Planning ahead and using disk cloning software allows you to save the content of your drive to another hard drive, a cloud backup service, a USB stick or other external drive. This can save you time should you come across any system failures by being readily prepared to restore devices quickly.
Restoring from a previously known good backup means you don’t have to re-install the operating system, software, and applications if a disk fails.
Network administrators also use disk cloning software when setting up multiple identical workstations on client machines.
Here is our list of the best disk cloning software:
- Acronis Cyber Protect EDITOR’S CHOICE Disk cloning software that allows you to copy Windows computers, Mac computers, Android devices, and iOS mobile devices. Backups are tested against malware and you can restore from the cloud.
- Barracuda Intronis Backup (FREE TRIAL) This backup and disaster recovery system for MSPs can also be used to replicate servers. This is a SaaS system.
- EaseUS Todo Backup Free hard drive cloning software for Windows that supports full, incremental, and differential backups.
- Macrium Reflect Workstation Disk imaging software for Windows that can backup images to Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines.
- MiniTool Partition Wizard Free disk partition solution for Windows with a space analyzer.
- Active@ Disk Image Disk Imaging software for Windows that’s available as freeware or as a paid tool.
- Iperius Backup Disk image backup software for Windows 10 that supports automatic cloud backups.
- Clonezilla Open-source disk imaging software for Linux with encryption.
- Paragon Drive Copy Professional Disk cloning software that can be used to create backups and partitions.
- Symantec Ghost Solution Suite Disk imaging software that can deploy Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
The Best Disk Cloning Software
What should you look for in a disk cloning tool for your network?
We reviewed the market for disk cloning systems and analyzed tools based on the following criteria:
- A choice of storage location for images
- Options for platforms between on-premises and cloud-based systems
- An image library management system
- The ability to install a disk image remotely and in bulk
- Low impact on server processors
- A free trial or a demo account that enables a no-risk assessment
- Value for money that is created by a reasonable price for the services that are provided
With these selection criteria in mind, we looked for reliable disk imaging systems that will provide a way to backup, standardize and onboard device disks.
We ranked these products in terms of their ease of use, how powerful their features were and their overall usability and dependability.
Acronis Cyber Protect is a disk cloning tool that allows you to copy Windows and Mac systems without having to reboot. With Acronis Cyber Protect, you can run a backup in the background while working on more important tasks. If you don’t want to copy everything then you can select individual files and folders that you need.
- Cloud-based SaaS option
- On-premises option for Windows Server or Linux
- Clone Windows and macOS
- Backup mobile devices
- Stores in the cloud
One great feature is that of dual protection that lets you create a local backup and then replicate it automatically in the cloud. Having a cloud version off-site is useful for preparing for scenarios where your service is disrupted onsite so you can still access the original image.
The software also supports backing up mobile devices. Acronis Cyber Protect enables you to protect Android and iOS content (including photos, videos, contacts, and calendar data) remotely. Backups can be created automatically and sent to your main computer to be kept secure.
- Remains very easy to use without sacrificing advanced features
- Available for Windows and Mac, a great cross-platform solution
- Supports both local and remote backup solutions
- Can backup mobile devices via iOS and Android app
- Creating a backup schedule takes just a few minutes
- Great option for both home users and established businesses
- Advanced features may take time to fully learn and utilize
Prices start at $49.99 (£36.47). You can start the 30-day free trial.
Acronis Cyber Protect is high quality and affordable disk cloning software. Running backups in the background help to make sure that your files keep regularly updated by minimizing the inconvenience of the entire cloning process.
Start 30-day Free Trial: acronis.com/en-us/products/cyber-protect/trial/
OS: Windows and macOS
Related post: Best OS Imaging and Deployment Software
Intronis Backup is a product of Barracuda MSP and, therefore, is aimed as a service for managed service providers. This tool is specifically tailored to MSPs that support small and middle-sized enterprises.
- Built for MSPs
- Based in the cloud
- White labeled
- Bare metal backup option
Intronis offers a number of ways to backup applications or VMs. However, if you want to clone a disk, it is the bare metal restore and server imaging services that would interest you. The restore options of this tool let you install the backup onto a new location, those replicating the original disk. The service can be white-labeled and its services are multi-tenanted to keep the operation of different clients separate.
- A choice of plans that suit clients of different sizes
- A full SaaS platform that includes storage space for backups
- Integrates with RMM and PSA packages
- Backup storage space is fixed by the choice of plan
The three plans for Intronis Backup are called Basic, Premium, and Elite – all are charged per end client. The system is able to store backups locally as well as on the provided cloud storage. The Intronis Backup service is available on a 14-day free trial.
EaseUS Todo Backup is a free disk cloning tool that allows you to back up your data in one-click. It supports full, incremental, and differential backups for Windows devices. Backups can be scheduled and in the event of a disaster, you can instantly recover your data.
- Free version
- Option to backup applications
- Operates on Windows
In the event that your system goes down, you can restore it without needing to re-install. The software supports a range of storage devices including HDD, SSD, RAID, USB drive, tape, FTP server, NAS, DVD, and more. In other words, you can back up your files to wherever is most convenient for your environment.
- Free tool with paid options
- Supports both incremental and differential backups
- Supports multiple recovery mediums including RAID, USB, and NAS
- Only available for Windows, no cross-platform support
- Interface can feel clunky at times
- Might not be the best option for enterprise-level replication
EaseUS Todo Backup is ideal for users that want a free tool to back up their hard drive. It’s easy to use and makes the backup process as fast as possible. It’s available for Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. You can download the software for free.
Macrium Reflect Workstation is a disk backup platform for Windows designed to support enterprise users. You can back up computers and laptops to a compressed image file. When it comes time to restore your system, Rapid Delta Restore recovers your disk image in a matter of minutes.
- Operates on Windows
- Choice of backup strategies
- Compresses disk images
Live imaging of your computer makes sure that your disk images are kept up to date. The software also supports virtualization with Hyper-V. The user can boot backup images virtually with Microsoft Hyper-V virtual machines. Being able to boot back up images with Hyper-V gives you more options when it comes to restoring your device.
- Can rapidly compress machine data into image files for easy access or reinstallation
- Supports live imaging, allowing it to backup during working hours
- Can backup virtual disk drives in Hyper-V
- Enterprise pricing is a bit high compared to similar tools
- Designed for technical users, not ideal for those new to backup software
Macrium Reflect Workstation is a solid solution for enterprise environments that require a reliable backup solution. Prices start at $75 (£58.50) per workstation for a perpetual license that never expires. There are also volume discounts for over 10 workstations. You can start a 30-day free trial.
MiniTool Partition Wizard is a free disk partition software for Windows that can migrate operating systems to a range of storage devices. Devices supported include HDD, SSD, SSHD, USB flash drive, external hard drive, SD card, Hardware RAID, and Dynamic disk. The user can create, delete, move and resize partitions.
- Free and paid versions
- Useful for migration
- Operates in the background
The disk space analyzer feature is particularly useful for managing disk space as it allows you to see what files are filling up space on the hard disk. The space analyzer can help you to manage your hard disks more effectively and eliminate or move any files that are taking up unnecessary space.
- Supports full operating system migrations to new hardware
- Can restore to multiple mediums such as RAID, USB, or SD card, giving you more recovery options
- Can help analyze disk space prior to backups
- Is designed for home use, not ideal for larger companies
- Marketed toward home use, but can be complicated for non-technical users
MiniTool Partition Wizard is a product that’s aimed at home uses in the market for a disk partition solution. There are free and paid versions available. Paid versions add additional features like partition recovery and data recovery. Prices start at $59 (£46) per license. The software is available on Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. You can download the software for free.
Active@ Disk Image is a disk image tool for Windows that can be used to copy and recover disk images. It supports storage devices including HDD, SDD, USB, CD, DVD, Blu-ray, and more. The software supports Windows XP, 7, 8, 8.1, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2012, Server 2016, Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris.
- Operates on Windows, Linux, and Unix
- Backup to removable storage
- Offers storage encryption
The product is very easy to use, with the main menu wizard that breaks down all the disk operations you can conduct. Operations you can complete include Disk to Image, Image to Disk, Create Raw Image, verify Image, Copy Disk to Disk, Clone Disk, Mount Image, and more. Having all of this information in one place makes it easy to carry out the tasks you need to without getting confused.
- Comes with a freeware version for testing
- Supports image encryption for secure storage
- Can recover and restore RAID systems
- Cross-platform support with Windows, Linux, and FreeBSD
- A bit dated
- Slightly higher learning curve when compared to tools like Acronis Cyber Protect
Active@ Disk Image is a low-cost disk cloning software alternative. It comes available as a freeware version that allows you to create and restore disk images, compress images, and mount images as virtual drives. Paid versions support additional features including RAID support and image encryption. Prices start at $39.00 (£30.42). You can download the free trial.
Iperius Backup is an image backup tool for Windows 10 that allows you to create disk images. Iperius Backup can clone drive images and send them to the cloud automatically. The software supports cloud services such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, Amazon S3, Azure Storage, and more. Cloud backups are secured with AES 256-bit encryption to ensure your data is kept safe.
- Options include bare metal and application-level backup
- Backup physical and virtual systems
- Encryption for extracted images
One of the main strengths of Iperius Backup is that it can support a range of databases and virtual services. The tool can backup databases including Oracle, MySQL, SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and MariaDB.
Those using virtual machines can backup VMware ESXi and Hyper-V machines without turning them off. When recovering your system you can re-install your disk image in just a few clicks.
- Supports integrations into cloud services like Google Drive, OneDrive, and Amazon S3
- Automatically encrypts backups using AES-256 bit encryption
- Supports database formats like MySQL and PostgreSQL, making it a solid choice among DBAs
- Only available for Windows operating systems
- Interface can be confusing at times, with many nested tabs
- Built for technical users, not the best option for home backups
Iperius Backup is a top disk-imaging tool for enterprise users that provides you with a central perspective to monitor backups, whether that’s files, databases or VMs. There are multiple license types available for Iperius Backup starting with the Desktop version for $32 (£24.96). You can download a free trial.
Clonezilla is an open-source disk-imaging tool for Linux that allows you to backup and recover to bare metal devices. The Clonezilla SE version or server edition of the program can clone over 40 computers at the same time. To install the program, you need to pre-build the program then load it to a CD, USB flash drive, or hard drive.
- Free to use and open source
- Bare metal backup and restore
- Encrypts images
To keep your system data secure, Clonezilla has a number of encryption options. You can encrypt disk images with eCryptfs or use AES 256-bit encryption to control access to the data.
- Open-source transparent software
- Can recover and restore to bare metal servers
- Server version can clone up to 40 machines at once, making it a decent option for larger networks
- Users are dependent on the open-source community for support and bug fixes
- Must install on USB or CD after configuration for deployment
- Barebones, and not intuitive for new users
Clonezilla is ideal for small businesses and larger enterprises that want a low-cost open-source disk imaging solution. There are three versions of Clonezilla available to download: Clonezilla Live, Clonezilla Lite Server, and Clonezilla SE. You can read more about how to install the program here.
Paragon Drive Copy Professional is a disk cloning tool that can create backups and partitions. Users can back up their operating systems and migrate it to new computers. You can decide between copying an entire hard disk or partitioning. Fast recovery enables the user to return to normal operations after a system issue.
- Disk management system
- Operates on Windows
- Good for migration
To speed up the recovery process, it comes with a wizard to assist the user in restoring backup images. Similarly, the Recovery Media Builder tool enables users to create their own recovery environment.
- Allows for operating system migrations, making it a good tool for hardware upgrades
- Uses a simple wizard to create a recovery environment for future media recovery
- Easy to use interface
- Higher price point, more geared toward enterprise usage
- Lacks cloud-backup options
Paragon Drive Copy Professional is recommended for enterprises who want a disk cloning tool for backing up and organizing disk content. Prices start at $79.95 (£62.36). The software supports operating systems from Windows 7 upwards. You can download it here.
Symantec Ghost Solution Suite is a disk imaging software and deployment tool that allows users to deploy Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. It comes with a web-based user interface outfitted with wizards to help the user to backup images.
- Clone Windows, macOS, and Linux disks
- Good for device onboarding
- Easy to set up and use
Symantec Ghost Solution Suite is a tool that’s designed for enterprises that want a first-class disk imaging tool that’s easy to use.
- Balances usability with in-depth backup features well
- Uses helpful wizards during the recovery and backup processes
- Cross-platform support for Windows, Linux, and Mac
- Uses a web-based interface for access from anywhere on the network
- Pricing is not transparent, must contact sales
- Is built for sysadmin, not the best option for home users
You can find out more about how to buy the software from the company directly from this link here.
Choosing disk cloning software
Backing up your systems and copying disk images is the best practice that gives you a contingency plan in case a computer goes down. Having a disk image backed up that you can recover allows you to return to normal operations much faster and makes sure that your data is protected from being lost.
Hard drive cloning software is invaluable because it gives you the tools to backup your operating system and files. Now that more companies are looking for recovery solutions disk cloning software has grown in popularity, meaning there is a range of tools on the market. Our editor’s choice is Acronis Cyber Protect, as it offers enterprises an affordable and reliable disk cloning solution.
Disk Cloning Software FAQs
Does cloning a drive make it bootable?
A cloned drive is an exact copy of all contents down to and including the operating system. However, it does not go down to the BIOS, which is where the factors that make a disk bootable are managed. Some disk cloning systems offer the ability to reflect the BIOS settings of a drive in its new location after cloning. In which case, that software will make the cloned drive bootable if the original was.
Does Windows 10 have cloning software?
There is no built-in cloning software in Windows 10. However, there are many third-party cloning software packages that you can install on top of the operating system.
Is it better to clone or image a hard drive?
Cloning a hard drive is the best option for a one-time move of contents. Imaging is more commonly used for backups or frequently updated replications. Cloning takes time and makes a complete copy of the disk’s content every time; imaging has more options and can be used for incremental backups, which are a lot faster.