There are tons of different ways you can create a copy of your computer hard drive. Some methods are easier than others and some only copy the files, without their context. These copies aren't exactly identical and if they contain an operating system, such as Windows, they aren't likely to boot. The aim of this guide is to show you how to create an exact replica of any hard drive you may have in your possession.
As we mentioned there are countless programs and apps that allow you to backup your hard drives, keeping a copy of your precious content safe. What most of these programs can’t do however is make a clone of your hard drive, including the Operating system. This is where one program stands out from the crowd. Clonezilla, as it's called, allows you to make an exact copy of your hard drive which you can either save as an ISO file or copy directly to another hard drive. This copy is even precise enough to boot Windows from.
How to Clone your Hard Drive using Clonezilla.
Using Clonezilla to make a copy of your hard drive is relatively simple, although it may seem a little daunting using such an old school interface. Rest assured, if you follow the steps closely and read the options in the program as you progress, you won’t have any issues. To start the process you will need to download Clonezilla, which you can do using the link below.
Note: Make sure you get the right file. Under CPU architecture select amd64 if you are using a 64-bit processor. Obviously, if you are using 32-bit you will need to get 32bit. If you get confused on the website there is a fair bit of information you can read to get you back on track.
Once you have Clonezilla downloaded, you will need to make a bootable USB drive for the file, if you don’t have a program for this you can use Rufus which will get the job done quickly and easily.
Note: If you downloaded Clonezilla as an ISO file you can burn it to a CD/DVD to use instead of a USB drive.
The next step after creating a bootable USB drive is to connect the drive you wish to copy onto. (the target drive). You’ll need to make sure that this drive has plenty of free space, enough to accommodate the contents of your original drive (source drive) and some spare. You also need to be aware that if there is any data on the drive you are cloning to, it will be overwritten in the cloning process.
Once you have your boot device sorted and your hard drive connect, you can start the process. Depending on your computer’s boot settings, you may need to change the UEFI settings to allow it to boot from a USB or DISK. (Google is your best friend if you need to find out how to change the UEFI on your system)
When Clonezilla boots, press Enter and accept the default settings. You will then be asked to choose your language which you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select. On the next screen, you will be shown key map options, again just choose Don’t Touch Keymap. The next screen will ask you if you want to Start Clonezilla or Enter Shell, Press Enter here to start Clonezilla.
Here is where the magic begins, Clonezilla will now ask you to choose its operating mode. To make a copy of your hard drive as a disk image, choose the first option device-image. (This will create an image file) As we are making a clone we will be selecting the second option device-device. (making a clone drive)
After choosing device-device, Clonezilla will give you two more options. Beginner Mode or Expert Mode. If you are just making a copy or clone Beginner Mode is fine. If you are wanting to change some of the details feel free to explore the options within Expert Mode.
Next, Clonezilla will ask you to choose how you want to clone your disk/disks. The first option will create an exact copy of the hard drive, including partitions such as the bootloader and any others you've previously defined. (this is the quickest and easiest way to create a drive clone) If you only want a certain partition cloned from your drive choose the second option. Once you have chosen, the next thing you need to do is choose the drive you are cloning from the list of devices connected to your computer (source dive). Following this, you will be asked to select the drive you want the clone to be created on. (target drive)
Remember: The drive you are copying onto must have a larger capacity and free space for the process to work properly. If you are trying to copy onto a smaller drive everything is going to fail.
Once you've selected the target hard drive, you will need to decide if you want to change any extra parameters, skip this by selecting Return which is the default option. Next, choose your preferred option for what to do when the process is finished, choosing the default option again is best. Press Enter to confirm your choice, then Enter again to continue.
Clonezilla will now warn you that any data already on the target drive will be deleted during the cloning process. Type Y, then press Enter to continue. Finally, Clonezilla will ask you if you want to clone the source disk's boot loader, because we are making a clone type Y, then press Enter key.
After all those questions and options, Clonezilla will finally start collecting information about the drive partitions and begin the cloning process. After the process is complete, Clonezilla will ask if you wish to shutdown or restart your computer. Or do whatever you chose in the setup process. Depending on how much data you are cloning, will affect how long the process will take, expect to be waiting a fair amount of time if you are copying a 500gb + drive.