By the end of this article, i will answer 3 questions. What is Clonezilla? Why would I use it? Is this product for me?
Clonezilla is a Linux based Cloning Software that runs of a live cd. Because it is a linux product, it falls under the GNU which makes it free for us. Inserting the cd before starting up the computer, then having the computer boot off the cd will start clonezilla. Clonezilla has multiple modes it can run in. Imaging, Cloning, or Burning the image. Can't say that is exactly what they call them, but those are pretty much the modes Clonezilla will ask you if you would like to run it in. Imaging mode is where you would copy the hard drive of your choice exactly the way it is, compress that file, and store the image file on another mediam(Cd, Dvd, External Hard drive).
Cloning is where you take a hard drive, and directly connect your computer to another hard drive that you would like to make into an exact copy of the one you have. This can allow you to quickly copy your hard drive, and swap it out with a new one without having to reload anything, and get right back to what you are doing.
Burning is the other side of imaging. You want to burn when you have a hard drive image that you want to put on a hard drive. I've used this several times to copy my hard drive that i had in my computer to an image on an external hard drive. Then i took the hard drive out of my computer(After turning it off of coarse...) and swapped in my new larger hard drive.
I then went back into clonezilla, and had it burn the image onto my new hard drive, which gave me back all of my old files, drivers, programs, and even settings. But if you are to put a larger hard drive in, you will probably also want to use Gparted, which is another free linux utility that allows you to expand the partitians on your hard drive so you can take advantage of that new space you have.
Clonezilla is very good about knowing the limitations of file formats and avoids running into problems by defaulting to break the image file up into 2 Gb files. FAT32 has a file size limitation of 4Gb's, which some people have their external hard drives set to.
Clonezilla is a very easy program to use, if you read the instructions as you are prompted. If you are like me, and try things out with occasional reading here and there, you are going to have a hard time with Clonezilla, and this product isn't for you. If you don't know what the C:/ is, then this product isn't for you. And if you don't have the patience to wait close to 4 hours for a 160 Gb hard drive, then this product isn't for you.
But if you didn't fall into those categories, and want the piece of mind that you can get your computer back to normal in hours even if the hard drive was to explode, get run over by a truck, and every horrible thing you can think of happened to your hard drive at once, then you should try Clonezilla.