1540: Difference between Backup and Disk Clone

Also read in:

use Google Translate

Operating Systems: 

Last update: 27-02-2019

Explanation of the difference between creating a backup and disk cloning


The Backup operation of Acronis software creates an image file for backup and disaster recovery purposes, while the Disk Clone tool simply copies/moves the entire contents of one hard disk drive to another. Here's how both tools work and when you should use them.

When you create an backup with Acronis True Image or Acronis Backup, you get a compressed .tib file containing an exact copy of your hard disk, a disk partition or individual files or folders (you make this choice when you create an image archive).

If you create a backup of disk or partition, this backup contains everything that resides on the selected disk/partition, including operating system, applications and all files and folders. You can save this image to any supported storage device and use it as a backup or for disaster recovery purposes.

When you use the Disk Clone tool, you copy all contents of one hard disk drive onto another hard disk drive: as a result, both the source and the target disk have the same data. This function allows you to transfer all the information (including the operating system and installed programs) from a small hard disk drive to a large one without having to reinstall and reconfigure all of your software. Disk Clone operation it is not generally used as a backup strategy, as it offers little flexibility.

In general, disk clone is a one time operation designed to clone one disk to a different one for the purpose of migrating to a larger hard drive or to a new machine.

A backup operation offers greater flexibility as a backup strategy:

  • Backup can be scheduled (e.g. regular automatic backups that require no user interaction);
  • Backup changes can be appended incrementally or differentially (i.e. after a full backup, subsequent backups will take less time and occupy less space than the first one);
  • Backups allow you to keep several versions of the backed up data and you can restore to one of the previous versions (e.g. you can keep backups from one, two and three weeks ago on the same disk and you can recover the backup from the moment that you need);
  • Backup can be mounted and searched through (e.g. if you want to quickly find, view and copy a file from it).

Either way (backup and recovery of the entire disk or disk clone) you can transfer the whole operating system and installed programs to a new disk.

More information

See also: