If your replacing your main Hard drive or you simply want to back the whole thing up you can and its pretty easy to do. So what is cloning a hard drive? That is simply making a total copy of it onto another hard drive (for a back up). So why can't you just simply cut and paste it into the new hard drive? Well its simply not that easy, you can do that for some folders but not for all of them.
Cloning a hard drive is not that hard. There are a few programs out there. I use (and its FREE) Seagate DiscWizard Its also good for partitioning a hard drive and easy to use - just follow the instructions. I know that STaRDoGG uses True Image, his is not free but you can check out their trial offer.
Now in order to clone the hard drives you need to hook them up to the same computer. If your doing this on a laptop you might have room for a second hard drive in it. Two of my laptops will take a second hard drive and my one laptop and netbook will not. If you can not install the second hard drive in your computer to clone it then you can use something like this: USB 2.0 to Sata adapter
That is a USB to Sata adapter. It simply will let you plug a second hard drive into the adapter and then plug that into your computer via USB port. When I cloned my netbook the other day so that I could install a larger hard drive in it I had to do that. Here is a picture of my adapter with my one hard drive plugged into it
Once you have the hard drives hooked up then cloning them is the easy part. There are many programs like the two I pointed to above. Basically pick one and then follow the instructions on the program. Like I said above I use Seagate DiscWizard and here is a screen shot of what it looks like when its cloning the hard drive
Cloning a hard drive can take a few hours. Its maybe 15 - 20 minutes to set it up then just let it run (if your like me go out to dinner then come back and its done).
***Note if you have a older hard drive then it might not be a Sata connection but a IDE connection