Creating a disk image means taking all the data contained in a hard disk or floppy disk and storing them in a single file defined, precisely, an image.
This practice allows you to "photograph" the status of a disc, a DVD or any other data storage device at a given time and keep a backup copy, which can be used later to restore individual files or to make a “Cloning” of the original drive on other media (eg from hard disk to hard disk or from CD to CD).
With today's guide, we'll find out together how to create disk imagestarting from a hard disk or optical media (such as CD, DVD and Blu-Ray) using some software that can be found free online or that are even included "standard" in the operating systems installed on our computers. It's all much simpler than you imagine, I assure you.
How to Create an Image of a Hard Disk
Let's start this guide on creating image files starting from hard disks: if you want create the disk image of a hard disk, use one of the solutions listed below and you definitely won't regret it!
EaseUS All Backup (Windows / MacOS)
EaseUS Todo Backup is one of the best software to create images of entire disks or partitions. It is highly intuitive and fully supports the latest computers, including latest generation (UEFI) BIOS. Up Windows is available in two versions: one free and one paid (27 euros), which in addition offers the possibility to transfer the cloned system to a different PC, to receive email notifications before and after the backups, to exclude files from backup and much more. Both versions are intended for home users: dedicated versions of the software are available for professional users with prices starting from 36 euros. Up MacOS only a paid version of EaseUS Todo Backup is available (€ 28,90), which you can try for free for 30 days. That said, let's take action.
To download the free version of EaseUS Todo Backup, connect to the program's website and, if you use Windows, click on the button first Free / Home users e poi quello Scarica free. Then fill out the form that is proposed to you with your email address and first click on the button Try All Backup Free and then Download to proceed with the application download. If you use a Poppyinstead, click directly on the item Free trial located under the button Mac users.
To download completed, a PC Windows, launch the EaseUS Todo Backup installation package (tb_free.exe) and, in the window that opens, click the button first Yes and then OK, forward, Accept, yet forward three consecutive times e end to install the program.
If you use a PoppyInstead, open the dmg package you downloaded, drag EaseUS Todo Backup in the folder Applications macOS and start the program by double clicking on its icon and then on the button apri (the latter operation is only necessary at the first start, to bypass macOS restrictions on software from non-certified developers).
Once EaseUS Todo Backup is launched, if you use Windows, refuse the switch to the paid version of the software, click on the ☰ button located at the top left and select the item Disk / partition backup from the menu that compares di lato.
Then select the disk or partition to clone, click on the button Shop by Department to choose the destination disk of the image to create and presses the button Proceed to start the data transfer. If you want, by clicking on the button Backup options (bottom left) you can adjust advanced backup settings, such as data compression level, encryption, and data transfer rate limits.
I use a Poppy? In this case, to use EaseUS Todo Backup, you need to select the tab Backup from the top bar and then you have to click on the button [+] located at the bottom left. Then give your backup a name, give Submit e seleziona l'opzione Disk Image from the drop-down menu Backup destination.
At this point, select the disk and the destination folder of your backup from the adjacent drop-down menu and click on the button OK. Once this is done, click on the button + File positioned at the bottom of the EaseUS Todo Backup window, select the disk or partition to create the image (ex. Macintosh HD for the internal Mac disk) and click on the ▶ ︎ button to start copying the data.
If you want to create a complete image of a hard disk including data, operating system and programs, I recommend that you also consider the Clonezilla software, which is free, open source and, above all, very reliable.
It acts outside the operating system, in fact it must be downloaded, copied to a USB key and started instead of Windows. To be honest it is not very easy to use, at least at first glance, but I guarantee you that with my help you will learn how to "handle" it in no time. Ready to get started?
Good. To download Clonezilla on your computer, connected to its official website, select the item ISO give menu to tendin Select file type e pulsing sul pulsating Download. You will get an ISO file (an image file!) Which you will have to “install” onto a USB stick using another free program.
The software in question is called Tuxboot and you can download it easily by connecting to its website and clicking on the item first Files on SourceForge and then 0.8, Windows e tuxboot–0.8.3.exe.
Once the download is complete, start the program tuxboot–0.8.3.exe, metti il segno di spunta accanto alla voce Pre-Downloadedclick on your button [...] and select the Clonezilla ISO image. Then indicate the drive of the USB stick in the drop-down menu Drive and presses the button OK to start copying the program to the stick.
When done, restart your PC and boot from the USB stick. In case the operation fails, try to enter the BIOS settings, configure the USB port as the primary boot drive and, if you have a modern UEFI-based PC, disable the function Secure Boot: find all the information on how to proceed in my tutorial on how to enter the BIOS.
When booted, when the Clonezilla home screen appears, select the item Clonezilla live and press the button Submit on the PC keyboard. The language selection menu will then open: choose the option Italian | Italiani went his Keeps the default keyboard layout and select the item Start_Clonezilla - Starting Clonezilla to start the disk “cloning” wizard.
At this point, choose your options device-image e local_dev, press the button Submit and select the drive on which to save the disk image. Then select the directory where to save the image file and choose the items Beginner e savediskfrom the screens that open.
Finally, set the name to assign to your backup image, select thehard drive to copy, press Submit four consecutive times and respond to all the warnings that appear by typing the letter y (yes) and pressing the key Submiton the keyboard.
For more information on this procedure (and on that of data recovery) you can consult my guide on how to clone a hard disk with an operating system in which I have explained to you in an even more detailed way the operation of the solutions mentioned above.
Carbon Copy Cloner (macOS)
I use a Poppy? Then you can also turn to the software Carbon Copy Cloner which allows you to copy the contents of a hard disk to another drive or to an image file. It costs € 36,45, but you can try it for free for 30 days.
To download the trial version of Carbon Copy Cloner, connect to the official website of the program and click on the button Download 30-Day Trial. Then open thezip archive downloaded, drag Carbon Copy Cloner to the folder Applications macOS and launch it, double-clicking its icon and responding apri the warning that appears on the screen (this last operation is only necessary at the first start).
Now, answer in the affirmative to the request for activation of the automatic updatesclick on your button Test, wait 3 seconds and proceed with the creation of your disk image. Then click on the button Select source and select the disk (or partition) of which you want to create the image, then press the button Select destination and select the item New disk image to choose where to save the disk image.
Finally, click on the button Clone (bottom right), type your Mac admin password and the data copy will start. If you want, you can get a broader idea of how to use Carbon Copy Cloner and other similar solutions by reading my tutorial on how to clone hard drive on Mac.
How to Create a CD / DVD / Blu-Ray Image
Let's move on to the second part of this guide on how to create disk imagetalking about CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs and some programs that allow you to achieve this on Windows and macOS.
If you want to transfer the contents of your disks into a single file and you use a Windows PC, you can use ImgBurn which is completely free and supports all optical media.
To download it to your PC, connect to its official website and click on the item first Mirror x – Provided by MajorGeeks and then [email protected]. Then open the installation package SetupImgBurn_x.x.exe and click on the buttons Yes e Next.
Accetta quindi the conditions of use of the program, meeting the segno di spunta accanto alla voce I accept the terms of the License Agreement, and click in sequence on the buttons Next (for 6 consecutive times),Yes e Close to conclude the setup.
Warning: You may be asked to download some additional promotional software, such as Ad-Aware e Skype. Reject everything by putting the check mark next to the items Custom installation e I do not agree and deselecting the rest.
Now you have to translate the ImgBurn interface, which is normally in English, into Italian. So download the translation file (italian.lng) And copy it into the folder Computer> C:> Program Files (x86)> ImgBurn> Languages.
When the operation is complete, start ImgBurn and select the item Create a disk image from the window that opens. Then click on gialla poster, set the name and format in which to create the image file (ISO a BIN o I'M G) and start copying the data by pressing onicon with two CDs located at the bottom left.
Utility Disco (macOS)
If you use a Poppy, you can create a CD, DVD and Blu-Ray image file using the application Disk Utility, which is included “standard” in all editions of macOS. To proceed, start Disk Utility using its icon in the folder Other . Launchpad (or by searching for it with Spotlight), right click on the name of the CD / DVD / Blu-Ray in the left sidebar and select the item Image from [disk name] give the menu answer.
In the window that opens, set the options master CD / DVD e none in drop-down menus Format e Encode, use the menu located in to choose the destination folder of the image file and click on the button Save to start creating the latter.
At the end of the procedure, you will get a file in CDR format and not in ISO format. To get an ISO format file, start the terminal (also found in the folder Other . Launchpad) and give the following command: sudo hdiutil makehybrid -iso -joliet -o [ISO] [CDR], where instead of [ISO] you must enter the full path of the ISO file to be obtained and instead of [CDR] you must enter the full path and name of the source CDR file. In order not to type the path "manually", you can also drag the CDR file into the Terminal.
If you need to, know that you can find more information on how ImgBurn and Disk Utility work in my previous tutorial on how to create ISO images.