Make an Exact Copy of My Hard Drive
By Bob Rankin
Increase your chances of surviving a hard drive disaster by cloning your hard drive.–PC Pitstop
To clone a hard drive means to make an exact copy of it. This is more than simply backing up data files; even hidden, protected operating system files are copied in a clone operation, and the exact position of every file on the original drive is preserved. Hard drive cloning (also called imaging) is useful for backup, disaster recovery, and other applications. Read on to learn more…
How To Clone a Hard Drive
A hard drive clone or image is often stored as a single, huge file called a “disk image” file. Think of it as a snapshot of your hard drive. A disk image can be stored on a hard drive, or offline media such as DVDs. It can be stored on a network drive, a web server, or in cloud storage. Wherever the disk image is stored, having access to the whole disk image or just individual files in it is an excellent safety net against hard drive crashes.
The “rescue disk” that comes with some computers is a clone of the computer’s hard drive as it was at the time it was shipped by the manufacturer. Restoring the contents of the rescue disk returns the hard drive to its factory-new state. Of course, all your personal settings; user-installed software; and personal data files are not restored. But at least you have a working system that’s not fouled up with malware or registry errors.
Hard Drive Cloning
This is one good reason to make your own backup image copy every now and then. If something goes wrong with your hard drive, a clone copy (disk image) can restore its exact contents at a certain point in time to the same or another hard drive.
Excerpt shared with permission from Bob Rankin.