How to image a hard drive? Now why would you need to know this, and how would you benefit from knowing this. Well, let’s say that your system has become corrupt and is not working like it is supposed to, due to some malware that got into your system. So how are we going to recover from this? Great question, all we have to do is go to our image software and click on recover. From there it will reinstall everything back to the way it was when you made that image.
This will make it much easier to recover from, instead of having to start all over by reloading your operating system, followed by reinstalling all the programs you had , along with your docs, photos, music, and whatever else that you might have put on your hard drive. (Boy what a headache that would be) 🙁 Now this can be done by making a clone of your hard drive or an image.
Which is best? Clone a hard drive or Image one.
First off making a image or clone of your hard drive is more than backing up your data files, they both make duplicate files of the entire drive, this includes your operating system, master boot record, and allocation table (you need these to boot and run your system, backing up your files does not back those files up). Let’s go over the advantage of each one, and then you can decide which one will work best for you.
Advantage of Cloning:
In cloning a drive, you are making an exact copy of your drive onto another drive, this can be either a second drive in your machine, or an external drive that’s connected by a USB/Sata adapter. So if your system should ever become inoperable all you have to do is start your computer in the Bios Setup utility and change the Boot up Drive to the one that has your clone on it, then save and exit, start up the computer again and it will boot from your clone drive, your now ready to restore your data files, once done your back up and running in a the shortest time possible of recovering from a minor disaster.
Advantage of Images:
When imaging a drive or partition it is going to save that image in one large compressed file, thus making a smaller file than what cloning does, be it a separate partition of your drive or a different drive altogether. So if you have just one drive you will want to have more than one partition to do this (you can checkout all about partitioning a drive here).
This way you are keeping the image of the drive separate from your main drive, so in the event that your operating system becomes unstable for whatever reason, it won’t affect the saved image that resides on a different partition or drive. So if something does happen, all you have to do is run your imaging software and click on the restore image feature, and follow directions. This process takes a little longer than cloning, but it allows you to get back up and running while only having one drive. (I do this all the time with my builds where I have installed only one drive).
Another advantage is that you can make several images on one partition, say that you made an image of your drive just after you purchased it, and then latter down the road you made another one that contains all of the files and programs you have loaded onto your computer. This is giving you two points to recover from, and as long as your system is running great you can make more images down the road so you have a more current version to recover from. all without taking up too much space on your drive. (It’s like having multiple backups)
Always Back up Your Files:
Something to keep in mind is that this is not a substation to backing up your data files! If your data files remain on the same partition as your Operating System, you must keep your data files backed up. I use Windows File History (found in Windows 7 and newer) to keep my data files backed up, and you can set it up to automatically back up your files weekly. This is great a great feature because I have a bad time remembering to do it myself, even though I talk about backups all the time. LOL.
So have I got you convinced in either making an image or clone of your drive? I sure hope so; it will just give you a peace of mind knowing that if something should happen to your system, you will be covered.
How to Make an Image or Clone:
OK now you need to know how to make an image or clone of your hard drive, it’s really quite easy to do. The first thing you want to do is to download one of these free programs, the first one being my favorite (AomeI Backupper) and the other one that I have also used is (EaseUs Disk Copy). They both have tutorials explaining how to use them, so just follow along and before you know it you will be protected in case of any unforeseen damage to your system.
Now you know how to image a hard drive and how to clone a hard drive, so all that is left is for you to perform these steps on your own machine. You also now know why it is in your best interest for using one or the other to keep your system safe. If you should have any question what so ever, please let me know below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by! 🙂