I have XP with MCE 2005, a 320gig SATA HD partitioned 80 for System, programmes etc and 280 for Documents etc, both NTFS +15 gig Fat32 (not sure what that does!) . I also have a same sized SATA second HD in a removable caddy, and an external 500 gig NTFS drive. About once a week I use Acronis True Image 11 and clone the master disc to the slave, after doing a virus and antispyware check and a defrag. Also I do a backup to the external drive. I am not sure of the difference between cloning and back up. Can anyone help?
Cloning: Is copying sector by sector from one object to another, in the process totally destroying the contents of the target object. I use the term object because cloning can happen at the disk or partition level. For a lot of people with their disks partitioned into one partition, it doesn't really matter. However, there are packages that will clone at the partition level. The nice thing about cloning is that the resultant object is immediately useful. In the case of disk cloning, one can replace the source disk with the target disk and the system will work. Some packages call this imaging. One can also grab copies of files that have been deleted or destroyed.
Imaging: Is copying sector by sector an object (disk or partition) to a file on the target object (usually a file within a partition within a disk). Or, it can be onto tape. In this case data on the target object is usually not destroyed (except for tape, there are some tape archivers however that can add onto an existing tape). The advantage here is that usually with compression, multiple copies can be made to the target object. And, not everything has to be copied each time (i.e. incremental backups). One can also recover lost or damaged files, and sometimes one has a choice of which one to restore. The disadvantage is that in recovery one must do something to convert the image back to something bootable. Most packages provide that something, ranging from the simple to the complex. And, many packages use the term cloning when they mean imaging and imaging when they mean cloning.
If you just create a Acronis Image of the C:\ Drive it copies the Partition and all your software, In effect a clone so that it can be restored if you have problems on the drive. Or you can put it on a new disc to boot from, if the old one dies