Harddisk Clone Image How to

Free vs Commercial Programms compared

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Don't waste your time installing your PC, if you have already done. You can make a image after your first Installation / Customization. In case of a problem, you can restore the previous state.

Maybe you wish to change your Harddisk, without losing any Programs and Information. You can do so by cloning the whole disk to a new one.

With HDD Clonetools it is possible to make Images of your Hard disk, or copy the disk one to one to another.

In this article, we compare commercial Clone / Image Tools with free ones.
First of all: the tested free Image and Clone tools can not compete to the commercial products in terms of scope, intelligence and opportunities!
all free programs tested had at least the following deficits:
You can not clone the source hard drive to a smaller target, or have definitely problems with it!
Since Windows Vista, Windows has a built-in function to create disk images.


Windows Vista / 7
Since Windows Vista, including Windows 7, it is possible to create an image from the hard disk that can be restored to another hard disk using the Setup CD / DVD.
One Problem in this procedure maybe is the Bootpartition and the Master Boot Record. If you like to restore the image to a new Harddrive, you have to do a fresh Installation of Windows to the Point, the Bootpartition is written. From this step on, it is possible to restore the image.

with dd (dump device) a hard disk can be written in blocks to another.
Example: dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdc

commercial Tools

Norton Ghost
the first and best-known program to clone a hard drive Norton Ghost (now Symantec)
The basic principle of Ghost is a hard drive or partition in the off state copy.
Ghost can read NTFS and clone large partitions or hard disks to a smaller one. Using Ghost Explorer it is possible to open and edit image files.
The Ghost Corporate Edition ® can refuel using multicasting network of several computers simultaneously. Using Ghost Walker, the SID of a plate be rewritten so that each cloned machine is unique. (Similar NewSID)

Symantec's Norton Ghost Version 9:
PowerQuest was acquired by Symantec.
therefore the appearance has changed in the version 9 of Ghost. It now resembles in appearance DriveImage 7.
With PowerQuest DriveImage it is possible build images onlinge (without the need to restart the computer)

Hard drive cloning, create images
Backups can be started from within Windows.
-Incremental backup (only data that have changed since the last backup)
-Automatic, scheduled backups
Supported CDR / RW and DVD + -R/RW drives, USB and FireWire ® (IEEE 1394) devices as well as Zip ® - and Jaz ® drives from Iomega ®.
Manufacturer: www.symantec.com / de / de / norton / ghost

Acronis True Image
. Acronis True Image

Hard drive cloning, create images
Creation of image and restore the current Windows
Scheduler for automated backups
-Incremental backups (only back up data that have changed since the last backup)
Backup logs view
Support of CD-R/CD-RW, ZIP ®, Jaz ® and other storage devices as well as many USB 1.0/2.0 and FireWire devices
Manufacturer: acronis

Drive Snapshot
. Drive Snapshot

Disk Image Software for Windows x32 and x64 NT/2000/XP/2003/2008/2008R2/PE/7
Partitions / hard drives back up
with drive snapshot you can store your computer while it runs (even on the same partition!)
the backed up partitions are compressed and stored in large files 650MB (value can be changed)
the content of the image can then be mapped to a drive.
drive snapshot can also create an emergency boot disk (Disaster Recovery: if the system will not boot, or you want to use another hard disk for the restore, Drive Snapshot creats the MBR (Master Boot Record) and partition structure of the hard disk)
30-day trial version
then backups are no longer possible, your data can still be restored

positive: while Windows is running can create a backup that is fast and simple (during operation)
The restore works, even if the 30 day trial license over!
negative: Recovery mode is relatively complicated (in DOS),
it is not possible to clone / image drives to a smaller, not timing for backups, no incremental backups
in DOS mode, no support for CD-R, USB or Firewire

Manufacturer: www.drivesnapshot.de

free for private

DriveImage XML
Online Backup of Windows systems.
available as a BartPE plugin (to create an off line backup)
DriveImage XML


our Test environment:
Windows XP installed on a 10GB hard drive
cloned to a 20GB disk with a different disk geometry!

PC INSPECTOR ™ clone maxx:
creates a bootable floppy disk
positive: easy, fast (in our test clone a 10GB drive to a 20GB drive in 8 minutes)
negative: can not clone big drives to a smaller, only 1:1 copy, no images
Conclusion: best free offline copy 1-1 tool

Manufacturer: www.pcinspector.de/CloneMaxx/info.htm?language=2

HD Clone 2.0
positive: easy to use
- Is extremely slow
needed in our test for a 10GB to a 20GB HDD as much as two hours
- can not clone big drives to a smaller
Manufacturer: www.miray.de / download / sat.hdclone.html

g4u - Hard disk Image Cloning for PCs
positive: network support (requires an FTP server), relatively fast, for 10GB, 12 minutes in our test
negative, confusing complicated operation, can not clone big drives to a smaller
Manufacturer: www.feyrer.de/g4u

G4L - Ghost for Linux
positive: network support (requires an FTP server), relatively fast, for 10GB, 12 minutes in our test
negative: can not clone big drives to a smaller
see also: Ghost for Linux or manufacturer: g4l.sourceforge.net /


Open Source Disk Cloning Solution:
can also multicast, i.e. a hard drive image can be applied simultaneously to multiple machines (similar to Symantec Ghost Corporate Edition) supports the following file systems: ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs, xfs, jfs GNU / Linux, FAT, NTFS MS Windows and HFS + Mac OS
As with the other free programs Clonezilla clones only the same size or larger partitions. The image file can not be mounted so it is not possilbe to extract parts of it.
Part used Clone to create images of hard drives.
Details / Download see: Download Clonezilla

Part Image
Open Source disk backup software
Part image is based on Linux / Unix and can create images of partitions. Linux and Windows filesystems are supported.

Fog PXE Server

PXE server version see: Fog free PXE Serve