People often need to transfer files from one computer to another but sometimes it is necessary to clone the contents of an entire hard drive onto another computer. It may seem like a large task, but there are many methods that you can use to accomplish this goal. In this article, we will go over a number of methods and programs that allow you to copy an entire hard drive onto another computer, server, or device.
Automatic backup programs are great for cloning the contents of your hard drive as they automatically search your computer for new and updated files and upload them to an online server. A lot of automatic backup programs charge money but there are still plenty of them that are completely free. These programs run in the background so you hardly notice them and you can even set them to run at certain hours so you can sleep or be out of the house while the program backs up your entire computer. Those files can then be redownloaded at any time. While automatic backup programs are specifically made for cloning hard drives, they will still get the job done.
USB External Hard Drive
A USB external hard drive is a really good way to clone hard drives as they are fast, easy, and have enough storage capacity to hold multiple hard drives. A 1 TB external hard drive costs about $120 and has enough storage capacity to hold 1-2 dozen hard drives in the same place. When you plug the external hard drive into your USB port, your computer will automatically recognize and install the device. It will show up as an extra drive letter in “My Computer”. All you have to do is right click on Local Disk C, click copy, and then paste it in your external hard drive. You can then rename it to whatever you want so that you can store multiple drives on your external hard drive without them all being called “Local Disk C”.
A secondary drive is another good way to clone a hard drive. A secondary drive is just a normal hard drive that is being used as a slave drive in another computer. To do this, turn off your computer and plug an empty hard drive into your computer using the cables and power cable located inside your computer’s “tower”. Next, make sure that the black pin holder on the back of your empty hard drive is set to “slave” instead of “master”. Turn on your computer and your secondary drive should show up in “My Computer” as an extra drive letter. Right click on Local Disk C and click “copy”, then paste it into your secondary drive.
Drive Image XML
DriveImage XML allows you to make an “image” of your files and then turn that back into real files later on. The images are stored as XML files and you can even use the program on areas of your computer that are already in use. In order to clone a hard drive, you can move the XML files to another computer and convert them back into files.
CloneZilla is a fast and easy open source program that is actually based on a number of other data cloning programs in order to compile many functions into one software. CloneZilla is free and comes in two versions. One version is made for cloning a single hard drive while the other is made for cloning an entire server or dozens of computers simultaneously.
EASEUS Todo Backup
EASEUS Todo Backup allows you to back up your computer’s contents and then redownload the information at a later time or on another computer. EASEUS Todo Backup isn’t exactly cheap so I wouldn’t recommend it for a single user but companies who need to clone multiple hard drives shouldn’t have a problem paying for the service.
XXXCLONE is a good program for cloning hard drives as it allows for you to clone your entire computer at once, clone your entire computer in small increments over time, clone specific areas, or clone the system registry without backing up data. The program fees vary depending on how many computers you need to clone, however, you can just order one copy and use it as many times as you like.
Ghost 2003 is an efficient program sold by Symantec, the company who owns Norton, that actually shows you how much of your computer is backed up. Of course, the program also allows you to back up your files with a click of a button.