CloneZilla & GParted

Having bought a new hard disk a couple of weeks ago (after my 6 year old data drive turned up its toes!), I took the plunge and decided I’d clone my C: drive on my installation of 64-bit Vista.

Having looked around the internet for some free disk cloning tools, I eventually settled for CloneZilla Live.
See Wikipedia for a Comparison of disk cloning software.

If you’ve ever used the utility Ghost when it was a simple DOS-based utility, you’ll not have any problem using CloneZilla. Download the CloneZilla Live ISO, burn a CD, boot from it and follow the on-screen instructions – if you’re not sure, have a look at this crib sheet for how to clone one drive to another.

CloneZilla was simple to use, and cloned over 200GB of data in about an hour (not sure how long, I went away and left it).

Once I’d cloned the drive and booted up Vista, there were no issues – Vista didn’t even complain that I’d changed the hardware because CloneZilla also cloned the GUID of the drive.

Another useful tool I found was GParted – after I’d cloned the drive, I decided I wanted to extend the C: drive by another 50GB (if I’d planned it better, CloneZilla would have done this for me when I did the original disk clone).

GParted is another Live CD – so you download the ISO, burn the CD, boot the CD etc. It runs up X-Windows, so you get a full graphical interface to alter the partitions on your drive. It did this quite quickly and on rebooting into Vista I have had no issues.

Two great open source utilities that do the basics that most ordinary people need – without the expense of their commercial counterparts.

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