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Clonezilla is a free program for backing up complete Operating Systems and optionally restoring them to the same, or replacement, HDD

For General Users

Clonzilla is a technical routine that is NOT SUITABLE for general Windows users, who should obtain and use the utility provided by the manufacturer of their new HDD

For Intermediate Users

It is not well suited to routine data backup, although users data within the partition(s) will be backed up by as part of the process..

Ascertain HDD capacity

  • Clonezilla assesses number of LBA of original and any replacement HDD
    • it might refuse to restore to a drive of the same nominal capacity
    • Until recently, Clonzilla required a replacement HDD to have equal or larger number of LBA
    • Recent releases can also restore to a smaller HDD
      • same routines used
      • need to be certain that the "used space", to which the image will be expanded, does not exceed the size of the new HDD (plus some operating margin)

Be certain to read the documentation thoroughly before using Clonezilla, particularly if cloning any HDD containing MS Windows system, where the process has many "gotchas"

  • try to have the online documentation available on another PC
    • read the section pertaining to the proposed clonzilla routine
  • the safest procedure with Windows is to create an image of the whole disk on a USB HDD
    • the folder containing the image will have adequate metadata to identify hardware to which it belongs
    • images contain only used blocks of the source drive and can be a fraction of the size of the source HDD
    • the image folder can be copied or moved to another repository, to provide additional contingency
  • if required, the image can be restored to the original HDD
    • it can also be restored to a replacement (typically larger) HDD
  • do not install two Windows system disks concurrently in a PC
    • if the PC were booted, Windows would render both systems inoperable and give "Blue Screen of Death"
  • there is a case for creating a clonezilla image of any new Windows computer BEFORE its first boot to Windows
    • the latter would require entry of permanent settings such as "first user name" and "computer name"

Clonezilla may be downloaded from

Alternatively, a more general purpose utility CD ISO image containing it may be purchased from

Strictly for Geeks

Partitions rather than whole HDD can be imaged or cloned.

  • bootloader routines might not be adequately cloned via this routine

Recent releases of Clonezilla can create a Virtual Machine disk image from a natively installed Operating System

--Rod (talk) 17:12, 19 March 2015 (AEDT) --