Sunday, July 19, 2009

Free Cloning software Part 1: Easus Disk Copy

Upgrading your hard drive can be a rewarding and simple procedure for the everyday computer user. Cloning your hard drive or making a exact copy is the easiest way to get the new hard drive up and running quickly, It’s also a popular tool for many professional IT people to backup a computer setup to be instantly restored in case of a disaster.

There is a number of paid commercial programs that serve this purpose, Norton Ghost is very popular as is my favorite, Acronis True Image. Both do a great job and have a number of useful options besides the cloning function. They are great programs but they cost money, and money is tight right now so I thought I try out a few free cloning programs that do the job just as well, albeit without the options the paid programs include.

The first program I tried successfully was Easus Disk Copy.  Disk Copy allows a user to replicate their hard drive on to a external hard drive, the only option besides a full copy is to choose an individual partition a useful feature that I didn’t test.

Easus Disk Copy is simple to use, you download the program and burn the iso image to a CD. You then boot to the CD and follow a simple set of windows guiding you through the process. Once your target disks are selected you simply wait for the process to take place. This is where Easus falls short of the paid programs I’ve used. The entire operation took over 3 hours to clone a drive with about 140GBs of data to the new drive, not a big deal for most situations but if you’re in a hurry you’ll want a different program.

Another issue which was no big deal but could be for some people, was that out of the 3 drives I cloned 2 required me to repair the Windows Boot Loader using an install disk. No big deal for me but if you don’t have an install disk for the operating system you have or don’t feel comfortable doing this, it would be a real hassle.

Overall I think Easus Disk Copy did a fine job, it’s free and relatively simple. Since hard drives have become so inexpensive it seems silly to pay for software if you’re only using it on rare occasions. I give it a conditional “fully recommend” rating’ the condition being the user knows how to burn an ISO file and is able to repair the boot loader if needed.

Get Easus Disk Copy here

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