Disk cloning or copying serves several purposes. It can be helpful for users who want to migrate to a larger hard drive for instance, or used for forensic or file recovery purposes as it is usually advised not to work with the original source. You find plenty of disk imaging tools on the Internet, some free, and many commercial.
OSFClone is currently offered as a free solution, which is likely to change after the current beta test. The program is offered as an ISO image that can be burned to CD or DVD, and as a version for removable storage devices like Flash storage.
The software is self-booting which means that it is independent of operating systems installed on the system. It is based on Tiny Core Linux and boots into a command line interface and not a graphical user interface.
Your first task is to burn the ISO image to DVD, or to copy the contents of the zip file to an USB drive. The USB installation requires additional steps, like launching ImageUSB.exe once you have copied the files to the drive. The steps are explained in detail on the developer homepage.
You end up with a self-booting image that you can start instead of the installed operating systems. This can also be handy if the operating systems are not starting anymore.
The program loads its basic interface and displays the available options in a text menu. You can use the keyboard to select an entry from the available options.
OFSClone can create raw images of a selected drive or partition, or disk images in the Advance Forensics Format. You need to have enough free space available to create the disk image.
Another interesting option is the ability to verify that the cloned drive is identical to the drive source, which is done by comparing hashes between the clone and source drive.
You can then mount the created image on the same or another computer to analyze, access or recover its contents.
OSFClone is easy to use. That, and the fact that it is OS independent make it an interesting tool for users who want to copy or clone a hard disk on a computer system. The program is currently free of charge, and it remains to be seen if this stays this way, or if the developers have intentions to charge for it in the future.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.