Over time, our hard drives get filled with all kinds of data like image files, videos, and so on. This means that eventually you will run out of space, and if those files are important to you, you’ll definitely want to make sure that you’ve got a backup in the event your computer fails on you or your hard drive gets ruined.
Cloning a hard drive is a pretty easy way to go about mirroring the contents of your current hard drive with that of another one, and if you are using either Windows or Mac, we’ve got you covered with this guide.
In order to clone your hard drive, you’ll need to make sure that you have a second hard drive (internal or external) that has enough storage space to match that of the contents you own. Note that unlike more traditional backup methods where you copy the content of one drive to another, cloning will essentially erase all the contents on your secondary hard drive, so make sure that it’s empty or you’ll have to format it first.
Cloning A Hard Drive VS Backing Up A Hard Drive
Right off the bat, cloning a hard drive and backing up a hard drive feel almost identical. Both processes involve the copying of data from one drive to another. However, when backing up a drive, most users tend to keep files they want like documents, photos, videos, music, and so on.
Cloning a hard drive, as its name implies, basically makes a complete clone of your current drive onto another drive. This also includes your operating system, meaning that in theory, you could use a clone drive to boot your computer up with. It also copies system files, saved preferences, and so on.
You could almost think of cloning as a more “complete” form of backup, but if you’re more interested in just keeping specific files, then a regular backup will suffice. In some cases, like for Apple’s devices, the company does offer automated cloud backups through its iCloud service, which could be worth looking into if you’re only interested in keeping your media files.
How To Clone A Hard Drive For Windows
- Download and install Macrium Reflect and select for Home Use
- Launch the app and you should see a list of drives connected to your computer including external drives
- Click the checkboxes to select the drives you want to clone
- Click “Clone this disk”
- Click “Select a disk to clone to” and choose the secondary drive. Like we mentioned above, cloning a drive will erase the contents of the secondary drive, so make sure it’s empty or contains data that isn’t of importance to you
- Click Next
- Click Next again to skip the scheduling process
- Click Finish and wait for the process to complete itself. How long this will take depends on the size of the drive you’re trying to clone, so naturally the more data you have on the primary drive, the longer it will take
How To Clone A Hard Drive For Mac
- Download and install the SuperDuper app
- Launch the app
- Under Copy, select the drive you want to copy, and under To, select the drive you want to clone the drive to
- Click Copy Now and wait for the process to complete. Once again, how long this will take depends on how large the drive you’re trying to clone is, so the more files you have to clone, the longer it will take.