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Best disk cloning software of 2021

Best disk cloning software
(Image credit: Pixabay)

The best disk cloning software will allow you to simply and easily clone your hard drive as a backup, and restore it if or when necessary.

The best disk cloning software

While you can use backup software to save your files and folders, you need to use disk cloning software if you also want to backup your applications. 

The ideal disk cloning software will allow you to easily copy your entire hard drive (whether SATA or SSD), containing all of your files, folders, and applications, as a backup. There are a number of reasons why you might want to do this, but the main one is likely for providing a copy in case of emergency or unforeseen circumstances.

Cloning a hard drive allows you to make a full and faithful copy of it, so that in the event that the original hard drive fails you can swap it out for the clone. This helps avoid the need to completely reinstall system software and copy across all data, allowing you to continue to work much more quickly.

A backup drive could be set up and cloned within your existing PC chassis, or you could set it up as an external drive to allow you to store it off-premises as needed.

It can also be useful when simply looking to upgrade your hard drive, such as to one with a higher capacity, or to a different type entirely such as from a mechanical hard drive to a solid state drive (SSD). 

Either way, cloning software has its place, but to make regularly backups you'll need an application that is reliable and trustworthy and likely to preserve data integrity without leaving any gaps. Here are the best disk cloning software options currently available.

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(Image credit: Acronis)

1. Acronis True Image

The best disk cloning software

Reasons to buy
+Back up locally and to the cloud  +Supports drive cloning+Anti-ransomware protection
Reasons to avoid
-Increases boot time  

Acronis True Image is a full featured backup solution that offers a variety of data and cyber protection features for users. It allows active disk imaging for Windows and Mac systems as well as offers world-class cloning and backup, plus new cyber protection features including vulnerability assessments and on-demand antivirus scans

The software simultaneously sends data to both a local drive and a cloud solution. It can also do cloning and mirror imaging duties for your rig’s system drive, in just two easy clicks.

Acronis True Image has an anti-ransomware feature that detects, and can even reverse the unauthorized encryption of a hard drive to keep data safe from this increasingly prevalent type of attack. It also offers support for mobile device backup. The downside is that all this backing up does use some system resources, and can even lengthen boot times.  

A one-year subscription offers ransomware protection built in. For cloud-backups, you'll need to upgrade to the Advanced plan.  A Premium plan offers 5TB of storage and electronic signatures.


(Image credit: EaseUS)

2. EaseUS Todo Backup

Disk cloning software with many features

Reasons to buy
+Slick interface+Range of cloning options+Free tier has a lot functionality  +Free trials for paid plans
Reasons to avoid
-No continuous backups 

EaseUS Todo Backup is a disk cloning program, that offers a great array of services- even on the free tier. For disk cloning it enables a wide range of cloning activities, including system cloning, hard drive cloning, and partition cloning. It also has an array of backup modes, including full, scheduled and incremental backups.

There is also a Home tier that adds email notifications, offsite copies and file exclusion. This tier can also do Outlook backup and recovery. The Home tier is available for a single user license for one year or for a two-year license. There's also a lifetime license options available for a single computer.

For business users, there is the top option of the Workstation tier. This adds to all the previous features above, command line backup, central management via the Backup Center, and a license that covers business usage. 


(Image credit: Macrium)

3. Macrium Reflect

The free cloning software for home and business

Reasons to buy
+Free license covers business use +Encryption option
Reasons to avoid
-Paid product isn't cheap

Macrium Reflect supports the essential task of direct disk cloning. The free tier features support for restoration of non-booting systems, scheduling backups with flexible templates, and creating live images of a running Windows OS. Notably, unlike most other free licenses, the Free edition is licensed for home and business use.  

While there is a free tier to provide a basic service, there are paid-upgrades available to include more features,

The Home tier adds the option to encrypt backups, create incremental backups and has ransomware protection . There is also a Workstation tier that has the additional features of logging events in Windows, and central management using Macrium Site Manager, with volume discounts available.   


(Image credit: Paragon)

4. Paragon Hard Disk Manager

The professional grade cloning software with advanced features

Reasons to buy
+Resize partitions  +Virtually clone to a USB drive 
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively expensive

Paragon Hard Disk Manager covers the full range of disk duties, including disk cloning of the entire drive, and advanced activities such as cloning by the partition, and can even resize the partition while copying it, or copy a hard drive to another with a dissimilar sector size.

It also features some cool, additional features, such as being able to create a virtual clone of your PC to a USB drive, that can then run portably from another PC, or creating recovery media to be able to boot a non bootable PC with the included Recovery Media Builder.  


(Image credit: AOMEI)

5. AOMEI Backupper

Free disk cloning utility

Reasons to buy
+Free to use+Clone to SSD+Copies boot records

AOMEI Backupper is a disk cloning utility that's free to download and use. A key feature of the software is the ability to clone a large disk to a smaller SSD drive. 

Sectors and partitions are copied over, along with key files such as boot.ini, NTLDR, BCD, winload.exe and MBR. There's also an intelligent cloning option, which only copies over used space on the harddrive. 

The whole process means that you end up with a full copy of your harddrive and won't need to reinstall Windows when copying your clone over to a new harddrive. Although the software is Freeware, there's no adware bundled with the software. Instead, there's a paid-for version available from $39.95 for a single PC license. 

However, do note that the free standard edition only supports a data disk clone. To clone a disk including a Windows system, the disk style (GPT/MBR) of the source disk and the destination disk must be the same.