Card, you can select the first option ‘On a Hard Disk’ and browse through the destination path. If you are backing up the data on another PC or Storage device connected to other remote location, you can find it under Network Location, else you can select DVDs to backup. Not all the laptops come with a DVD option these days.”
Step 7. Select the source drives that need to be backed up. It will identify and display the minimum amount of free space required on the destination drive to initiate a clone backup. Once you are ready, click on the ‘Start Backup’ button to begin the process. This process may take longer depending on the file size of the source drives.
Here you have explored the basics of what cloning is, what is the difference between Disk Imaging & Disk Cloning and how to clone disk in Windows 10 using the manual process. If you find this process difficult to take a backup of your hard drive or clone disk on Windows 10, you can always use free or paid applications for disk imaging or cloning. Macrium Reflect is one of the free applications that people use to clone disk on Windows 10 and you can read its complete review on top10pcsoftware You will need to get into BIOS, change the boot sequence and go for ‘System Image Recovery’ under ‘Advanced Options’ to recover your existing hard drive. Or you can boot the system through the clone drive and then perform a recovery. Happy Computing!