Magnificent Five: Free and Reliable Cloning Tools You Should Know

In the course of your career in the field of IT, you will come across a situation where you have to recover from a disaster. This is absolutely unavoidable. No, it is not wishing you ill-luck, it is a reality that each of us has to face at some point. Someday you will experience a hard drive failure. At some other point, you will lose essential data or your machine will just refuse to budge or boot. If you are fortunate to possess a disk image when this unfortunate incident happens, you will have an easier task of recovering your data. However, not every organization has the budget for the purchase of some pricey disk imaging software. Acronis Backup and Restore are among most popular and costly software options. There is a high chance that you don’t have access to either of these two.

So if you do not have such software or budget to get one, what do you do? Of course, you are not going to helplessly throw your hands in the air and expect a miracle to happen. You have to fix it! Well, there are not so many things that a free cloning tool cannot fix. Therefore, to avoid getting into a fit over a failed hard drive, try to get one of the free applications that will be explored in this blog article.

We would like to note that some of these applications are more powerful than others. Some perform bit-by-bit copying while others produce full ISO of running systems. There are some that are only Windows compliant and others work on almost any platform. The bottom line is that when choosing any of these free tools, you should have your requirements in mind. Having established this, let’s go on to learn more about these free and reliable cloning tools.

  1. Runtime Live CD

You can easily upload the majority of your desktops into a full Linux distribution with Runtime Live CD. With this, you will have access to numerous tools that will help you with the backup of your data as well as clone drives. Runtime Live CD gives its users access to the following tools: NAS Data Recover, DiskExplorer, RAID Recovery for Windows, Captain Nemo Pro, GetDataBack, DriveImage XML, and Disk Digger. The fact is that with this free cloning tool you will get everything you need to run a successful clone or backup. It is essential to mention that you have to burn Runtime Live CD to a bootable USB drive. It’s from this USB drive that you boot the system you would like to clone. Additionally, you need to possess a drive, which will serve as the target and should be mapped from inside running Live CD.

  1. Clonezilla

This cloning tool is one of the best in the market. It carries out the cloning process like: Linux boot distribution with the ability to do bitwise copying. It also maintains a whole lot of file systems. Clonezilla also has a built-in mode and multicast support. As a matter of fact, it may be the most powerful disk copy and clone tool that comes at no cost. If you are an individual who strives to find a tool that has the opportunity to clone multiple machines simultaneously and quickly, you can choose Clonezilla SE. This tool can clone up to 40 machines at the same time. Please note that first time the users may find the interface a little bit challenging because it utilizes a curse-based interface.

  1. DriveImage XML

This tool makes use of Microsoft VSS to produce images. It does a good job of it with the kind of accuracy that you are not likely to expect from a free tool. Please note that this software is designed to help you create “hot” images from the disk that is currently in use. The images are kept in the XML files, which makes it possible for you to access them through any supported third-party software. It can also regain images to a machine without the need to reboot. You can run DriveImage XML under Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Vista.

  1. Macrium Reflect – Free Edition

This is the fastest disk cloning tool that you can find in the market. It is important to mention that it supports only the Windows file systems. However, it does a very good job. The user interface is pretty straightforward, so you can easily get a hang of it. This tool carries out the function of disk cloning and imaging, as well as enables the users to access images from a file manager. Macrium Reflect Free Edition can also create Linux rescue CD.

  1. Paragon Backup and Recovery Free

This tool is developed for a standalone Windows system. It is efficient in running scheduled imaging. There is a pro version, which is a paid tool, but the good news is that a free version is created based on its powerful pro version. However, you can’t use the free one for anything other than personal use. It is highly recommended that you use the free version to get an idea of what this software can offer. If you feel it is what you want, you can go for the full version. It is essential to mention that Paragon is one of the few software titles for backup and recovery that is already carried the label of Windows 8.


You can see that you are really not in a deadlock when you run into problems with your system or hard drive. There is always a free backup tool that you can use to clone your disks. Check out any of these top 5 software options to see the one that best meets your needs. No doubt, you may find that some of these cloning tools are a bit difficult to use and some may not have the definite features that you need. However, there is definitely one that will meet your expectations.