What Is Disk Cloning Software
Basically, disk cloning refers to the process of copying all the contents of one hard drive to another disk. A clone is an exact copy of the disk. Usually, you may choose a hard drive cloning software like Acronis clone (will be mentioned below) to replicate the Windows operating system of a computer, software, and patches software.
With PC cloning software, you will not spend time in manually reinstalling and reconfiguring a system. So, you can perform one or more operations, as shown below:
- Set up multiple computers with duplicate configurations
- Complete system recovery when software problems or computer failure happen
- Reboot and restore a computer to an earlier version
- Upgrade your hard drive to a larger one or replace a damaged disk
Backup VS Disk Cloning Software
Additionally, you can use cloning software to protect your data. Isn’t what backup software is for?
Actually, full-image backup software is not the same as disk cloning software although the reasons for using them may have the similarity. When should you use each? See the guide below:
Use backup software if you have a need to do:
- Back up files or folders to the cloud so that you can protect data offsite and access them remotely.
- Back up the entire computer regularly to a local, external hard drive or the cloud. The image backup software can create a disk image backup including all boot information, settings, data, applications, etc. With it, incremental or differential backups can be created for only changed data, which takes less time than a new disk image backup.
Use cloning software (Acronis clone) if you want to:
- Upgrade disk or replace a disk.
- Set up a computer the way you want, clone the disk and install the clone on each machine with duplicate the configurations.
Related article: How to Install Windows 10 on a New Hard Drive (with Pictures)
The Benefits of Cloning Software
For most home computer users, the biggest benefit of cloning software is that you have a complete snapshot of your computer at a single point in time when comparing to backup software. For example, you may want to have the perfect setup for the computers at home or in office so that you can use all applications and settings again at any time.
This way, all the computers have the same programs and you will get the same experience no matter which machine you use. Of course, there may be different documents like Word and Excel on each PC but how these programs & the version and user interface are accessed are the same on each PC.
The Best of Both Worlds: Acronis True Image
Key Cloning Software Features
What is the best cloning software? Simply put, it should meet some requirements. See the following key features:
- Simple: transfers data by data migration; offers the easiest way to back up and restore the OS
- Efficient: restores multiple computers at the same time rather than configuring each computer separately
- Secure: uses the most stringent security available to ensure data is protected and safe
You may require both backup and cloning solutions. Here, Acronis True Image 2019 will be a good choice since it is an application for disk clone, backup and cloud things. It supports multiple platforms, such as Windows, Mac, and mobile devices.
You can use the easy-to-use wizards of this software via the set-up process. This cloning software will run automatically once the initial set-up is complete, which eliminates any further time or effort.
Necessity: Alternative to Acronis True Image Clone to SSD
After learning so much information about disk cloning software, you may choose Acronis True Image to clone your disk to SSD or any other disk. However, you are required to purchase it for disk cloning. Then, you may want a free cloning program like this Acronis cloning software.
Besides, some users reported many Acronis True Image Windows 10 problems. For example, this software might be stuck at load up process with the message “Acronis loading …..Please wait”; when trying to make a backup, it won’t start, etc.
To clone a hard drive well, Acronis clone alternative is needed. In the following part, we will show you one.
If you have a hard drive that has bad sectors, how to clone it? See this guide to easily clone a bad hard drive to a new one to prevent data loss.
MiniTool ShadowMaker: Alternative to Acronis True Image Clone for Windows
MiniTool ShadowMaker that comes from MiniTool® Software Ltd. is a professional, reliable, safe and free backup software for Windows 10/8/7. It effectively and securely offers you continuous data protection.
With this freeware, you can enjoy the benefit of disk backup and disk cloning tools, including incremental & differential imaging backup, flexible schedule option, multiple choices as to where to store your cloned-disk copy, etc.
Above all, you can clone not only system disk but also data disk to another hard drive. With the system disk copy, it is easy to restore the Windows to a previous version in the event of computer issues. Besides, you are able to upgrade disk and set up multiple computers with duplicate configurations, which is the same as Acronis clone (as mentioned above).
Right now, click the following button to get MiniTool ShadowMaker Trial Edition (Windows and Server OS are supported) that gives you 30-day free trial with all powerful features. After the specified date, you should upgrade it to a full edition if you want to use this program.
Let’s see how to clone your disk with this Acronis True Image alternative.
Step 1: Go to Choose a Computer for Disk Cloning
- Run MiniTool ShadowMaker that you have installed on a Windows 10/8/7 computer.
- Continue to use the Trial Edition by hitting Keep Trial.
Step 2: Find a Feature for Clone
- Enter the Tools page.
- Choose Clone Disk to continue.
Step 3: Configure the Disk Cloning
You are required to choose both the source disk and the target disk. Just click the corresponding section to choose them and click OK to continue.
- Both the system disk and data disk can be cloned by this Acronis clone alternative.
- An SSD, HDD, or any other device can be as the target disk.
1. You can clone your data disk to a USB flash drive with enough space with this USB clone tool.
2. Ensure your target disk is large enough to hold all the information of the original disk. If you want to clone your disk to a smaller disk, refer to this post – MiniTool Programs Help to Clone Hard Drive to Smaller SSD.
3. Ensure you haven’t stored important files on the target disk or you have backed up them before since the disk cloning process will destroy all its data.
Step 4: Perform the Cloning Operation
MiniTool ShadowMaker is cloning your disk; it gives you the cloning progress bar, the rest time, etc.
- You can wait patiently until the process is finished.
- Or tick the Shut down the computer when the operation is completed option.
Windows might mark either the original disk or the target disk as offline after disk cloning with this alternative to Acronis clone, so you should shut down the computer and disconnect either of them.
- For disk backup, remove the target disk.
- For disk upgrade, if you want to boot your Windows OS from the target disk, remove the original disk and connect the cloned hard drive to the PC via a SATA interface.
Related article: Cloned Drive Won’t Boot | How to Make Cloned Drive Bootable?
Further Reading: Disk Imaging
As mentioned above, image backup and disk cloning are two common solutions for data protection. MiniTool ShadowMaker can not only clone your hard drive but also create an image backup for Windows OS, files, partitions or the entire disk, with incremental & differential backup supported. Similarly, this is what Acronis True Image can do.
To back up the entire disk, you need to select all the partitions of your system disk. Then, specify a target path like an external hard drive to start a backup. When your computer goes wrong, the system disk image can be used to restore the entire computer without losing data.
Related article: Hard Drive Image Software – Best Way to Image a Hard Drive Win10/8/7
Free Acronis Clone Alternative for Mac: Disk Utility
Besides Windows OS, Acronis True Image is also available in Mac. After introducing the alternative to Acronis cloning software for Windows, we will show you the alternative for Mac.
In Mac OS, there is a built-in backup and clone software that is Disk Utility. It has always been able to create clones, although this app refers to the process as Restore, as in restoring data from a source drive to a target drive.
Of course, the Restore feature isn’t limited to drives. Additionally, it can work with any storage device that can be mounted by the Mac, including disk images, SSDs, hard drives, and USB flash drives.
All in all, it lives up to free Acronis clone software alternative.
Related article: Best Alternative to Carbon Copy Cloner for Windows to Back up PC
Free Acronis Clone Alternative for Linux
If you are running a Linux system, you might be looking for a Linux cloning software like Acronis True Image to clone your disk to another one for data protection. Which one is a proper and free cloning software for Linux?
When searching for this topic on the internet, you will find many, for example, Clonezilla, G4L, Mondo Rescue, etc. Just choose one based on your needs.
Are you looking for a software like Acronis True Image to clone a hard drive to SSD for Windows, Mac or Linux? After reading this article, you can clearly learn them.
Above all, as an Acronis clone alternative for Windows, MiniTool ShadowMaker is quite powerful, reliable and safe; it is free for you to clone a hard drive to an HDD, SSD, etc. If you are interested in this free hard drive cloning software, download it right now by clicking the following button.
Remember to let us know if you have any questions regarding MiniTool software. Of course, any suggestion is also appreciated. Contacting [email protected] and leaving a comment are both OK.
Acronis Clone FAQ
- Launch Acronis True Image.
- Click Clone Disk in Tools.
- Choose a clone mode, Automatic or Manual.
- Choose the source disk.
- Select the target disk.
- After you ensure that the configured settings, start the disk cloning operation.