The Best Disk Cloning Software in 2021

By Nikolina Cvetićanin August 17, 2021

Disk cloning is the next step in the evolution of data backup software. What once caused head-scratching, hours of fiddling with copy settings, and worrying if we made a backup of all our crucial files, can now be done with a few mouse clicks. The best disk cloning software makes a complete reproduction of a source drive that can be used immediately on another computer or after replacing the original disk drive. Cloning can also prevent data loss

Whit all these benefits in mind, we’ve curated this list of the best drive cloning solutions on the market.

Top 5 Disk Cloning Software Solutions

  • Active protection from ransomware and malicious websites
  • Cloud backup
  • Robust drive imaging and cloning options
  • Hidden interface sections
Price $49.99/year
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  • Scheduled backups
  • Encrypt backup data
  • Nimble drive cloning and restoration
  • Issues with long named files
Price FREE
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  • Fast restoration and incremental backup speed
  • Feature-packed software
  • Condensed interface for beginners and pros
  • No fine-tuning options
Price FREE
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  • Automatically backs up software
  • Supports various systems and files
  • Macrium Reflect knowledgebase
  • The user interface can be challenging to use
Price FREE
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  • Most powerful cloning options
  • Unparalleled file systems support
  • Tweakable features
  • No graphical user interface
Price FREE
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What Makes Disk Cloning Unique and Do I Need It?

We use backup technology to save and preserve our files every day. Still, while we may have grown accustomed to using the standard forms of data backup, the relatively new disk-clone software offers even more benefits. After you make a disk clone and connect it to a computer, you can run Windows without a lengthy installation. Just continue working in apps and playing games right where you left off.

“Why can’t I just use disk imaging software?” You might ask. Well, for starters, disk imaging compresses your hard drive and all its data into a single ISO file. It became a popular form of saving data since it’s a relatively simple form of keeping several incremental disk imaging versions on a hard drive. On the other hand, hard drive clone software makes an uncompressed duplicate from the source drive that you can move to another drive. You don’t have to unpack the ISO file first, so it’s a much faster way to transfer your data than drive imaging.

Another standard means of creating a drive backup is copying and pasting everything from the source drive to a second disk. And here, disk cloning has the upper hand again: A hard drive cloning tool copies and pastes the file allocation table, the master boot drive, and the rest of the drive data, without any manual labor on your part. As a result, a cloned drive is bootable and ready to run.

Disk cloning applications have come a long way since their inception. Many offer a simplified user interface, robust set of advanced drive cloning options, and additional features; some even include cloud backup options. The main things you should be focusing on when looking for one are sheer data transferring speed and compression performance. Our review of the best disk cloning software below goes over what the crème de la crème of apps in the drive cloning market have to offer.

1. Acronis True Image

" Best for Complete Drive Cloning "

  • Cloning types
    Disk only
  • File systems
    NTFS, FAT16/32, ReiserFS, Linux SWAP, exFAT, HFS+/HFSX, APFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4
  • Storage devices
    GPT, MBR, SSD, external USB hard drive
  • Cloud storage
    500 GB (base plan)
  • Encryption
    AES-256
  • Cloning and backup speed
    Moderate

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Active protection from ransomware and malicious websites
  • Cloud backup
  • Robust drive imaging and cloning options
  • Hidden interface sections

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Active protection from ransomware and malicious websites
  • Cloud backup
  • Robust drive imaging and cloning options
  • Hidden interface sections
  • Cloning types
    Disk only
  • File systems
    NTFS, FAT16/32, ReiserFS, Linux SWAP, exFAT, HFS+/HFSX, APFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4
  • Storage devices
    GPT, MBR, SSD, external USB hard drive
  • Cloud storage
    500 GB (base plan)
  • Encryption
    AES-256
  • Cloning and backup speed
    Moderate

Acronis True Image has become a synonym for the best bootable disk cloning software due to its rounded package of security and backup tools. Thanks to its modern and streamlined design, users will have no problems exploring and adjusting to the app’s basic and advanced features. It offers online backup, anti-ransomware protection, file encryption, along with disk backup, cloning, and restoration.

Drive Cloning Capabilities

This software supports several storage devices for drive cloning; for example, it lets you clone your hard drive to an SSD. The one basic rule is that you have to provide more storage space on the target drive than the source. The Clone Disk Wizard assists users in creating a disk replica. The entire process can be done automatically with little to no prior knowledge about disk cloning. Do note that this SSD cloning software only supports disk cloning.

When you begin the cloning procedure, there will be no need to turn off or restart your device. It took about two to four hours to clone 500 GB of data, an average copying speed for drive cloning software. Overall, the performance was okay, but the streamlined interface significantly reduced the complexity of the cloning process.

Additional Features

Acronis offers 256-bit encryption; a user creates an encryption key and thus keeps the backup content away from Acronis. The active ransomware protection built into the app successfully eliminated all ransomware samples used on a test unit and managed to recover the affected files.

Besides being some of the best SSD disk cloning software, this app has several other handy features. With Acronis True Image’s backup options, users can conserve disk images and files in the cloud with file sharing, folder syncing, and versioning. You can store up to 999 uploaded file versions across all separate backup schedules and backup data in one of Acronis’ global data centers for 99 months. Unfortunately, the upload speeds for the 1 GB test backup file were slow, taking nearly 20 minutes to finish.

Interface and User-Friendliness

One aspect where Acronis True Image shines is its intuitive app design. All the core options are nestled atop each other on the left side of the main window. When you click on the Tools option in this clone HDD to SSD software, it leads to a dozen choices: Clone disk, Acronis universal restore, system cleanup, full image backup, and more. With the Universal Restore option, you can revert the backup to systems with different hardware from yours. And the full image backup makes an identical image of your entire system.

We experienced some issues with the user interface: Some valuable options are hidden behind the Tools menu, including cloning a hard drive to an SSD. We also suffered slowdowns with file loading in the mobile version. Even though it aims to be the best commercial disk cloning software, the “Add backup” function caused lengthy loading times on desktop.

Pricing

Acronis True Image has a 30-day trial version, and you don’t have to provide your banking info. The Essential subscription version on one device costs $49.99 and offers ransomware protection, extensive backup options, and complete customer support. Getting this subscription level on three computers will set you back $49.99 for one computer, $79.99 for three of them, or $99.99 for five machines.

The Advanced subscription includes 500 GB of cloud storage and backup on top of all the features from the Essential package. It will cost you $89.99, $129.99, and $189.99 for one, three, and five computers, respectively.

This candidate for the best disk cloning software saves its top package for last. The Premium one-year subscription price is $124.99 on one device with 1 TB of free online storage, all the way to $369.99 for five computers with 5 TB of cloud storage. The package has everything previous subscription levels offer, along with blockchain certification and electronic signature for files. However, the optional support for SSL encryption certification is missing, and, in general, we still liked the iDrive cloud plans more.

Final Thoughts

Acronis True Image has all the essential tools you need to make drive clones and back up your data in one neat bundle. The elegant and focused user interface will undoubtedly offer a comfortable experience, on par with the other hard disk to SSD cloning software on this list.

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2. AOMEI Backupper

" Best for Efficient drive cloning "

  • Cloning types
    System, disk, partition/volume, command line
  • File systems
    FAT16/32, NTFS, ReiserFS, Ext2/Ext3, exFAT
  • Storage devices
    HDD, SSD, USB flash drive, CD/DVD, NAS
  • Cloud storage
    None (external/third-party cloud drives)
  • Encryption
    AES-256
  • Cloning and backup speed
    Good (Restore - very good)

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Scheduled backups
  • Encrypt backup data
  • Nimble drive cloning and restoration
  • Issues with long named files

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Scheduled backups
  • Encrypt backup data
  • Nimble drive cloning and restoration
  • Issues with long named files
  • Cloning types
    System, disk, partition/volume, command line
  • File systems
    FAT16/32, NTFS, ReiserFS, Ext2/Ext3, exFAT
  • Storage devices
    HDD, SSD, USB flash drive, CD/DVD, NAS
  • Cloud storage
    None (external/third-party cloud drives)
  • Encryption
    AES-256
  • Cloning and backup speed
    Good (Restore - very good)

One of the best hard disk cloning software comes from China and is quickly gaining a lot of traction and popularity in IT circles. Justifiably so, since AOMEI Backupper marries an intuitive and nicely designed interface with powerful cloning, restoring, and backup capabilities. While it’s not the fastest backup app on our list, the AOMEI Backupper regularly comes close to the top in speed and overall performance.

Drive Cloning Capabilities

AOMEI Backupper enables disk cloning, and you can make identical copies of an operating system, partition, or volume. The company behind it touts this app as the best free hard drive cloning software with such support. With such extensive cloning support, we’re inclined to agree with them.

You can clone a bigger hard drive to a much smaller SSD, as long as the data size from the source drive fits onto the SSD, thanks to the app’s intelligent cloning that copies and pastes over used space on the disk. Users can also opt for sector-by-sector cloning.

Additional Features

Beyond cloning, AOMEI Backupper offers an expansive selection of backup methods, as expected from the best hard drive cloning software. Disk backup, file backup and sync, and partition and system backup are the most used options. You can schedule your backup to activate based on specific triggers, too. If you want to protect a backed-up file, you can encrypt it; however, the encryption options with AOMEI are somewhat limited.

The only issue we had with AOMEI was that it completely refused to back up files with long names. However, such occurrences can be quickly alleviated by renaming the file in question.

After backing up your data, you can employ several restoration options. We were particularly pleased by the breakneck restoration speeds this free SSD migration software offers: It managed to restore a 13 GB Windows backup in less than ten minutes. This makes it one of the top-five fastest restoration apps out there.

Interface and User-Friendliness

AOMEI Backupper surpasses several other backup software with a clean and accessible interface that will immediately ease users into making backups drive clones and more. A carefully organized working environment leaves little to no confusion. The main icons are sorted on the left side of the main app’s window, and you’ll familiarize and make your digital signature with these tools and options in no time.

Pricing

The payment is also generous and straightforward for the best PC disk cloning software on our list. For $49.95, you get a Professional lifetime license with indefinite free updates. With the two-license bundle, you pay $79.92 (20% off), and the three-license bundle will cost you $104.89. With this license, you can clone, merge, split, and encrypt the data on your drives.

The Workstation license costs $59.95 and offers the Professional package plus the PXE booting tool for system maintenance. The Server version costs $199 and supports Windows Server 2003 and onwards. Lastly, the Technician and Technician Plus options ($499 and $899, respectively) offer unlimited PC licensing, priority support, the Image Deploy Tool, and the ‘Create Portable Version’ option.

Final Thoughts

AOMEI Backupper offers potent disk cloning software for Windows, as well as a backup and restoration tool packed in a simple and attractive interface.

3. EaseUS Todo Backup

" Best for Workstations "

  • Cloning types
    Disk, Partition
  • File systems
    FAT12/16/32, NTFS, UFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, HFS+
  • Storage devices
    HDD, USB, SDD, DVD, CD, Blu-Ray
  • Cloud storage
    16 TB
  • Encryption
    AES-256
  • Cloning and backup speed
    Good

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Fast restoration and incremental backup speed
  • Feature-packed software
  • Condensed interface for beginners and pros
  • No fine-tuning options

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Fast restoration and incremental backup speed
  • Feature-packed software
  • Condensed interface for beginners and pros
  • No fine-tuning options
  • Cloning types
    Disk, Partition
  • File systems
    FAT12/16/32, NTFS, UFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, HFS+
  • Storage devices
    HDD, USB, SDD, DVD, CD, Blu-Ray
  • Cloud storage
    16 TB
  • Encryption
    AES-256
  • Cloning and backup speed
    Good

EaseUS and its data recovery software are more popular in IT circles than with the general population, but its audience is expanding. The EaseUS design is on par with some of the best disk cloning software, with an abundance of features wrapped in a minimalist interface that is convenient to use.

Drive Cloning Capabilities

Starting with disk cloning, EaseUS Todo Backup possesses a multitude of useful features. Users can create partitions and disk clones, clone their data sector by sector, make a hard-disk-to-SSD clone, transfer less cloned data to a larger drive, and add a Linux or WinPE emergency disk as a boot option when they make a disk clone or restore it.

On the downside, some standard cloning features are notably absent. For example, you cannot rely on intelligent or system cloning. Hence, you cannot use an occupied space on your hard drive to paste over cloned data – something the best disk cloning software for Mac and Windows should have.

Additional Features

As we mentioned, EaseUS is geared towards the IT sector, so its Todo Backup is jam-packed with advanced features, such as MS Exchange and SQL Server backup and recovery support. You can safely copy sensitive data, run scheduled backups, and set the type and time of each backup. Toggle-on the Pre-OS feature, and the app will make backups before Windows even starts. When the backup is finished, the advanced settings allow your computer to shut down automatically or run missed backups.

Something that not many other free HDD cloning software offers, but EaseUS Todo Backup does is analytics. The information it gives you includes your backup timeline, the space calculation for a target folder before you decide to start the backup process, and the Logs give you a complete analysis of completed and failed backups, akin to the kind you get with business intelligence tools.

When you’re about to restore a partition or a disk, you can either restore individual files only, or mount the whole backup as a drive, making this a perfect restoration tool for one of the best free disk to disk cloning software.

Interface and User-Friendliness

The app design is economical and focuses on productivity, with all the necessary options listed on the main page of the interface. It encourages users to delve into drive cloning and creating backups.

Pricing

The Home version of the EaseUS Todo Backup costs $39.95 as a yearly subscription for one device, and includes drive cloning. The Enterprise solution allows for software installation on a server and PXE network booting tools from $39.99 for workstations, over $199-$459 for servers, up to $2499 for a lifetime technician license.

Final Thoughts

If you want cloning, backup, and restoration options, you can’t go wrong with EaseUS Todo Backup, which contains some of the best trial hard disk cloning software, with many advanced features under a simple interface.

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4. Macrium Reflect

" Best for business & home drive cloning and data protection "

  • Cloning types
    Disk, Partition
  • File systems
    FAT16/32, NTFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4
  • Storage devices
    SATA, SSD, USB hard drive caddy
  • Cloud storage
    None
  • Encryption
    AES-128/192/256
  • Cloning and backup speed
    Good

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Automatically backs up software
  • Supports various systems and files
  • Macrium Reflect knowledgebase
  • The user interface can be challenging to use

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Automatically backs up software
  • Supports various systems and files
  • Macrium Reflect knowledgebase
  • The user interface can be challenging to use
  • Cloning types
    Disk, Partition
  • File systems
    FAT16/32, NTFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4
  • Storage devices
    SATA, SSD, USB hard drive caddy
  • Cloud storage
    None
  • Encryption
    AES-128/192/256
  • Cloning and backup speed
    Good

Macrium Reflect is one of the best cloning software for SSD on the market that packs beginner backup tools. Oddly enough, the interface can be straightforward to use and cause some confusion at the same time. Luckily, the extensive knowledge base is there to help with any problem.

Drive Cloning Capabilities

Besides direct disk or partition cloning options, you can use the Intelligent Sector Copy to create quicker clones by planning for the SSD architecture. Macrium Reflect also employs Rapid Delta Cloning (RDC), which allows for fast cloning times by copying the difference between the target and source file systems. While this technology is undoubtedly a hallmark of the best disk cloning software, one drawback is that it works only on the NTFS file systems and partitions that haven’t been reduced. Otherwise, the app will employ full cloning.

Additional Features

Other than drive cloning, Macrium’s features include the encryption of backup data as a form of protection from malicious attacks. Work computers may benefit from automatic backup and scheduling options, too. What’s more, Macrium Reflect can make copies of particular folders or files for MS Exchange, SQL, or OS server backups.

Some of the best HDD cloning software’s often overlooked features are email notifications and ViBoot. ViBoot uses Hyper V to check if your boot images are working correctly by testing them as a virtual machine. To boot – pun intended – Macrium was fast enough to get first or second place on our imaging and restore tests.

Interface and User-Friendliness

The best way to describe the Macrium Reflect’s interface is to say that it’s at war with itself. The design is simple and reduced, aimed to guide users through all the top functions. At the same time, there are many hidden features and options that ought to be visible. And while some components are on par with the best disk imaging and cloning software on this list, the interface downgrades that impression.

Pricing

Apart from the free version, you can get a single Home license for a year with file and disk cloning options and ransomware protection for $69.95. The four-pack Home license will set you back for $139.95.

The Business version comes in three sizes: Workstation has all the amenities of Home, with the option to mount images in Windows Explorer and costs $75. The Server version of what could be the best business disk cloning software will run you $299, with the additional feature of backing up the whole virtual or physical server into one compressed image file. The Server Plus price is $599, with granular recovery, and SQL and Exchange server backup.

Final Thoughts

Macrium Reflect is a compact package with everything you need for backing up, cloning, and imaging a hard drive, and it brings along some unique server features. If you can get over the sometimes confusing interface, it will be a perfect fit for small and big businesses alike. Macrium Reflect might not be the best bootable disk cloning software on the list, but its features work admirably.

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5. Clonezilla

" Best for free drive cloning "

  • Cloning types
    Disk, Partition
  • File systems
    FAT12/16/32, NTFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, Reiser4, ReiserFS, jfs, xfs, btrfs, nilfs2, f2fs, HFS+, UFS, minix, VMFS3, VMFS5
  • Storage devices
    MBR, GPT
  • Cloud storage
    None
  • Encryption
    AES-256
  • Cloning and backup speed
    Moderate

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Most powerful cloning options
  • Unparalleled file systems support
  • Tweakable features
  • No graphical user interface

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Most powerful cloning options
  • Unparalleled file systems support
  • Tweakable features
  • No graphical user interface
  • Cloning types
    Disk, Partition
  • File systems
    FAT12/16/32, NTFS, Ext2/Ext3/Ext4, Reiser4, ReiserFS, jfs, xfs, btrfs, nilfs2, f2fs, HFS+, UFS, minix, VMFS3, VMFS5
  • Storage devices
    MBR, GPT
  • Cloud storage
    None
  • Encryption
    AES-256
  • Cloning and backup speed
    Moderate

Clonezilla is a fantastic piece of software that originated on Linux but quickly spread to other operating systems. Even though it’s completely free hard drive cloning software, it stands apart from the other apps on this list with robust cloning features and the sheer number of supported file systems. The biggest issue, and a thorn in the side of many beginners, is the command-line-only interface that requires a while to get familiar with.

Drive Cloning Capabilities

Clonezilla is a tireless drive cloning beast. You can clone data to an image or target disk. The app uses Partclone as the primary cloning method, which allows it to only copy sectors with data in them and support many file systems. Partclone works best with NTFS because it stores checksum information and shows the terminal output. Together these options give more information to the user.

As the best free data migration disk cloning software, Clonezilla Server has the mass cloning ability, thanks to multicasting, i.e., mass data distribution to multiple devices. It is most popular with system administrators and IT technicians because of these features.

Additional Features

Since Clonezilla is a free and open-source cloning and imaging tool, practically anyone can modify its features, but the stock version also comes with tons of useful options. It supports 19 file systems, including Linux, Windows, macOS, Chromium, Minix, and more. Unlike the other best free drive cloning software from the list, you can streamline many options and processes and change the boot framework to make custom cloning and imaging.

Clonezilla allows you to save images to partitions, a hard drive, or a WebDAV or FTP server. If you want to get better data transfer speeds, you can turn off the GUI, prevent hibernation, and swap files for Windows systems. However, all these features are aimed at advanced or expert users. Also, granular, differential, or incremental backups are not supported.

Interface and User-Friendliness

Since it started as the best disk cloning software for Linux, Clonezilla does not have a graphical interface. Instead, the user interface relies on the command prompt, which might be off-putting for many users. Still, everything you need to know is displayed neatly and obviously, with the option to switch between basic and advanced workflows on the fly.

Pricing

Clonezilla is entirely free, and its community is developing it. It works under the GNU-General Public License Version 2.

Final Thoughts

If you can get used to a text-based user interface and its many advanced features, Clonezilla and its unmatched cloning capabilities will quickly take the spot as the best free drive cloning software for you.

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Our Methodology for Reviewing Disk Cloning Software

Cloning a hard drive is the straightforward yet delicate procedure of creating an exact copy of your drive’s data. It’s essential that the recommended software ticks all the boxes for interface friendliness, comfortable and reliable usage, data cloning options, and expert settings for more demanding users. We have used these parameters as the starting point in our review methodology.

Drive Cloning Capabilities

Selecting which drive partitions to clone and letting the program do its thing will do the job for most users. However, if you are looking for the fine-tuning options hard drive duplicator software can offer, we dug deep for those too. We’ll cover if the particular software can clone or resize a hard drive, partition, or system. Some apps have intelligent cloning that employs the used space on a disk drive or uses ready-made templates. Finally, we’ll check the cloning and imaging speeds.

Additional Features

Specific applications have optional features that might protect cloned data, such as anti-ransomware and decryption settings. Other software implements neat copying and file separation notifications via email, virtual cloning from a hard disk to a USB, or scheduled backup options and PC optimization.

Interface and User-Friendliness

Disk cloning can be simple or complex, depending on the UI. The absolute best disk cloning software operates with a clean and intuitive user interface that emphasizes necessary options and puts the less frequently used choices in the background. We’ll go through each app’s UI and check how much its design aids or detracts from the cloning experience.

Pricing

A fair chunk of drive cloning software has a free version or a 30-day trial, along with the full-priced software. We’ll sort out and define what you get with the free software and what useful options are locked behind a paywall. With the price listing, you’ll get an insight if the app’s cost is justified compared to what it offers.

FAQ

Does Windows 10 have cloning software?

An integrated Windows 10 option works similarly to the best software for cloning a hard disk that we’ve shown in this article. System Image lets you create an identical copy of your installation with partitions. One of the main issues with this Windows cloning-like software is that you have to use a target drive with a bigger capacity than the source drive. Otherwise, the app will return an error message. Plus, it’s more convoluted to use than specialized backup software.

How can I clone my hard drive software for free?

Clonezilla is an open-source, free backup software that has excellent cloning capabilities.

Does cloning a drive make it bootable?

Using any of the best disk-to-disk cloning software from the list will create a bootable cloned drive. Whatever software you decide to use, you must select the Windows recovery partitions when partition cloning, since these partitions hold the necessary boot data. Usually, they will be shown as “1-EFI” and “4-None”. Otherwise, the cloned drive won’t boot.

Is disk cloning faster than copying?

It depends on the software. In general, copying is faster than cloning since every sector on the disk must be read and written during cloning, regardless of whether the sector is being used.

Is disk cloning safe?

Disk cloning is safe as long as you follow the instructions given by the software publisher.

What is the best disk cloning software?

Acronis True Image is the best choice since it has everything you might need, with a friendly and straightforward user interface. Unfortunately, while there is a 30-day trial version, this app is not free.