Why do you need a disk image?
A disk image is a copy of a disk volume or an entire storage device, such as a hard disk drive, an SSD, or a USB drive. It contains the contents and structure of the source medium. There are two ways in which a disk image can be created: backup a hard drive or clone a hard drive. You will get a compressed image file if you choose “backup” and an exact, uncompressed replica if you pick “clone”.
A disk image will help you a lot in following situations:
Recover from a disaster. Computer errors like hard drive failure, boot failure and system crash happen now and then. With a disk image at hand, you can fix the issues easily and you won’t worry about data loss.
Upgrade a hard drive. You can replace HDD with SSD on your computer or upgrade smaller drive to larger drive by transferring disk image to a new hard drive.
Then, how to create a disk image in Windows? It would be like a piece of cake if you choose the right disk imaging software.
Best free disk imaging software - AOMEI Backupper
AOMEI Backupper Standard, the best free disk imaging software for Windows 7/8/10/11, can help you create a disk image without effort. It offers you all-around backup solutions as well as the clone feature.
With the Disk Backup function, you can create a disk image for the source disk on another place and restore from the image when the original disk runs into troubles.
With the Disk Clone feature, you can get a duplicate of the source disk on another disk, and the destination disk can be directly put into use without the restoration process.
Almost all storage devices recognized by Windows are supported by AOMEI Backupper, including IDE, SATA, SCSI, SSD, and USB flash drives.
Just get free hard drive cloning software download and follow the instructions below to image a hard drive in Windows 7. Apply to Windows 11/10/8.1/8/Vista/XP as well.
How to image a hard drive in Windows 7, 8, 10, 11 efficiently
I’ll show you two efficient solutions as follows:
Solution 1: Create a disk image by disk backup
- Install and launch AOMEI Backupper. Click Backup on the left pane and then select Disk Backup.
- Name the task so that you can distinguish it from other backup tasks. Click Add Disk to select the disk you want to backup.
- Select a destination path to store the image file. You can save the image on another disk, network location, or NAS device.
- Click on the Start Backup button and wait for the process to complete.
>> Options: you can enable email notification, choose the compression level for the backup image file and select intelligent sector backup or sector-by-sector backup, etc
>> Schedule Backup: you can set the backup task to run automatically at fixed intervals.
>> Backup Scheme: you can choose backup methods here - full backup, incremental and differential backup. It can also delete old image files automatically to save disk space for you. You need to upgrade to a higher edition to enjoy this feature.
✎ Note: After creating a disk backup image, you can use this software to create a recovery environment (paid feature) to add the "Enter into AOMEI Backupper" option to the system boot menu page. Then you can easily perform system backup restore or other backup restore operations when the system crashes.
Solution 2: Create a disk replica by disk clone
First, connect another disk to your computer and make sure it is detected. Then, backup files on the destination disk because it will be overwritten during the cloning process. Now you can follow the steps below:
- Run AOMEI Backupper. Click Clone on the left pane and select Disk Clone.
✎ Note: The Standard edition only supports cloning non-system disks. If you want to clone a disk containing OS, please upgrade to higher editions such as AOMEI Backupper Professional.
- Select the disk you want to clone as the source disk and click Next.
- Select the destination disk you have connected to your computer and click Next.
- Confirm the operation and click Start Clone.
>> Edit Partitions: you can resize partitions on the destination disk as per your need. "Add unused space to all partitions" and "Manually adjust partition size" are advanced features.
>> SSD Alignment: use this option to improve the reading and writing speed of the destination disk if it is an SSD.
>> Sector by sector clone: it enables you to clone every sector on the source disk whether it is used or not. It requires the destination disk to be equal to or larger than the source disk.
If you want to image a hard drive, you can turn to the best free disk imaging software for Windows 7/8/10/11—AOMEI Backupper. It offers you two efficient solutions to image a hard disk: Disk Backup and Disk Clone. In addition to these features, it owns the sync feature that enables you to sync a laptop and a desktop. Try it now to discover more!