Is cloning to a second internal drive a viable backup strategy?

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Leo, I’ve reformatted my PC several times in the past which is a real pain. Since then, I’ve done things a little different. Now, I just use another internal hard drive hooked up via USB adapter to clone my present hard drive. It takes less than an hour to do so and I do this every six months using flash drives in-between to save anything new. It seems to work well for me. Can you think of problems that may occur from doing this sort of backup?

Backing up puts you ahead of the game. You’re doing more than probably half of the people out there today.

Cloning your hard drive is a reasonable solution, but personally, I’m not comfortable with it because you can run into a few “gotchas” every now and then.

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Can I Simply Copy Everything on My Drive in Case Something Bad Happens?

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Leo, I’m running Windows 7 with two 80 GB hard drives: one is for backing up information. Now I consider that to be too small for me, but for every 4.5 GB of information, I burn all of my documents, favorites, and downloads to a DVD so that if anything happens, my only loss will be my Windows 7. My question is can I clone, copy, or image my C drive to this second hard drive that I have installed and then remove the copied drive in case something else happens to my operating system which I cannot fix? And then can I use that copied drive as if nothing had happened? I ask because I have three 80 GB hard drives: two installed and one in waiting. If the answer is yes, what should I do? Clone, copy, or image?

There are utilities that can do exactly what you’re requesting. It’s called cloning and what it does is a sector-by-sector copy of one hard drive to another. The two hard drives need to be identical or very close to it for a clone to work.

You then have a fully cloned copy of the original hard drive that you can swap into the internal hard drive’s place if something happens.

What you’re asking about is cloning software. Many backup programs (like Macrium Reflect) have the option to clone a drive. But I don’t really like the idea of cloning drives. Here’s why.

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