Cloning vs. Imaging – Different Ways to Backup Your Hard Drive

Backing up your hard drive is an essential part of your computer’s health. If you want to preserve your data, it is essential that it is backed up, regularly. Backups ensure that your computer has multiple copies of its files. If for any reason you delete a file, you can replace it. If your hard drive ever crashed, you would still have all of your files safe and sound on a separate backup disk. The question is not “Should you backup your New Jersey hard disk?” instead it is, “How should you backup your New Jersey hard disk?” There are two different ways to backup of your hard drive, cloning and imaging.

Hard Drive Imaging

Imaging is a great tool for data management and hard drive recovery. Hard drive imaging is no different from taking an image of anything else. It’s a momentary shot of your New Jersey drive at a specific time. Hard drive cloning and hard drive imaging are similar, but there are a few key differences. Imaging is like using a digital camera to capture something, and with that digital photo comes the ability to email, print, reprint, or delete it. In contrast, hard drive cloning is like making a trace drawing of something, but only having the two copies, your traced material, and the original. Imaging is like collecting all the computer’s data and storing it in a *.zip folder. You can have multiple images of a hard drive all stored on the same back up drive.

Now, there are a few advantages you should know about hard drive imaging. One of them is how easy it is to do. Hard drive imaging is a very simple task. Many software applications are dedicated to disk imaging. Many of them image your disk automatically. Drive imaging’s main advantage over drive cloning is the file safety that comes from regular back up. If you make changes to your files very often, you want an up-to-date backup that will capture the most recent changes. Depending on how you use your New Jersey computer it can be good to do a backup every month, every week, or even every day. You will know that with each backup, your files are safely stored away in a different location. If your machine gets a virus or has a hardware failure, all of your files might be corrupted or gone, but if you recently imaged your drive, you can revert it back to when things were in the right place, with no problems.

Hard drive imaging can save you disk space. If your disk isn’t very large, you can delete old files to make room for new ones. If you ever need those old files, you can simply take them off your hard drive image, good as new. Hard drive imaging can also be good for upgrading your hard drive. If you need to get a new larger drive for your New Jersey computer, you can use the image of the old drive to put all the data on to the new hard drive. Your computer will be on and ready to go in no time. Another great advantage of hard drive imaging is the ability to restore old settings. If you have to update a driver or install a new operating system, your image will allow you to revert back to an old copy of your computer if something goes wrong. If you have errors, and no image to fix them, your computer could be useless for quite a while. Those kinds of fixes require an experienced computer technician.

Hard Drive Cloning

Hard drive cloning is duplicating a hard drive. It makes an exact copy of your New Jersey drive — from one drive to another, every 1 and 0. It copies every directory, every file, even the operating system. If you were to switch your existing drive with you cloned drive, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

The most significant advantage hard drive cloning has over hard drive imaging, is the clone drive’s ability to boot. A hard drive image is a collection of files, but it cannot boot. The ability to boot by itself means that you can use it immediately after the failure of the original drive. Having a work setback was never so easy to fix.

Another benefit that stems out of its ability to boot is the ability to boot on multiple New Jersey computers. If you can’t take your whole computer with you, chance are that you can take your hard drive with you. You can plug your cloned drive into a work, school, or library computer, and boot up on your drive. It will be just like working from your personal computer. You don’t have to drag around a desktop or even a laptop anymore, just boot from the hard drive. A hard drive clone is its own entity. Cloning requires very little down time, is easy to access, and is very simple.

Hard drive cloning and hard drive imaging both have advantages and disadvantages of their own. The choice between them mostly depends on what you want to accomplish. If you want to accomplish multiple things, maybe you should clone your drive and image it. The choice is up to you.
by David Molnar

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