Majority of the people get confused between hard drive cloning and hard drive imaging and do not understand whether they have to clone their Mac hard drive or image it! Since cloning software provides both options to clone and create an image of the hard drive, both options look almost the same. They both copy the entire content of hard drive or hard drive volume thus it is very obvious to get confused. To know the basic difference between these two terms, we have to understand their basic definitions and the reason for segregating these two.
Cloning: The literal meaning of cloning is creating exact replica or mirror image of something just like cloning and animal or even a human. Likewise creating mirror image or replica of the hard disk is called hard disk clone. The hard disk cloning process copies sector by sector data of source drive to destination drive. Cloning also gives you an option to clone the entire hard drive or specific volume of your hard drive and the best part of cloning is the resultant object can immediately be used. That means disk cloning creates a ready to use copy of the hard drive which you can restore your entire machine in various situations such as an operating system crash, hard drive damage, or you want to switch from an old hard drive to new spacious hard drive, etc. However, while cloning you must know the fact that cloning erases all data of the destination drive and that too beyond any scope of recovery so it is recommended to choose that destination drive which is either empty or which does not have any important data. Moreover, the destination drive must have equal or larger space than the source drive.
Imaging: Imaging is basically creating a backup copy of your hard drive or volume which can be used to restore data at any situation of data loss or inaccessibility of data. In imaging, the data of the destination drive is not destroyed as well as most of the imaging software as it uses compression while creating image so you can create multiple images of your source drive to the destination drive easily. Their sizes are comparatively smaller than their actual size. Moreover, by using image you need not to copy everything each time, instead you have a choice to select only damaged or lost files/folders or anything of your choice.
The difference between imaging and cloning; Image you cannot create an entire system rather you can restore the data which you have lost or which has become inaccessible while the clone is ready to use as it’s a copy of your entire hard drive. Therefore, we can say that image can restore only data of our hard drive or volume but clone can restore entire system. By now it must be clear to you where to use clone and where to use image. However, most third-party Mac cloning software has can perform both functions.
One of the award winning and reliable software for the same is Stellar Drive Clone. The software provides you the feature to clone your hard drive or logical volumes, create image of entire Mac hard drive or any volume, and feature to restore volume from image file or folder. The software supports latest Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.