Imaging vs. Backup: Which to Use?

If you are confused about whether to choose disk imaging or backup software, you need to first understand the differences between the two. One question that comes up is if the terms “imaging” and “backup” are interchangeable. Well, they are not.

Although these terms are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably, the two types of software actually differ significantly. Backup software copies just your data, while disk imaging software makes a full, exact copy of your entire hard drive.  Thus, with imaging software, you get a perfect mirror of the PC. Certain software programs do include both functions, such as Laplink Software’s DiskImage.

Importance of Imaging

If you only have a backup of your data and you need to format your PC, you will have to reinstall your operating system and all your software. In addition, you will also need to restore the backup data on the hard disk and individually reset all your preferences.  Thus, solely backing up data is not sufficient if you want to easily keep the same personalization of your PC. To accomplish this, use imaging software to restore the exact copy of your hard drive to your PC, and your PC will be the same as it was previously.

Imaging can also be convenient if you want to upgrade the hardware. Restore the image of your old disk onto your new computer, and your new PC will then have the same setup as your old PC. If you chose to instead back up your PC and reinstall the software, it would take you much more time and effort because you would need to restore each part one by one.

Third, if you image your hard drive regularly, then in case of any system failure you will be able to easily restore your PC to the point before the failure. You can schedule the imaging process with the help of imaging software. Imaging routinely has two advantages – you don’t lose any data, and neither do you need to reinstall your system.

Importance of Backup

Creating a backup of your PC also has some benefits. For starters, when you upgrade your computer’s operating system, taking a precautionary backup of your data is a good option.

Also, if you frequently revise files and create new files on your PC, taking a backup of the data at regular intervals is more important than creating a new image each time. This way, you can take a backup of only the files that have changed since the last backup, which will take less time and use less storage space than imaging each time.

Therefore, it is up to you to decide if you want to use imaging or backup software. If you want to avoid reinstalling your programs, use imaging. If you want to copy data and keep it safely, creating a backup is the best option.

For the most versatility, select software with combined imaging and backup functionality, such as Laplink DiskImage.  With DiskImage, you can choose which functionality to use based on your specific needs in each situation.

DiskImage product box