Cloning a hard drive with Clonezilla
Cloning or imaging is the process by which the contents of a computer's hard drive are copied -- in their entirety -- to a file (or numbered sequence of files) with the purpose of backing a computer's system state so that it may later be restored in an identical state on a different computer.
Cloning programs exist for all operating systems, though most are native to the OS and will only produce restorable images for use with the same OS with which the image was created. However, Clonezilla by NCHC Free Software Labs supports dozens of file systems from various operating systems, which means it can be used on just about any computer running Windows, OS X, Linux, or derivative there of to produce 100% compatible cloned images.
Clonezilla comes in two flavors: Live and SE (Server Edition). Each support 32-bit/64-bit hardware and may be installed locally on a hard drive, USB flash drive, hosted from a server, or booted from a Live CD.
Though the requirements are minimal, let's review what you'll need in order to get Clonezilla Live working properly.
- Clonezilla Live ISO
- Bootable USB flash drive or CD with Clonezilla copied to it
- Source computer to create image from
- Destination drive to store image on (USB flash drive, server share, external HDD, secondary partition)
With the Clonezilla software installed to USB flash drive / burned to CD and a source computer with destination drive connected, you're now ready to create an image of the source drive. Follow these steps in this screenshot gallery.
Jesus Vigo is a Network Administrator by day and owner of Mac|Jesus, LLC, specializing in Mac and Windows integration and providing solutions to small- and medium-size businesses. He brings 15 years of experience and multiple certifications from several vendors, including Apple and CompTIA.