What's the difference between cloning my hard drive and backing up?

Episode 985 (1:51:15)

Richard from Lake Forest, CA

Richard wants to know about cloning his hard drive. He backs up religiously, but his concern is that it doesn't back up his computer's setup the way he wants it. Leo says that's exactly what cloning is for. He doesn't have to clone all of his data, though. A disc imaging program is part of an overall backup strategy, but he can focus on how the computer is configured. It'll clone everything, including data, so he could partition the drive or put his actual data on a separate drive. Then he can clone one partition or drive and skip the data, which he would have backed up elsewhere. There are a few options for this:

He should remember that when he recovers that image, it'll need to be updated and re-imaged. He doesn't need to clone the drive all the time, though, just after major changes.