Many users quite often need to create copies of hard drives with information stored on them in case of system recovery or lost information. The process referred to as "disk cloning" can be carried out in several ways, depending on what information needs to be stored and what actions are supposed to be performed in the future. Creating copies of optical media will not be considered below, but we will focus on creating copies of hard drives.
General principles for making copies
Before we begin to consider what disk cloning is, you need to initially define a few basic concepts for yourself. Copying can be done by two main methods: full copying and partial copying. Since at the moment we are interested in questions of exceptions, we will focus directly on the second option.
What is disk cloning with the ability to set exceptions? In simple terms, such a process involves creating a copy in which onlypart of the information that is stored on the original media, and which is necessary for the user to save further.
Preliminary concepts of terms
When creating copies, two more concepts should be taken into account: the source and target disk. Based on the generally accepted interpretations of these terms, it is easy to guess that the source disk is an HDD or a partition from which all information will be copied, including an integral file structure. The target disk is the hard drive to which the created copy will be written. However, it is worth noting that the target disk may have its own file structure (or data) different from the original disk (unless it is a new hard drive without any information on it), and during the clone creation process it will be destroyed and replaced with a file structure. source disk system.
Disk cloning with Windows tools
In Windows systems, to create copies of hard drives, the backup and restore section located in the "Control Panel" is used. True, in most cases, using such a built-in tool, you can only create a complete copy of the contents of the original disk or partition.
The only exception is that the copy may not include the system files of a he althy system, which could later be used to restore it to working order. Therefore, cloning disks with partial copying of their contents is best done using third-party utilities that have much broader capabilities. One of themare paid, others can be downloaded for free.
Clone a hard drive to an SSD or another partition: the best programs
It will not be possible to consider absolutely all applications created for such operations, therefore we will limit ourselves to several popular utilities, among which the following can be singled out separately:
- True Image by Acronis.
- EASEUS Disk Copy.
- Drive Backup Personal by Paragon.
- Macrium Reflect.
We will take disk cloning with the Acronis utility as the basis for the actions performed and the description of the process. Other programs work on similar principles. Therefore, having de alt with this application, it will be possible to easily perform similar actions that any other disk cloning program offers. Let's dwell on other utilities briefly.
True Image by Acronis
This utility is the most famous and popular hard disk cloning program. It has perhaps the widest range of capabilities and is used not only to create backups, but also to restore the system, create boot images and much more.
Disk cloning by Acronis-utility after starting the application of the latest version begins with the fact that the program offers to log in to the Acronis Cloud storage under your registration record. This procedure is optional and can be skipped.
After selecting the cloning section, a special "Wizard" is launched in the process of creating copies. At the first stage, it is proposed to use either the automatic method or manual setting of parameters. It is better to choose the first option, since the second is mainly used only in cases where you need to change the partition structure. It will not be considered due to the fact that it is more complex, and in this situation, by and large, the average user simply does not need it.
Select automatic cloning, after which you will need to install the source disk or partition and the target disk. Here, just the same, you can use disk cloning to an SSD drive, if one is installed in the system. At the next stage, if the target disk is not new, and there is some information on it, a corresponding warning will be issued, which you just need to agree with. In the case when a hard disk is cloned to an SSD with a similar file system, on which there is nothing, the notification will not be shown.
Next, you choose to copy the partitions without changes, and the program starts calculating the space on the target disk. If it is enough, you can start the process start. But if there is not enough space or just some components or sections do not need to be included in the copy, the file exclusion button located at the bottom right is used.
It is not recommended to exclude files of the system partition in any case, and other unnecessary objectsyou just need to select it in the window on the right by checking the corresponding files and folders in the file structure tree (you can even exclude a whole section). After that, the required disk space will be re-calculated. If it is sufficient, all that remains is to press the start button (“Proceed”), after which a reboot will be required (clone creation is performed in this mode).
If you now boot from the target disk (and it is bootable), the partition structure will change somewhat, and partitions for which some objects were not copied will have a smaller volume compared to the original ones. In this case, the letters of all disks will change.
EASEUS Disk Copy
This hard disk cloning program is quite an interesting free utility. In addition to the fact that partial cloning can be performed in it, it has a number of other advantages.
In addition to the basic operations, it is quite easy to create copies of deleted partitions, but only if they have not been overwritten. The application itself can be launched from any optical or USB media, it supports all known interfaces of hard drives or dynamic partitions and HDDs up to 1 TB. The only negative is the lack of Russification and the installation of unnecessary programs when installing on Windows systems.
Drive Backup Personal by Paragon
Disk cloning using this program looks very simple due to the use of special "Wizards" in itfor any copy mode, including creating clones with partial content.
The application can run both in the OS environment and from removable media, it has a simple Russian-language interface, but, alas, it costs about $40.
This free package for most inexperienced users, like the previous program, is one of the easiest to use.
The main advantages of this application are the creation of images "on the fly" without the need to restart the system (as is the case with Acronis), the availability of copy verification tools and multi-level data encryption. The interface, however, lacks the Russian language, and during installation, unnecessary advertising garbage is installed.
What to use?
Summarizing everything that has been said about creating clones of hard drives with partial transfer of their contents to other partitions or to other HDDs or SSDs, we can say that the method proposed by the Acronis application looks the most appropriate in application, besides it is one of the simplest. But this absolutely does not mean that you cannot use other utilities like the program from Paragon, which have no less interesting features and tools (if, of course, you omit the issue of cost). But in general, the techniques used by any application of this type are quite simple, if only for the reason that in any program, as a rule,there is a "Master", so you can't do anything wrong.