What is the best way to backup your hard drive? Simple, clone it, and if the worst ever happens you can connect up your clone drive and continue working. Drive cloning is not as easy as it sounds, at least not without specialist or expensive software, but here is a freebie program that promises to as good a job as its commercial rivals for one-off and occasional use.

It is called HDClone and it works with most common drives (IDE, SATA, and ATA) and can copy a drive is contents to another, larger drive at up to 300Mb/min. (For even higher transfer speeds and to copy to a smaller drive you will need one of the paid-for editions). HDClone doesnt know or care about partitions or filing systems, it simply copies everything from one drive to another. This can be quite a tricky job and very difficult to do when Windows is running that is the province of the commercial programs but it gets around it by creating a bootable floppy and carries out the cloning operation using its own independent operating system. If you want to make a one-off backup for emergencies or maybe migrate to another PC then check it out.