When replacing a hard disk an enormous amount of time is spent on the configuration of the operating system and installation of the necessary software. You may avoid this boring task by using special programs that create clones of the SSD and HDD.
- Necessity to clone
- How long does it take to clone an HDD
- How long does it take to clone?
- Best backup software:
- Acronis True Image
- EaseUS Todo Backup Home
- Macrium Reflect
- Paragon Drive Copy
- Handy Backup
Hard Drive Clone: What is it and why is it needed
A clone is an exact copy of a drive retaining all system and program information. Such clones contain the user's personal data, OS settings, stored multimedia /files. During cloning you can create a full system image or copy individual hard disc partitions. A clone is not the same image which you can create for example with UltraISO. When you clone, you get an identical copy of the original drive with its original structure.
When you connect the donor hard drive to your PC, you do not need to reconfigure programs, recover licenses and so on. You immediately get your computer ready to go.
Preparing for disk cloning
It is important that you do not interrupt the cloning process, therefore:
- If you are copying data from the laptop hard disk (or SSD), please charge the device in advance and connect it to a power source.
- If your computer has recently shut down or rebooted on its own, repair these problems.
- If you have important data on your device that you do not wish to lose, make a backup just in case. If disaster strikes you should be able to restore from this copy.
To clone a disk you need an additional target disk.
Tip: The cloning process is faster with SATA 6 (also valid for faster versions). If you cannot connect both devices this way please use a USB interface.
How long does it take to clone a disk?
Cloning a disk is not a fast process. Its speed depends on several factors:
- The capabilities of the supporting software.
- The storage capacity of the storage device.
- The type and speed of both HDDs. The HDD is slower to transfer data than the SSD.
Hard disk copying software
There is very much software for producing a byte-by-by-byte double of the HDD. Let's focus on specific programs for cloning and data recovery.
Acronis True Image 2020
True Image is a set of tools to handle your hard disk. One of the main functions of Acronis True Image is HDD backup and data recovery on your computer.
Acronis True Image is a chargeable software. The cost of the software starts at $45 (for 1 single computer) and goes up to $93 (for 5 devices). Those users who do not wish to invest in a paid version right away may use Acronis True Image trial version for 30 days.
Acronis has its own cloud storage where you can store mounted clones. The user can connect to the cloud from any device. Cloud registration is done through email, free storage for 30 days, then a paid plan needs to be chosen.
Besides cloning there is the possibility to backup individual /files and folders. This allows significant time savings when selective backups are required.
Cloning is done in the background - so the user can work in a Windows/Mac OS environment as usual.
One of the features worth mentioning is the Acronis Survival Kit - creation of a "fireproof" kit to allow operating system recovery, booting and operation.
- Acronis True Image can operate in both manual and auto mode.
- High performance.
- The product has a rather high cost for personal use.
How to clone a hard disk completely:
- Install and start Acronis True Image.
- Go to Tools .
- Click Clone disk .
- Select Manual or Auto clone method.
- In Auto mode there will be full copy of HDD/SSD, the disk will be bootable. This method is recommended for inexperienced users.
- Experienced users may choose manual mode to control all cloning settings and also be able to select the partitions to copy.
- Select the disk to clone ( Source ).
- Specify the target disk where to copy the clone of the source disk (make sure you have enough space). Click Next.
- If the selected disc contains data, it will be deleted and overwritten with clone. If you agree to overwrite data press OK . If not, cancel the operation and start cloning again.
Download Acronis True Image
EaseUS Todo Backup Home
EaseUS Todo Backup Home is a utility for sector-by-sector copying of hard disks and selected /files. The program has a free evaluation demo and several subscriptions (each with lifetime maintenance included). Cost:
- one year subscription $79;
- two year subscription $129.
You can purchase a lifetime license for this product.
How to clone a hard disk:
- Install and run Todo Backup Home.
- Select Disk Mode. You may carry out a random copy using Partition Mode.
- Select the disk to backup, press "Next" button.
The HDD partitions will be automatically cloned. Once the process has been completed, restart your PC.
Download EaseUS Todo Backup Home
Comfortable free disk cloning tool. Macrium Reflect is fast and has a user-friendly interface. Its functions include:
- full and partial disk copying (both HDD and SSD);
- validation of the final images;
- high level of security (the program uses a multi-layer encryption system).
Hard disk cloning via Macrium Reflect:
- After you start the program you must enter the "Create a backup".
- Select "Clone this disk".
- Then you should just select the disk/partition you wish to clone and click "Next".
- You should select the disk you wish to save the clone to (option "Select a disk to clone to...").
- The copying will start automatically.
- When the cloning process is completed you should reboot the device.
Download Macrium Reflect
Paragon Drive Copy
Paragon Drive Copy is a multifunction tool which greatly extends the built-in gpedit utility in Windows.
Let us list the main functions of Paragon Drive Copy:
- Basic disk operations. These features allow you to delete, restore, hide disks, convert the file system, separate and join partitions, compress, defragment, change the serial number, mount virtual disks, and perform many other operations.
- Data migrations. Copy OS settings, user data, drives, or specific HDD partitions. This function excludes the recovery of deleted /files through corresponding programs.
- Backup and restore in the auto mode.
- Create bootable media (CD/DVD/USB).
Data copying is possible through the "Data Migration" function. User only needs to indicate a destination disk to the program and then the software starts copying the indicated data. No additional action is required during the cloning process and the user may continue to work under Windows.
At the moment Paragon Drive Copy is available in English language only. The software has a built-in step-by-step wizard that covers all basic operations. The program is payable at $79.95.
Download Paragon Drive Copy
Handy Backup is an excellent utility to clone HDD and its partitions. Basic functions are available, such as copying data and restoring it to another medium.
The program has a step-by-step wizard. All processes are automated, the user does not need to fix Registry, tune Windows or move data.
Handy Backup comes in 4 different versions:
- Standard - costs $39.
- Professional - costs $89.
- Office Expert - costs $249.
- Server Network - costs $448.
The Server Network versions differ in terms of operating system compatibility, backup path, backup locations, and additional features (sync, restore, etc.).
A free 30 days demo version is available. It provides basic functions for cloning and copying data. The interface is available in several languages and the software is easy to use.
Download Handy Backup.