How to Get Entire Drive Data: Cloning VS imaging?

We transfer all our important stuff on our computer just to ensure that it stays safe but what if your computer crashes? Will you afford to lose all your documents, photos, music or years of collection just like that? Is there anything that you can do to safeguard it?

Well, the answer is YES, you can always take a backup of your entire hard drive on an external drive, Disk USB or any other storage device as per your preferences. Here in this article, you will get to know about the ways to get entire hard drive data back in case of a system crash. You will also get to know the key differences between Cloning and Imaging.

Disk cloning and Disk Imaging are two different processes furnishing the same goal. It is a process of making a copy of your entire hard drive content. This is a lot different from just the copy & paste process. You can use Windows Tool to perform the task or use the Best Disk Image Software for Windows to create a backup of your hard drive.

Copy & Paste

Copy and paste is the elementary process of making duplicates. You can copy and paste the entire content of your hard drive on to another one however when you do that, you only copy the actual file but not the additional details associated with it. There is additional data that a hard drive uses to discover and access a file like the Master Boot Record (MBR) and the File Allocation Table. You can’t create a bootable hard drive by copying and pasting.

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Disk Cloning

The process of copying the entire content of one hard drive to another with its complete information including the Master Boot Record, File Allocation Table, and boot sector content is known as Disk Cloning. With the cloning process, you can create a one-to-one copy of your hard drive that can be used on any computer system.

The cloned hard drive becomes identically bootable, fully operational and accessible on other computers. A cloned hard drive is an uncompressed replica version of your hard drive that can be used in case of a system crash. Cloning is quick but not as flexible as imaging. It can be categorized into three sections.

Overhead: This section consist of boot information, partition information, and the contents of recovery partitions.

Data: This includes all the documents, music, videos, files and folders on the initial hard drive. It also consists of information that permits the Operating System to find and manage the data.

Free Space: This is the unused area of your hard drive.

Disk Imaging

There is a slight difference in Disk Cloning and Disk Imaging. When you make an archival backup or create an image of the Hard Drive, it stores the entire content of the source hard drive including bootable information of the operating system. Applying the disk image to the second hard drive is mandatory to ensure it works.

There can be several disk images stored in a single hard drive or an optical media and flash drives. Disk imaging creates a large compressed file of your existing hard drive that can be stored on external hard drives or file shares.

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As Disk Imaging takes less space due to compression, you can store multiple images or can also go for incremental backup or differential backup to save your files. An incremental backup saves every change that you make to your computer.

The major difference between an image backup and a clone is Free Space is ignored in an image backup and the layout of the files on your primary hard drive is overlooked.


If you wish to create a backup of your computer, creating a Disk Image is the best option. There is no such requirement of putting in extra efforts, space, time and resources to create a Disk Clone. Image files are smaller in size and significantly faster to create and use.

You can use Windows Tool to perform the task or use the Best Disk Image Software for Windows to create a backup of your hard drive. Now never lose your precious data and keep a backup of everything and anything precious to you. These Disk Image Software for Windows will ease up the process and do the work in a few clicks. Do share with us in the comment section and let us know which one worked well for you.

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