It is important to create regular backups to protect yourself from data loss. Disk imaging and disk cloning are two ways that you can make copies of everything on your hard drive so you can restore your data on a new computer in case of drive failure.
Before we go into the differences between creating a disk image and disk cloning, let’s talk about the difference between the two and “ordinary” backups.
When you create a backup using a program like DataNumen Backup, it creates copies of your files and directories. This means that your important data is kept from being lost and, in case of hard drive problems or missing or corrupted files; you have a copy that you can access again.
Disk imaging and cloning also create copies of your important files, but they also copy and create a record of your drives and partitions. Creating a disk image or having your drive cloned means that not only do you have a copies of the files and data, but also your drive settings. So any modifications you made from the drive’s factory settings – programs added or settings changed – are copied.
If your hard drive crashes or is irreparably damaged, you can use a backup to download your important files and data onto a new hard drive. However, if you use other programs and had them installed on your previous hard drive, you’re going to have to re-download and install them onto your new hard drive.
With a disk image or clone, you get a more “complete” copy of your hard drive, so it allows you to recover from hard drive failure quicker as you won’t have to re-download or install the extra programs that you like to use.
Disk imaging and disk cloning differences
The difference between a disk image and a disk clone basically comes down to where the “copies” are stored.
When you clone your drive, the drive is copied directly into another drive. So you create a “clone” of your drive, a virtually identical drive.
In a sense, with a clone, you are anticipating beforehand that your drive will fail and keep a backup hard drive around to ensure that when it does all you need to do is swap out the drives and you can get back to work.
When you create a disk image, you create a copy or multiple copies of your drive onto storage devices. You can save your disk image on an external storage device, such as an external hard drive, or online on a cloud storage account.
If your hard drive fails and you have a backup in the form of a disk image, you can restore your system on a different hard drive. The advantage of a disk image over a disk clone is you can create multiple backups that can be used in a variety of devices, while a disk clone only exists on the one drive you cloned it on.
If you install a disk imaging program like DataNumen Disk Image you can create multiple copies of your disks and drives that you can then use to quickly restore them on a new hard drive.