I’ve been on a crusade lately on the importance of data backup, (having personally lost 3 Hard Drives in the last 18 months), and that reminded me that guest writer Mark Schneider, earlier this year, had written a great piece on how easy it is to clone a Hard Drive using free Easeus Disk Copy.
Here’s Mark’s article:
Upgrading your hard drive can be a rewarding and simple procedure for the everyday computer user. Cloning your hard drive, or making a exact copy, is the easiest way to get your new hard drive up and running quickly.
It’s also a popular tool for many professional IT people to backup a computer setup to be instantly restored in case of a disaster.
There are a number of paid commercial programs that serve this purpose; Norton Ghost is very popular as is my favorite, Acronis True Image. Both do a great job and have a number of useful options besides the cloning function. They are great programs but they cost money, and money is tight right now, so I decided to try out a few free cloning programs that do the job just as well – albeit, without the options the paid programs include.
The first program I tried successfully was Easeus Disk Copy. Easeus Disk Copy allows a user to replicate their hard drive on to an external hard drive; the only option besides the full copy option is to copy an individual partition – a useful feature that I didn’t test.
Easeus Disk Copy is simple to use. Just download the program and burn the ISO image to a CD. Then boot to the CD and follow a simple set of windows guiding you through the process. Once your target disks are selected you simply wait for the process to take place.
This is where Easeus falls short of the paid programs I’ve used. The entire operation took over 3 hours to clone a drive with about 140GBs of data to the new drive. Not a big deal for most situations but if you’re in a hurry, you’ll want a different program.
Another issue which was no big deal but could be for some people, was that out of the 3 drives I cloned, 2 required me to repair the Windows Boot Loader using an install disk. No big deal for me, but if you don’t have an install disk for your operating system, or don’t feel comfortable doing this, it could be a real hassle.
Overall, I think Easeus Disk Copy did a fine job; it’s free and relatively simple. Since hard drives have become so inexpensive, it seems silly to pay for software if you’re only using it on rare occasions. I give it a conditional “fully recommend” rating’ – the condition being, the user knows how to burn an ISO file, and is able to repair the boot loader if needed.
Copy all of your hard drive: Creating a bootable CD/DVD, it allows you to copy entire disk in case of unknown/proprietary file systems.
Partition copy: Enables you to copy one partition to another partition you want.
Disk copy: Enables you to clone one disk to another sector by sector.
Sector by sector copy: Makes physical 1:1 copies (clones) of hard disks and partitions. This ensures 100% identity to the original.
Safe, simple and fast: It is a very fast and easy way to copy all or part of a hard drive to another hard drive with Disk Copy.
Supports inaccessible disk copy
Supports booting from CD/DVD
Friendly graphical user interface
Relay disk space for insufficient destination
Support hard disks up to 1 TB
System requirements: Windows Vista, Windows 95, Windows Me, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows 98
Download at: Download.com
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