Sometimes it is necessary to create a full copy of a USB flash drive or memory card. This may be necessary if the bootable flash drive contains various programs, Android or iOS user data, password storage services or any other useful software.
To successfully accomplish this task it is necessary to use additional software that allows to create an exact copy of the flash drive or memory card.
The best software to clone a USB flash drive:
- Method 1: ImageUSB
- Method 2: USB Image Tool
- Method 3: AOMEI Partition Assistant
Card cloning and file copying: what is the difference?
There is an important difference between simply copying the contents of a USB flash drive and creating a complete clone of it. If you select /files, use "Ctrl + C" and copy them to a hard disk or a memory card with "Ctrl + V" then the checksums will be different and this will strongly affect the performance of programs and memory usage.
This is due to the fact that flash drives have their own partitioned file system and memory partitions. In order to take it into account this feature a special software should be used to clone the USB key.
Solution 1: ImageUSB
The ImageUSB portable utility enables you to create an exact copy of the contents on your USB flash drive. The software is licensed free of charge. Download ImageUSB from the link on the official site. To date, more than 100 000 users have installed the application.
A distinctive feature of the utility is that the developers have made it possible to write data to several USB flash drives simultaneously. Their number is limited only by the number of USB ports. This saves you a significant amount of time.
In order to clone a USB flash drive or a memory card, follow simple instructions:
- Download ImageUSB to any folder of your hard drive and unzip the archive;
- Run the executable file ImageUSB.exe . On the first step, select one of your detachable USB devices connected to PC;
- In the second step you will see all possible settings and operations related to the mass storage device: creating new image of stick or memory card or writing image to the storage device. Also available are the deletion of all data on the medium and the formatting (conversion to another file system); Select the desired action Create image from USB drive .
- Select or enter the path of the directory where you wish to place a clone of the selected media;
- Confirm the start of the cloning process by clicking the Create ("Create") button.
- Wait while the program creates an exact copy of the flash or memory card on the storage medium. This may take several minutes, especially if you have a lot of data.
The utility works on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Windows operating system. The interface has been recently translated into Russian, therefore even an inexperienced user should have no problem understanding the software.
Way 2: USB Image Tool
The free USB Image Tool allows you to create and manage USB media cloned images. It is really simple to use and available in Russian. You can download it from the developer's website by following this link. At the moment more than 400 000 users have downloaded the application.
Tool does not need to be installed. Simply unzip the downloaded archive and run the executable USB-image-tool.exe . Then please follow this plan of action:
- After you have started the tool you will see the software window. In the left part of the window you will see the list of all the USB storage devices connected to your PC. Select the device by clicking on it;
- In the lower right part of the window, the Backup button appears, click on it;
- Select the directory on your HDD where you wish to insert the USB or Memory Card clone. Once you have entered the path, click Save button in the system dialogue;
- Wait until the image creation is finished. The progress is indicated in the bottom left part of the window ( Saving image ).
- To transfer the copy of the media to another USB key there are two more steps to follow:
- In the list of the USB devices connected to the PC choose the one to which you wish to transfer the copy and click Restore ;
- Please specify the previously created copy and open it. Wait until the restore process is finished. Done!
The USB Image Tool is extremely easy to use. Its clearly laid out interface makes it really intuitive to use.
It works on Windows XP, 7,10 and other operating systems. This is a great advantage over more demanding applications like AOMEI Partition Assistant described below.
How to use AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard Edition
The powerful AOMEI Partition Assistant is the ultimate memory management tool for your USB keys and hard disks. It is particularly useful for creating data copies with structure and checksum validation.
To download AOMEI, follow this link to the official website and click Download freeware .
Follow the instructions below:
- Install and open AOMEI Partition Assistant ;
- In the window that appears, locate the Wizard ("Wizard") section in the upper left corner > All Tools and click on Disk Clone Wizard ;
- Choose the Clone Disk Quickly option from the given two choices. The operation Sector-by-Sector Clone is not suitable to clone your Flash Drive or Memory Card;
- The Select Source Disk window displays a list of removable drives connected to the computer. Choose the one you would like to un-copy. Click once and then click Next (Next);
- In the window Select Destination Disk indicate the directory you wish to clone the selected earlier. Also click on it once and confirm your choice;
- Confirm the operation by clicking on Finish . But this is not the end of the cloning procedure: you need to take everything you have done to become effective;
- Back in the main window of the utility you will find in the upper left corner an Apply button, click on it;
- Be finished and click on OK . Cloning may take quite a long time but in the end a complete clone of the selected media will be located in the selected directory.
The AOMEI utility is payable: the full version without feature restrictions will cost the user $48 and the cross-platform version will cost $179. However, it is also possible to install the demo version which has enough features to create a USB flash drive clone.
The only drawback of the demo version for this method of copying is its unstable operation on Windows operating systems older than version 10. The developers have not found a way to solve the problem; the purchase of paid versions of the utility or choice of other programs for cloning has not been found yet.