Norton Ghost was the best free disk imaging software until Symantec decided to put a price tag on it and eventually discontinue the product, the last version is Norton Ghost 15 and is being replaced by enterprises version Symantec System Recovery for business. Almost all laptop computer manufacturer such as HP, Dell, Asus, Lenovo, Apple, Acer and more no longer provide Microsoft Installation DVDs, Windows operating system are now hidden in a ‘secret’ drive within C drive. The reason being that:
- It is better for the environment.
- Faster formatting and installation time.
Related Article / Part 2 » Top 15 Free Data Recovery Software for Windows and Mac
The only drawback is what if your hard disk crashed? What if you decided to upgrade your SATA hard disk to SSD hard disk? How do you go about replacing your hard disk together with the Windows software in it? You can’t copy the files since it is hidden, you have no choice but to ‘clone’ it. Without further ado, here are 5 methods and software that enables you to clone your laptop and desktop hard disk.
1 – Microsoft Windows Backup and Restore
This comes free with all Microsoft Windows operating system. This feature enables you to create a duplicate copy of your drive with additional hidden drives. A Windows Complete PC Backup image contains copies of your programs, system settings, and files. It is a complete system backup that you can use to restore the contents of your computer if your hard disk or entire computer ever stops working.
2 – EaseUS Disk Copy Home – Free Disk Partition Clone Software
EaseUS Disk Copy Home is a faster & easier disk cloning software with reliable & powerful data backup and restore features to fully protect your data and computer. This is a brilliant disk clone, SSD migration and hard disk upgrade solution. Unlike the free ‘Backup and Restore’ disk cloning function in Windows, EaseUS comes with more features, such as:
- Incremental and differential backup – Only back up changes made since the previous backup, saving time and storage space.
- Schedule backup – Flexible backup scheduler allows backups to run based on daily, weekly, monthly or event.
This is very useful because have an exact copy of all your files and Windows settings at any given time.
3 – Macrium Reflect Free – Free Disaster Recovery
Macrium Reflect Free works on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1 (32 and native 64 Bit). It is the fastest disk imaging and cloning software! What makes this different from others is the support for GUID Partition Table, also known as GPT. GPT is meant as a replacement to hard drives using a MBR partition table, which have a 2.20TB size limitation and extends upon UEFI. Using GPT a drive could support between 8 and 9.4 ZB depending on the sector size. Some of the more unique features are:
- Access images in Windows Explorer.
- Schedule backups.
- Linux Rescue CD.
- Windows PE Rescue Media (RAID support).
4 – Acronis True Image WD Edition and Seagate DiscWizard
Acronis True Image WD Edition Software helps you to completely clone your current system drive onto your new WD hard drive. Cloning makes an exact copy of your old system drive on your new WD hard drive, including the operating system, applications, data, preferences, and email settings. Everything will be present and operate exactly as it did on your old hard drive. Key Features of Acronis True Image WD Edition Software:
- Drive Cloning – Copies the source drive to a new WD drive, leaving all data on the source drive.
- Drive Migration – Erase the source drive after the new WD drive has been imaged.
- Drive Deployment – Enables users to prepare a WD drive so that selected folders or partitions can be excluded from the destination image.
- Drive Image Backup – The long-term usage of the Drive Kit software will be to provide full drive image backups of a source drive at any time. Backup drive images will be stored as a file, which can be copied to any direct attached drive, network attached storage drive or optical media (CD/DVD).
- Drive Image Recovery – The Recovery Manager enables users to restore a drive image from a direct or network attached drive. The Recovery Manager can also either erase just a portion of the drive to be used for the restored drive image, or all of the previous OS.
- Create a Bootable Standalone Recovery Manager – With the Drive Kit software, users can create a bootable ISO image file, which contains the WD Drive Kit Standalone Recovery Manager software.
- Recover a Drive Image from the Bootable Recovery Manager Software – The bootable Standalone Recovery Manager enables users to recover a drive image from either a CD/DVD drive, a direct attached drive, or a network attached drive.
- Download the Data Lifeguard Tools software (Acronis True Image WD Edition and user manual and the WD diagnostic tool) and follow the instructions provided to complete the installation.
Acronis True Image WD Edition now supports WD Advanced Format Drives and ensures that all partitions are optimally aligned.
5 – Acronis True Image Seagate DiscWizard
Seagate DiscWizard only works with Maxtor and Seagate disc drives. The software lets you quickly install your new disc drive with wizards that guide you through the processes of creating and formatting partitions on your disc drive, transferring data, and backing up your data.
Why It Is Important To Have A Backup Copy Of Your Hard Disk?
Murphy’s law, anything bad that can happen will happen. It is always better to be safe than sorry, thus, buy a USB portable hard disk and keep a backup copy of all your files.