If you’ve ever wanted to clone your Windows 10 drive, you might’ve found that it takes some know-how. There are many things that you need to keep an eye out for in this process, and many of them, if set-up the wrong way, might leave you with a cloned drive that doesn’t work like you intended it to. Fortunately, we got your back here, with detailed instructions on what to do.

Click on these links to jump to the different parts of the article:

  1. Why clone your drive?
  2. What is Clonezilla and why it is the tool that you need
  3. The downsides to Clonezilla
  4. The actual cloning steps

Why would people want to clone their drive?

There could be many reasons. They might want to do it…

  • As a simple backup strategy: so they could have a clean installation in case their computer gets infected with a virus, or malfunctions.
  • So they could have a faster version of their operating system on an SSD.
  • So they could have all their files and preferences immediately on somebody else’s computer.

And to do all those things, I wholeheartedly recommend Clonezilla.

What is Clonezilla and why is it the only tool you need for cloning

Clonezilla is an open source software. It is basically a combination of multiple packages which give you an extremely efficient piece of software that you can use to clone from one to forty machines simultaneously. For a personal user one is enough, but for an enterprise IT pro, this advanced functionality can be priceless.

Clonezilla comes with support for numerous file systems such as ext2, ext3, xfs, jfs, GNU/Linux, HFS+, NTFS, FAT etc. There’s also Multicast and LVM2 support. The software comes from the NCHC (National Center for High-Performance Computing) software labs and gives you plenty of flexibility. You can clone anything from a single drive, to a single partition within the drive, to be able to recover it later. Storing the cloned data can be done as a duplicate copy, or as an image file, it is your choice, and it’s also up to you whether you store it on an internal/external drive, CD/DVD drive, or even on a networked drive.

Are there any downsides to Clonezilla?

It’s worth mentioning that there are two potential caveats to using Clonezilla, but they’re both pretty easy to deal with.

  • The first one is the user interface. Many users aren’t really used to the cursor-based, DOS-like interface, and this might be a brick wall for them. However, one, the UI is nonetheless fairly intuitive, and two, we’ve outlined all the steps down below, so all you need to do is read them through.
  • The second one is that Clonezilla isn’t really backed up by a large company that has your back when something goes wrong. It is, however, backed up by an open source community that is huge, and that has a lot of skills and knowledge – and to us that feels like enough.

Now that we have the details of what it is, why you need it, and why you need Clonezilla rather than something else, let’s jump into the cloning.

Let’s clone! Follow these steps:

  1. Download the Clonezilla ISO. Clonezilla works from a live CD or USB, so you’ll need to make one for the purpose of using it. The easiest option is to use something like Rufus or UNetbootin for this, as both are lightweight tools that are practically made for this. Once you have your live CD, or USB, ready, it’s time to get to work.
  2. Next, either attach the USB, or insert the CD, in the computer whose drive you want to clone. Afterwards, you will want to reboot the device. Interrupt the booting process (unless your boot order is set to boot from USB/CD first, and hard drive second), and boot from the Clonezilla media, instead of your boot drive. What you’ll see here is the Clonezilla boot screen. Choose Clonezilla Live, and let’s get started.clonezila 1
  3. Choose a language and continue. You’ll be asked to choose a keyboard layout, and you’ll be presented with two options. The default one is the US keyboard, so if that’s what you want, or are using, choose “Keep”. If you’re using a different one, choose “Change”, and select the layout you want accordingly.
  4. Here you can either go with a console, or start Clonezilla. Unless you’re someone who knows their way around both Clonezilla, and a console, go with the “Start Clonezilla” option.clonezilla 2

From this point on, be extra cautious

  1. This is where you get to choose between doing the copy directly, device-to-device, or creating an image. The better option is to create an image, especially if you’re cloning or backing up for the first time.clonezilla 3
  2. Next, you need to choose where you want Clonezilla to save your image. If you are someone who knows what they’re doing, you can choose SSH, NFS or Samba, but they all require setting up. Usually what you’ll be using is  the local_dev option, which saves your image to an external drive. Note though, that since the image is pretty big, you’ll want the external drive to be at least as big as the drive you’re imaging. This might be obvious, but still, it’s important enough that it’s worth mentioning.clonezilla 4
  3. Next, you should choose which repository holds your image. You must be careful here, as selecting the wrong partition might mean that your primary, working partition, gets overwritten. For example, in Linux, you have partitions labeled like “sda”, “sdb”, “sdd” etc. The partition that ends in a is the primary partition, and you must not overwrite it. Give your image a name, and let it work. A good idea here is to include a date, especially if you’re doing this often. That would help you to easily determine which backup it is.clonezilla 5

After this, it’s time to let Clonezilla do its thing. As far as imaging tools go, it is actually pretty fast and snappy. That means that it would take take anywhere from half an hour to three hours. This depends on your drive’s size, how much data it has, as well as the interface you use to transfer the data. Once it completes, you’re good to reboot your machine. In case anything happens, you now have a fully working backup of your drive.

Still stuck? Ask your question in our forum!

About Author

10 Comments

  1. So you suggest creating an image – can this be used directly or do you need to do a further step?

    Device to device would seem the more logical option, although I’ve not used the software yet.

    ie. Existing image to brand new device.

  2. Found a better tool that doesn’t even require typing. With fewer than 5 clicks, I can clone any OS or combination of hard drive. It’called MiniTool

    • Mina Magued Mounir on

      Hello Anwar, thank you so much for your recommendation, I myself like MiniTool but the thing is it has lots of tools and we try to make things easier for our readers to avoid confusion. Maybe we will add this one for more advanced user. Have a great day!

  3. Hello there,
    So I have been using clonezila for the past 6 months and it worked great with no problems. I clone win 10 on my workstations from win 7. Today I tried to do another workstation but it will not work. When I tried one more time to load clonezilla, I received a message telling me that my image disk is full and to exit. It took me back to win 7. Any thoughts?

    • Mina Magued Mounir on

      Hello Alain, I think this may be related to the available disk space you have on this workstation, you need to have enough free space to perform the cloning action. Please try to check it or free more space and try to do this one more time.

  4. 0 I want to install a 480 gb SSD in a 10 year old HP desktop with a Win 10 OS that currently has 2 internal HD’s . One 500gb is primary and 1tb is backup drive . I want to replace the primary drive with the new SSD . I am not computer savvy and do not understand to well . Do I clone the OS and files on the primary to the 1tb Backup drive and then install SSD and then move info back to SSD ?

    • Mina Magued Mounir on

      Hello Ken, well I just want to suggest that if your SSD is a samsung one, they have their own cloning app for SSD and it works like charm. It’s the Samsung data migration app. If you’re not using a Samsung SSD, try to find a cloning app from the SSD manufacturer’s website. If there are any, please ell me the error you’re getting while trying to clone the OS and files on the primary to the SSD. I’ll try to fix this so you don’t need to copy them to the 1 TB backup then back to the SSD. Will be waiting for your reply!

  5. Hello…I’ve used Clonezilla to clone my Windows 7 boot drive a number of times over the years (I do a backup about once a year onto a new hard drive)

    I’m now trying to do it for my new Windows 10 boot drive, and for some reason it doesn’t work. I boot from a CD, and get that orange and white opening screen. I choose the top option and then I get a long list of “DOS-like ” operations scrolling down for quite some time (five or six minutes). Then the screen goes blank and the computer freezes. Is there something incompatible here? Am I using the correct version of Clonezilla?

    Thanks.

    • Mina Magued Mounir on

      Hello Alan, I was looking for a solution for your problem and some tips came across:
      First of all, try to remove any useless USB cables during the process, any unwanted mouse or headset or whatever.
      Also, you may try to install Clonezilla on a USB drive or a hard drive instead of a CD. Maybe the issue is related to the CD or the CD reader.
      Finally, yes please make sure you’re using the latest version of Clonezilla (they say the latest release is 2.5.6-22) and try again.
      Check the previous tips and come back with photos or screenshots for further help to our forums, I’ll be waiting for you.
      https://win10faq.com/forums
      Good luck!

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.