Five free disk cloning apps
by Jack Wallen | August 21, 2012, 6:14am PDT | Image 9 of 10
Paragon Backup & Recovery Free
Paragon Backup & Recovery Free - Image 9 of 10
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for Techrepublic and Linux.com. As an avid promoter/user of the Linux OS, Jack tries to convert as many users to open source as possible. His current favorite flavor of Linux is Bodhi Linux (a melding of Ubuntu and Enlightenment).
When Jack isn't writing about Linux he is hard at work on his other writing career -- writing about zombies, various killers, super heroes, and just about everything else he can manipulate between the folds of reality. You can find Jack's books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.
Outnumbered in his house one male to two females and three humans to six felines, Jack maintains his sanity by riding his mountain bike and working on his next books. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website Get Jack'd.
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You're copying, not cloning,
The good news is that any of these cloning tools will do what you want without buying a third drive. The bad news is you'll need to buy or borrow a USB hard drive enclosure (usually less than $50). You need one so you can have the both the original and replacement drives active at the same time. Here's how.
1) Install the replacement drive in the USB enclosure and connect it to your system
2) Use the cloning tool to make an image of the original drive and store the image on the replacement drive.
3) Move the finished image to the original drive.
4) Use the cloning tool to access the image file now stored on the original drive and apply it to the second drive.
5) If desired, delete the image from the original drive before storing it.
Windows Backup is a lousy tool for copying entire drives. Older versions of Ghost would copy directly from one drive to another, but both drives will still have to be in the machine at the same time and no version of Ghost was ever legally free. There used to be several tools for direct drive-to-drive copying, including LapLink, FastLink, and others. They were useful back in the day when you couldn't put two drives in a machine, or when it was just easier to toss a parallel or serial cable between two systems. I haven't seen any of those apps in years.
How are you defining 'clone'?
I've successfully used the suggested 'Redo Backup and Recovery' tool a half a dozen times since this article appeared. I have neither sent any money nor been prompted to do so.
What are you trying to accomplish? Maybe something besides a cloning tool would be better suited.
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