Over time, our hard drives fill up with all kinds of data like image files, videos, etc. This means that you will eventually run out of space, and if these files are important to you, you will definitely want to make sure that you have a backup in the event your computer crashes or your hard drive crashes.
Cloning a hard drive is a fairly easy way to mirror the contents of your current hard drive to that of another, and whether you’re using Windows or Mac, we’ve got you covered with this guide.
In order to clone your hard drive, you need to make sure that you have a second hard drive (internal or external) that has enough storage space to match that of the content you own. Note that unlike more traditional backup methods where you copy content from one drive to another, cloning will essentially erase all of the content on your secondary hard drive, so make sure it’s empty or you’ll have to first format it.
Clone hard drive vs backup hard drive
From the start, cloning a hard drive and backing up a hard drive are almost identical. Both processes involve copying data from one drive to another. However, when backing up a drive, most of the users tend to keep the files they want, such as documents, photos, videos, music, etc.
Cloning a hard drive, as the name suggests, essentially makes a full clone of your current drive to another drive. This also includes your operating system, which means that in theory you can use a clone drive to start your computer. It also copies system files, saved preferences, etc.
You could almost think of cloning as a more “complete” form of backup, but if you just want to keep specific files, a regular backup will suffice. In some cases, like with Apple devices, the company offers automated cloud backups through its iCloud service, which might be worth considering if you only want to keep your media files.
How to clone hard drive for Windows
1- Download and install Macrium Reflect and select for home use
2- Launch the app and you should see a list of drives connected to your computer including external drives
3- Click on the checkboxes to select the drives you want to clone
4- Click on “Clone this disk”
5- Click on “Select a disk to clone to” and choose the secondary drive. As we mentioned above, cloning a drive will erase the contents of the secondary drive, so make sure it is empty or contains data that is not important to you.
6- Click on Next
7- Click Next again to skip the planning process
8- Click on Finish and wait for the process to finish. How long this will take depends on the size of the drive you are trying to clone, so naturally the more data you have on the primary drive the longer it will take.
How to clone hard drive for Mac
- Download and install the SuperDuper app
- Launch the app
- Under Copy, select the drive you want to copy, and then under To, select the drive to which you want to clone the drive.
- Click Copy Now and wait for the process to complete. Again, how long this will take depends on the size of the drive you are trying to clone, so the more files you need to clone the longer it will take.