Windows: Clone, Copy, Resize and Partition Hard Drives
Partition Manager, Backup & Disk Utilities, Data Recovery
I am looking for a reliable and completely free disk cloning software that I can use for a long time. Furthermore, it would be great if it is good for analyzing and repairing partitions, not just for Windows partition types but also for Linux and other “strange” types.
DiskGenius, I love it!
Of all the ones I have tried, DiskGenius is by far the best. It can be found on
scoop and it is truly free for all the options I need, while the pro version is much more advanced - although I don’t know what more they can improve.
- With DiskGenius, Clone is called “OS Migration” or “System Migration”, but it also does more than just cloning
- When cloning a disk, it ensures that the target disk is bootable
- When cloning, it can do “Hot Cloning”, meaning it can be done without shutting down Windows, but it also has the option to reboot into a “WinPE environment”
- It can do “OS Migration” to from larger source to smaller destination disk
- When cloning, you have precise control over the size of each partition
I haven’t tried the Recovery features, but they look quite interesting.
I understand now why Diskgenius is such a powerful tool: Eassos is a company based in China.
Types of partitions in contemporary Windows OS-es
On contemporary computers with UEFI BIOS (in reality, the term UEFI should be used instead of BIOS, but I will refer to it as UEFI BIOS and Legacy BIOS), the first partition is always EFI as it must occupy the 0th block for booting.
UEFI has become the standard today for several reasons, but the most important one is that the MBR which BIOS uses has a limit of 2.2 TB, whereas UEFI has a limit of 9.4 ZB (zettabytes) as it uses GPT (GUID Partition Table) instead of MBR.
1. EFI System Partition (ESP)
The EFI System Partition (ESP) is necessary for booting a computer with UEFI BIOS. It must be at least 100MB in size, formatted in FAT32 and it is usually 150MB. It also provides backward compatibility by reserving the first sector for legacy systems. Without it, the computer won’t be able to boot into Windows and it is usualy protected to prevent accidental deletion.
More on ESP Wikipedia: EFI System Partition
2. Microsoft System Reserved (MSR) Partition
In Windows, MSR should be 16MB in size but at my disks, it was mostly 128 MB. It is a reserved partition used by Windows partitioning tools, it does not receive a partition ID and cannot store user data. It is not recommended deleting MSR as it could break your system, but I believe it can be done without any huge negative consequences, especially on non-primary disks.
3. Main partition
The primary partition labeled as “C:” is typically the partition that contains the operating system and other system files. It is considered the “main” partition because it is where the operating system is installed and where the computer boots from.
4. DELLSUPPORT partition
The DELLSUPPORT partition is likely a recovery partition created by Dell on my drive. It contains the manufacturer bloatware used to restore computer to its original factory settings.
5. IMAGE partition of 20 Gigs in size
On a Dell laptop, the “image” partition is likely used for the same purpose as a DELLSUPPORT partition, which is to provide a means of restoring the laptop to its original factory settings in the event of a problem or malfunction. The image partition contains a copy of the operating system and other software that came pre-installed on the laptop.
OEM partitions do not always come after the user partitions on a disk and the location of an OEM partition on a hard drive can vary depending on the manufacturer’s implementation.
The information I have given you thus far, presented in a more comprehensive and eloquent manner, can be found at the provided link here.