Copy or Clone Hard Drive?

I get a new hard drive and want to replace the old one. But I need to move the data to the new hard drive. Is copying a hard drive the same as cloning? What's the difference between copying and cloning a hard drive?

Best Answered by

Jerry· Answered on Dec 20, 2023

Cloning and copying a hard drive are not the same; cloning should always be your first choice.

Cloning a hard disk involves creating a sector-by-sector duplicate of the original drive, not only a copy of the data. If new data haven't overwritten the sectors, even the unused portions are replicated, which is one way that files can be restored even after they have been destroyed. One method of forensically examining hard drives involves:

  • Cloning the problematic drive.
  • Researching the clone.
  • Leaving the original disk in its unmodified, original state.

In contrast, copying a hard drive results in a copy of the drive's data. The operating system transfers the data from the original hard drive to the new one, but neither the physical formatting nor arrangement of the data nor the contents of space are kept.

  • Cloning copies the whole structure of the disk, including every directory and file's precise location. At least some earlier versions of Windows wouldn't operate without particular files existing in particular (physical) sites.
  • Cloning copies also erased (and "non-existent") file content.
  • The partition table and any possible hidden or inaccessible OS partitions are also copied during cloning. At least for Windows 10, those must function.
  • Cloning is usually quicker because it isn't concerned with file structure, directory organization, fragmentation, etc.
  • Most importantly, many files on the drive containing the present operating system are locked and cannot be copied. The majority of OS copies won't work on your computer.

If you are merely copying data and not the current OS disk, then only the speed matters; copying is still significantly slower.

You must use professional disk cloning software to clone a hard drive because Windows has no native cloning programs. Under such circumstances, EaseUS Disk Copy comes to help. EaseUS Disk Copy is a practical cloning tool with mighty cloning functions. It can help you clone a hard drive and migrate Windows from HDD to SSD.

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