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November 26, 2019

3 Differences between Hard Drive Imaging and Cloning

Solid-state drives (SSD) are becoming all the rage thanks to the significant speed upgrade they deliver over standard hard-disk drives (HDD). 

When you need to move your entire operating system and your apps and your files to a new drive? That’s where cloning and imaging come in. Let’s take a look at what exactly each process involves, and why you might want to use each technique.

What is hard-drive imaging?

Imaging a hard drive is like creating a compressed file of your OS — all of the files needed to run Windows, plus anything you have saved on your hard drive, will be contained within the image, which is usually saved as an ISO file.

Recovery using an image backup

If your Windows 10 PC suffers from a blue screen error and will not boot properly, you’ll be confronted with a menu with an option to restore from a system image. In that case, you can choose your image (usually saved on an external drive or CD) and restore your PC.

What is hard-drive cloning?

Unlike drive imaging, cloning creates an exact replica — boot records, files, settings and themes — that can be used immediately as a primary drive. This cloned drive can be kept as a backup, or you can reverse clone from it to a new, blank drive.

Because cloning creates an exact copy — no compression — of a hard drive, you can only clone to a hard drive once. You can, of course, overwrite the clone on the hard drive in the case that you need the external drive for other storage.

To wrap up

Imaging a drive is best suited for keeping backups of your OS and files — but it can also be used when upgrading the hard drive in your PC. Cloning a drive is more suited for times when you’re upgrading your hard drive — but it can also be used in a backup situation.

For more information contact Ryan Danvers of ABACON IT on 072 601 2858

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