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Disk cloning

Disk cloning definition

Disk cloning is the process of creating a replica of a computer's hard drive, including data on the drive, operating system, applications, system settings, and personal files.

Disk cloning is used to back up data, migrate to a new hard drive, or set up multiple identical computer systems.

See also: backup, computer forensics, data archiving, data migration

Usage of disk cloning

  • Backup and recovery. In case of hardware failure, system corruption, or other issues, users can use the clone to restore the system to its previous state.
  • Upgrading or replacing hard drives. When upgrading to a larger or faster hard drive, cloning lets you transfer all data, including the operating system and applications, without reinstallation.
  • Deploying identical systems. When multiple computers need the same configuration (e.g., in an office or school), disk cloning streamlines the process of setting up each machine with identical software, settings, and data.
  • Rental setups. Cloning ensures that each machine is configured identically for rental computers, simplifying maintenance and support.
  • Forensics. Disk cloning helps recreate an exact copy of a drive for investigation without risking the integrity of the original evidence.
  • Software testing. Developers and testers use cloning to create stable, consistent environments, which they can quickly restore to a clean state.
  • Archiving. For long-term storage and archival, disk cloning can be used to create an exact snapshot of a drive at a specific point in time.