How to Clone a Hard Drive? Step by Step Guide for Dummies
How to Clone a Hard Drive
A tech-savvy user always has a back-up for files, software, apps and OS. With increasing security threats that can be incurred online such as viruses, worms, and Trojan malware that corrupt data, it really is a necessity to have a data back-up. One of the ways we can secure copies of our computer data is to clone the hard drive. The process sounds complicated, but it is very easy with steps described below.
Step 1: Obtain a destination drive
Of course, the back-up or cloned data should be stored somewhere other than the hard drive to be cloned. An external hard disk or even hybrid SSD/HD drives are usually used as the destination drive. Just make sure that the capacity of the target drive is equal, or ideally, even larger than the original hard disk source.
Step 2: Obtain a cloning tool
Cloning a hard drive is not the same as copy-and-paste that we do on normal flash drives. It needs a tool or software that facilitates the actual cloning. The cloning tool reads the files to be cloned, creates the copy, and transport the data and system to the destination drive. There are cloning and backup tools that can be downloaded free while others need to be paid for. Choosing the tool’s capacities is also a must as some can only image a disk and not clone, or some can only run specifically for Windows or Mac.
You can take a look on the top two most popular hard drive cloning softwares Acronis True Image and Clonezilla in another article – In search for the best hard drive cloning software. Acronis True Image is very easy to use, but paid software, while Clonezilla is very basic and free to use.
Install a Free cloning software that will do the job for you
Step 3: Declutter and Clean-Up
Cloning the hard drive can be a good opportunity to do some general data cleaning. Let go of unnecessary files, uninstall programs and apps that are no longer used. Under normal circumstances, we do not want a replicate of our garbage right? The same goes for electronic files. These unwanted data will just take up precious storage space and will even contribute to the length of time it takes to clone the hard drive. So it is best to let these go.
Step 4: Proceed with Cloning
When we have a destination drive that is already plugged into the computer port, and a cloning tool that is installed; we can now proceed with the cloning. This is actually the easiest step because the cloning tool will do all the work for you. We just sit back and wait for the process to finish. Depending on the cloning tool, the steps may vary. So it is best to refer to the cloning tool guidelines for reference.