Hard drive cloning software is basically the easiest way in this universe to make an exact copy of your hard drive / SSD by creating a 100% identical and uncompressed replica.
However, don’t confuse cloning software with disk imaging software. The clone software keeps all your installed software/system data intact, so you won’t have to reinstall all of that when you reinstall.
This feature is especially useful if you have lost software, game or license keys. As far as backup software goes, disk cloning is quite similar to disk imaging in that both are going to copy the contents of your hardware, but they do it in a different way.
When it comes to ease of use, you should consider the “newbie factor”, the simpler the “cloning procedure” the better, especially if you are not very tech-savvy.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the best cloning software currently available in no particular order.
Clonezilla is the best cloning software, and the best ever invented in the backup software niche, due to the fact that it is absolutely free, which makes it very popular.
This free and open source cloning software also supports disk imaging and is incredibly light on resources. There are two versions of the software available:
Clonezilla Live , which is aimed at home users and works very well on a single computer, and the business-oriented SE version , which can clone software on more than forty machines simultaneously.
Speaking of blazing speed, there are users reporting restore rates of 8 GB/min, which is quite impressive. Clonezilla supports multiple file systems, GPT/MBR partition formats, and can clone various operating systems including Minix, NetBSD, and Chromium.
If you are already familiar with Debian/Linux, you will love this venerable cloning software.
2. Acronis Disk Director
Acronis Disk Director is a high-quality piece of software, but it comes with one big caveat, it’s a Windows-only kind of deal. If you can live with that, Acronis makes for an impressive disk cloning suite.
It can do, among other cool things, format, create or label partitions, resize, split and merge volumes, including disk recovery.
It can format your drives to basically any format known to man, including FAT32/16, NTFS, Ext3, Exts, Linux, Reiser3, or SWAP.
All “current era” versions of Windows are supported, starting from Windows XP and ending with the malware currently known as Windows 10.
Unfortunately, there is no support for the Linux or Apple ecosystems. Unlike Clonezilla, Acronis will set you back nearly fifty dollars for a single PC license, or $80 for 3 machines.
For corporate environments, you have the workstation license at a retail price of $80, which includes free updates and 1-year technical support.
3. Paragon Drive Copy
If you are looking for good cloning software, one of the best is Paragon Drive Copy . It’s an excellent cloning tool that is actually a small part of Paragon’s full suite of disk management utilities, ie Hard Disk Manager.
However, if you just want to clone your drive, you’ll end up saving money in the process by purchasing Drive Copy alone instead of the entire suite. Using Drive Copy allows you to clone the entire drive or just a partition if it is tilted, which is a very cool feature.
It also gives you the ability to create a virtual clone of your operating system, which can be run independently on a different PC.
There is also a recovery media generator included in the cloning software package that allows you to create a recovery operating system that can be used to boot an unbootable machine, for example.
The bad news is that a PC license will set you back almost $40, so we consider it expensive for home users.
4. Minitool Partition Wizard
Minitool Partition Wizard is yet another example of an open market solution offering free cloning software to home users, proving once again that not everything good needs to be paid for.
There is also a paid version, Minitool Partition Wizard Pro respectively, which comes with many other features, but the free version fulfills its goal very well.
Obviously, since we’re talking about disk cloning software, you can clone an entire disk, but on top of that, you get some extra goodies.
To start with, Minitool Partition Wizard Free is a powerful partition manager, which helps you manage partitions/disks, align SSD partition, check file system, convert MBR to GPT, and first of all migrate your OS to another OS. HDD or SSD and/or clone an entire drive.
If you are a Windows home user, Minitool Partition Wizard Free is a great choice as the software supports Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP as well as HDD, SSD, SSHD, external HDD, USB flash drive, SD card, hardware RAID and dynamic disk.
5. Macrium Reflect
Macrium Reflect is a very popular cloning solution for both personal (especially the free version) and business/business use.
In addition to cloning, Macrium Reflect also offers free disk images and backups in the free edition for home users, as well as 30-day trial editions that let you try out all the cool features available in the commercial version.
Essentially speaking, Macrium Reflect is a high-quality and very easy to use direct disk cloning software, and the free license also covers commercial use, which is awesome for small businesses.
You can fully restore non-bootable systems with the free version, as well as schedule backups or create live images of your operating system.
Plus, you can add security features like backup encryption and ransomware protection, but that would cost you more. And if you’re wondering about file systems, Macrium Reflect supports FAT 16/12/32, exFAT, NTFS, HFS+, and ReFS.
Daemon Tools Lite is a very popular disk emulation software, whose main goal is to help you create virtual drives on your PC.
Regarding our topic, Daemon Tools is not exactly a cloning software, but it can work just the same, since it allows you to emulate up to 4 DT + SCSI + HDD devices, and also allows you to mount practically all kinds of images.
Since we are talking about cloning softwares here, arguably the best feature of Daemon Tools Lite is the Virtual Hard Drive, which creates a VHD (Virtual Hard Drive) backup of a physical hard drive partition, helping you to keep your files safe.
Additionally, you can create a bootable image of your operating system and load it onto a bootable USB drive, which can be password-protected. On top of that, you get an iSCSI initiator feature, giving you access to remote images (virtual and physical drives, including VHDs).
7. EaseUs Todo Backup
EaseUs Todo Backup is designed to be primarily a backup software solution, however, the free version also comes with a drive clone option, which is nice to have in a free software package.
And the best part is, despite the fact that it’s free, disk cloning comes with no strings attached. In addition to being free, Todo Backup comes with full Windows OS support, from the venerable XP to Windows 10, as well as hardware RAID, UEFI boot, and basically all kinds of SSDs and HDDs.
The only drawback is that the free version doesn’t allow you to clone a larger drive to a smaller one, but if you really need it, you can always get EaseUs Partition Master Pro.
To sum it up, EaseUs Todo Backup really delivers in the cloning software department, as the free version offers all the cool features (more than most actually), disk clone, system clone, and partition clone.
What is the best software to clone hard drives?
Without fear of being wrong, the best program to clone hard drives is Clonezilla. The others reviewed here are very good and have a lot of competition, and you’ll even get some better features and functions from them, but overall Clonezilla is the gold standard.
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