The hard drive is an electronic device that stores any digital data type, like documents, videos, files, music, images, applications, etc. However, a hard drive can be internal as well as external. The internal hard drive is present inside your computer systems or laptops. An external hard drive means an electronic device that we usually connect to laptops or computers through USB ports.
Additionally, hard drives are further categorized into hard disk drives (HDD) and solid-state drives (SSD). Hard disk drives (HDD) stores information in a spinning disk and heads do the read and write of data into the disk.
Therefore, HDD has moving elements in it. They are available according to the storage space required. Unlike hard disk drives, Solid-state drives (SSD) do not have moving components and use semiconductors to hold the data. There are capacitors in SSD that change their state every time the information is added into SDD.
You might be getting a question about what cloning is. Cloning means creating a duplicate copy of anything. So, hard disk cloning implies creating a duplicate of hard disk drives or solid-state drives.
What is hard drive cloning?
As we know, cloning means preparing an identical copy of anything. Hard Drive cloning implies preparing the replica of the particular hard drive that contains the same information as present in the original one. While creating the duplicate model of a specific hard drive, all content is written in an image file. Later, the replica hard drive is then created using the content of this image file.
Back-up and cloning are entirely different terms. Back-up implies creating a copy of a single file, two or more files, or entire files according to the user’s wish. On the contrary, disk cloning means creating a replica of a particular hard drive. The cloned disk incorporates every information from the original disk.
Need for hard drive cloning
Why are the hard disks cloned? Is there any need to create a duplicate model of a particular hard disk drive or solid-state drive? The answer to your question is here. The primary purpose of cloning the hard drive is to upgrade the older drive or replace an aging or old drive with a new one.
Your data from the original hard drive can often be lost due to some disasters or threats. In such circumstances, cloned drives are handy in recovering from such risks. In other words, you can use the cloned drive as a backup of data for future use. Sometimes you need one system’s data on another system. So, cloning hard drives can be an efficient method to transfer them between two systems.
What is hard drive cloning software?
The software device or application that performs any hard drive cloning is referred to as the hard drive cloning software. This software device helps copy every bit of information present in the hard drive to an image file. This image file is then used to copy the data into another hard drive. Using hard drive cloning applications saves time and replicates all data quickly with ease. When you use cloning software, you get an entire image of your computer at a single location.
Factors to consider while selecting cloning software
An extensive set of cloning applications are available in the market today. Each cloning software has its unique characteristics and features. But, before you select any software for cloning your hard drive, there are specific parameters that you must take into account. The following are some crucial parameters that your cloning application should possess:
The first and primary element to consider while choosing the hard drive cloning application is to have an intuitive and clean interface. Your cloning application should be easy to use for novice users as well. Additionally, it should possess the simplest and easiest method for creating a replica or restoring your system’s data.
Efficiency is one of the significant factors to consider while choosing any software or hardware device. When you select your hard drive cloning application, make sure that it can restore or create a replica of multiple systems parallelly. Restoring the data from numerous computers parallelly saves valuable time.
Another primary factor your cloning software should possess is flexibility. Flexibility implies your application should offer you multiple back-ups or restore options, like when would like to backup, where to backup, and many other options.
Security plays a very significant role in every aspect. You must make sure that the hard drive cloning software that you choose should be capable of protecting your data from threats and damages.
How to clone a hard drive?
Hard drive cloning has become more manageable due to the availability of a handful of applications. These cloning applications save time and the manual workload of cloning a hard drive. Before we dive into the steps about how to clone a hard drive, there are specific points or tips you must look after.
Preparation for hard drive cloning:
- Before you start cloning a hard drive, the first step is to choose another hard drive in which you want to restore the data.
- Make sure that your target or destination hard drive has more storage space than the source hard drive.
- After choosing your destination hard drive, download the drive cloning application by considering the above-stated factors.
- When you choose the new hard drive as the destination drive, make sure it is formatted.
- The rearmost but not the least point is to clean unwanted files, data, and programs from the source hard drive using any cleaning application.
Steps for hard drive cloning on Windows and Mac OS X:
Hard Drive cloning is a simple process, and the applications have made it very manageable. Depending on the type of system, Windows or Mac OS X, you should choose the best drive cloning application. Now, let us focus on the hard drive cloning steps:
- Follow all the steps for preparing your target hard drive. After that, plug in your target hard drive into the USB port of the system.
- Download and install your selected cloning software application and follow the steps required to access it.
- Start your cloning software, and you will notice Clone this drive option.
- Make sure that your target drive is formatted.
- After that, start the hard drive cloning process. It takes a little bit of time, depending upon the size of data present on the system.
Top 10 Best Hard Drive Cloning Software
In the above part, we have looked at the factors to consider while selecting any cloning software. Depending on those factors, you should make a wise decision and choose the top cloning software. A broad set of cloning software tools are available in the market. Many of these tools are free to use, some require monthly or yearly subscription plans, and some devices require a one-time payment. Below are some top and high-rated cloning software devices, along with their characteristics:
Acronis is one of the top and leading hard drive cloning and backup software tools used widely. It incorporates a wide variety of features that makes it very manageable for users to backup and clone. This software keeps your digital data safe and protected.
- Acronis is very useful in recovering users’ organizational data. It has a feature of antimalware that helps users in protecting the data from threats and damage.
- It offers dual protection by cloning your system automatically in the cloud.
- The feature of active hard drive cloning creates a duplicate model of Windows and macOS systems, and the data migrates into the other drive with ease.
- As this software performs backups in the cloud, you can access your system’s file from any location and anytime.
- Acronis incorporates a Survival Kit Tool that performs a back-up of everything present in your system.
- It is an all-in-one device that supports image backup, file and folder backup, Microsoft 365 backup, offers real-time protection to data, protects your system from ransomware and crypto-jacking, etc.
Price: Acronis software is packed in three packages, Essential, Advanced, and Premium. The Essential package is available at $49.99, an Advanced package at $69.99, and the Premium at $99.
AOMEI Backupper Standard is another top hard drive cloning software used across the globe. It is specially developed for Microsoft Windows operating systems. As its name indicates, it is specially meant for backing-up windows operating systems.
- The back-up feature of the AOMEI Backupper Standard’s back-up feature offers high-protection to the system’s data. It performs file back-up, file synchronization, disk, and partition back-up.
- Another outstanding feature of this software is it starts the back-up of files automatically stored on the system. If the space is not available, it deletes old files and back-up new files.
- AOMEI Backupper Standard makes transferring the data from the system to solid-state drives more manageable using advanced technologies.
- This backup and cloning software is highly reliable, easy, and smart.
Price: AOMEI Backupper Standard software offers an extensive range of packages.
- Home: For home use, it provides Standard and Professional editions. The Standard pack is free to use, and the professional edition requires $49.95.
- Small and medium scale: On small and medium-scale enterprises, AOMEI Backupper Standard provides Server and Workstation editions. The Workstation version requires $59.95, and the Server edition requires $199.00.
- Enterprise: For enterprise purposes, you get two packages, Technical and Technician Plus. The Technical edition is available at $499.00 and Technician Plus at $899.00.
Another top and best back-up and hard drive cloning application are the Macrium Reflect. Since the year 2006, Macrium Reflect has evolved in its domain and offers more advanced features.
- One of the Macrium Reflect software tools’ significant advantages is that it offers a free edition with limited and primary back-up and cloning features.
- It is the best solution if you want your system to back-up quickly, rapidly, and efficiently.
- Macrium Reflect software tool is capable of upgrading your hard drive using cloning features. Also, it creates a recoverable file containing essential and personal data.
- It allows the feature of scheduling back-up according to your time, file size, length, and many other elements.
- Macrium Reflect uses the technology called Rapid Delta, which enhances the speed of the cloning process.
Price: Macrium Reflect is packed with four different packages, Home, Workstation, Server, and Server Plus.
- Home Edition: The Home plan for a single license costs %69, and for four PC licenses, it costs $139.95.
- Workstation Edition: Another edition is the Workstation edition. For nine PCs, it requires $75 per PC. If you have more than ten PCs, you need to pay $67.50 per PC. The final plan is the Server.
- Server: The Server edition for nine PCs requires an amount of $275 per PC, and for more than ten servers, it requires $247.50 per PC.
- Server Plus: Next edition is Server Plus. It charges $599 per PC for nine PCs, and for more than ten PCs, you need to pay $539.10 per PC.
One of the most famous and top hard drive cloning and back-up software tools is MiniTool Partition Wizard. This software is best suited for all sizes of businesses to manage external drives efficiently. It is one of the robust applications that provide Space Analyzer and Disk Benchmark features.
- MiniTool Partition Wizard offers extremely outstanding partition management features.
- It provides training to novice users through online sessions, webinars, and documentation.
- This software tool is packed with numerous robust features, including anti-spam, anti-virus, compliance management, database security audit, maintenance schedules, etc.
- The drive cloning feature of MiniTool Partition Wizard is responsible for managing partitions, aligning partitions, and cloning drives quickly.
- If your data is damaged or lost because of system crashes, this software provides recovery of files and partitions.
- Other popular characteristics include moving and resizing partitions, merging partitions, formatting partitions, converting FAT32 files to NTFS, etc.
Price: MiniTool Partition Wizard is enclosed in three distinct packages, Free, Home, and Professional.
- Free: This version of MiniTool Partition Wizard is available freely.
- Home: Home package of this software is available at a price ranging from $59 to $99.
- Professional: The professional plan costs $259 for a single server. If you have 99 devices within an organization, it requires $399. The next plan costs $699 for 299 devices located anywhere.
Another top hard drive cloning, disk partitioning, and disk imaging software tool is Clonezilla. It is also very well-known for back-up and recovery purposes. Clonezilla has another version called Clonezilla Live. It is specially used for restoring and backing-up files.
- The best feature of Clonezilla is it is an open-source and free to use software tool. Additionally, the interface of this device is highly intuitive and user-friendly.
- You can download and install Clonezilla in a more accessible and manageable way.
- It provides regular updates and new versions with improved features and security.
- This software device is a web-based tool that is best suited for all scales of businesses and enterprises.
- Clonezilla performs massive cloning using the multicast feature.
- It is an all-in-one software device that is licensed under the GNU General Public License.
- Clonezilla’s other characteristics include back-up scheduling, disaster recovery, continuous back-up, drive cloning, secure data storage, etc.
Price: Free, as it is an open-source software device.
Paragon Drive Copy is a widely used data back-up hard drive cloning and data migration software tool. It is specially developed for Microsoft Windows operating systems. But, it is best suited for home users or personal use. Paragon Drive Copy software device is compatible to work with Microsoft Windows 7 and later versions.
- Paragon Drive Copy is capable of creating a back-up of large-sized files.
- The feature of data migration enables users to transfer their data from any operating system to hard drive or other operating systems.
- Paragon Drive Copy also incorporates the feature of hard drive cloning that copied the particular operating system’s data into an external hard drive.
- The disk management feature allows users to keep their hard disks well-organized.
- Partition management features include merging partitions, splitting partitions, and distributing free space in each partition.
Price: Paragon Drive Copy is packed in two distinct versions, Home and Business.
- Home: Paragon Drive Copy’s Home version is specially designed for personal use. It requires an amount of $79.95.
- Business: This edition is categorized into four sub-categories, Workstation, Server, Technician, and Site. The Workstation package is available at $99, the Server at $499, the Technician at $599, and the Site at $899.
EaseUS Todo Backup is a highly reliable, easily manageable, and smartest back-up and hard drive cloning software device. It incorporates highly advanced back-up, cloning, and security characteristics. EaseUS Todo Backup tool is affordable and straightforward to use.
- EaseUS Todo Backup software device has an intuitive and smart interface, which is suitable for beginners as well.
- Using this software device, you can protect your business size, as it offers the best back-up solutions.
- You can also schedule automatic and continuous back-ups of your systems.
- It can restore every business data type instantly and quickly.
- The cloning feature allows you to copy the section of your hard drive after extract.
Price: EaseUS Todo Backup software device has four different plans: Workstation, Server, Advanced Server, and Technician.
- Workstation: EaseUS Todo Backup’s workstation edition costs $39 for a single license for one PC.
- Server: This edition requires an amount of $199 per PC for a single license.
- Advanced Server: An Advanced Server edition charges $299 for a single PC and a single license.
- Technician: It is an advanced version, which costs $999 for multiple systems. The significant advantage of this edition is it provides a single license for several systems.
O&O Disk Image is one of the commonly used software devices throughout the world. It stands at the top position in its domain because of its outstanding and extraordinary features. The O&O Disk Image tool is highly flexible and reliable. It is best suited for home as well as business use.
- O&O DiskImage is one of the safest and reliable software solutions for quicker data back-up. It is an all-in-one device that enables users to back-up the entire data or a single file.
- It has made the restoring of data very manageable and accessible.
- Another significant feature of O&O Disk Image is Play and Plug function. This feature allows you to save important data on your hard drive.
- The feature of Boot Medium helps users to restore the system to its original position without any installation.
- O&O Disk Image is capable of monitoring and providing warnings for security risks.
- It enables users to adjust the pixel density using the DPI setting.
Price: O&O Disk Image software device has three packers, Professional, Workstation, and Server. New users can use this software device free for 30 days.
- Professional: The Professional edition costs $49.95 for one single PC and $69.96 for five PCs.
- Workstation: This version requires an amount of $59 and includes advanced network functionalities.
- Server: Users need to pay an amount of $299 for accessing the Server version.
Another back-up, hard drive cloning, and disk image software device is R-Drive Image. It is one of the highly robust and unique software tools in its domain. R-Drive Image is specially designed for disk image purposes.
- The feature of the disk image creates the duplicate by copying every byte of hard drive or partition.
- Eventually, your system may crash, and the data may get lost. R-Drive Image helps restore and back-up a large amount of data stored in the system in such circumstances.
- It has a very straightforward and more accessible interface that is also suitable for novice users.
- R-Drive Image provides S.M.A.R.T. warning. S.M.A.R.T. stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology. This technology is used to avoid hardware failure.
- The process of cloning using R-Drive Image is speedy and rapid.
- It offers an extensive set of options that are very easy to use and handle.
Price: R-Drive Image software tool comes in two different versions, R-Drive Image Standalone and R-Drive Image Technician.
- R-Drive Image Standalone: Users can buy this version of R-Drive Image at $45 for one license.
- R-Drive Image Technician: This version is available at $300 for a single license. It offers more advanced features.
10. DriveImage XML
DriveImage XML is one of the top software tools for the disk image, back-up, and hard drive cloning purposes. This software device is highly manageable, as it has an intuitive interface. As its name suggests, users can save or store their image files in XML format.
- DriveImage XML offers an accessible and manageable way of copying one hard disk’s content into the other.
- Any logical file or partitions can be backed-up into image formats with ease.
- Images stored in one hard drive can be restored into the same or different hard drives.
- It also supports back-up scheduling.
- The feature of hard drive cloning enables users to copy the system’s data to hard drive with ease.
Price: There are two versions of DriveImage XML, Private and Commercial.
- Private: DriveImage XML’s Private version is specially developed for personal or home use. It is an open-source edition.
- Commercial: The Commercial edition is best suited for all sizes of businesses. It is a paid edition. The price varies according to the number of users.
Benefits of Hard Drive Cloning
We have seen the top cloning software devices with their features. Cloning any drive or restoring data of the system is very helpful. Now let us have a glance at the benefits of hard drive cloning.
- Cloning the drive provides you an entire backup of your computer system within less time than the manual backup. All applications, files, and operating systems of your PC or laptop get cloned.
- Another advantage of cloning a hard drive is upgrading your hard drive. No extra application or hardware is required for upgrading. Your cloned drive is enough to elevate your external hard drive.
- Many times, your system may get harmed due to internal or external crashes. In such situations, a cloned drive works as a backup system. While you clone a drive, make sure to choose the bootable option. Selecting a bootable option will restore all data quickly when the system crash occurs.
- Transferring data between systems has become more accessible through the cloned drive. Additionally, there is nothing to worry about losing any data while moving because cloning copies every bit of data from the system.
In this topic, we have covered cloning, the need for cloning, hard drive cloning software, how to perform cloning, and the list of top cloning software devices. Also, we have looked at the elements to take into account while selecting the best cloning software.
The cloning of a hard drive can be done in an effortless manner using all the above-listed software devices. Each hard drive cloning software has unique attributes. We have described the characteristics of every cloning software in detail. Additionally, we also listed different editions and their prices for every cloning device, which will help you select the top and affordable software tools.