How-To: Clone Windows Hard Drive

Disk cloning is a procedure used for backing up the contents of a hard disk or partition of a hard disk to another disk or partition of the same hard or to an image file inside a partition. Partition is usually described as a part or a division inside a particular hard disk where only one type of file-system is used. File-systems are based on the operating system installed on the hard disk partition or the operating system which is creating the hard disk partition. Windows usually has its own partition type. Windows uses FAT (File Allocation Table) or NTFS (New Technology File System) file-systems. Nowadays Windows uses NTFS file-systems because of its better security and indexing features. Cloning is usually done to recover a partition from accidental crashes, virus attacks or decrease in performance of the operating system. Cloning is usually better than re-installing the entire operating system and loading back the previously installed programs again into the hard disk. Here we are going to discuss how we can clone or backup a particular windows partition using some easy software.

Before cloning we have to prepare the hard disk. Unwanted and temporary files have to be removed to save hard disk space and make the cloning operations quicker and easier. Disk de-fragmentation is also recommended before cloning. Corrupt files have to be fixed or remove from the partition. File-system errors have to be fixed. The hard disk partition should actually produce maximum performance with minimum system resources before we start the cloning operations.

There are many steps involved in cloning a hard drive. First, install the cloning software. Second, add a new hard drive. If you choose a new hard drive, then it should be made secondary and the first hard drive to be primary. These configuration changes are to be made at BIOS (Basic Input Output System) during the boot process (before loading the operating system). Third, run the cloning software. Follow the instructions in your cloning software. Choose the old drive as the source and the new drive as the destination or target for the backing up the partition. Then start and complete the cloning process. Fourth, remove the primary hard disk and replace the secondary hard disk as the primary hard disk. Jumper settings on the hard disk changed and BIOS settings on the system should be configured properly to make the secondary hard disk primary. Fifth, restart the computer again to boot up the new hard drive. Check if everything copied correctly and is working properly.

To copy a specific partition. Run the cloning software. Select the source and destination partitions. Start the cloning process. Once it completes. Safeguard the destination partition or image file from accidental changes or damages. When any errors or crash occurs to the original partition, then use the cloning tool to fix the original partition using the secondary backup partition.
For cloning a partition’s file-system, computer users usually use special types of cloning software on the market. They are also called imaging programs. Symantec Norton Ghost, DriveImage XML, Paragon’s Drive Backup Express, Acronis True Image Home are some of the software used for cloning windows partitions. The software includes additional features which can prepare the hard disk before the cloning operation. Norton Ghost is a disk cloning program product sold by Symantec. Its features include DeployAnywhere, Hot Imaging, logical volume support, additional image formats, and new PreOS (boot disk) operating systems. DriveImage XML is a basic tool to create images drives and partitions and will restore either their original or a different drive. Paragon Drive Backup is developed and owned by Paragon Software Group is brimming with features, wizards and easy to use tools to complete a variety of utility tasks and create an exact image of your hard drive, including windows operating systems for complete restoration purposes. Cloning hard disk is a process which should be done in software industries which handles delicate and important data or service.