There is little that rivals the mystique of disk imaging. If you perform an internet search of the term “disk imaging,” you’ll find that though imaging products may be large in number, there is very little information available on how they work.
Is it the fate, then, of PC users everywhere to remain in the dark, ceaselessly wondering just how products like Laplink DiskImage, Acronis True Image and Norton Ghost magically create images of their PC, which they may save for later restoration?
After scouring the internet and picking the brains of Laplink’s finest software engineers, this Laplink copywriter has put together an explanation of the disk imaging process and publishes it now, here on this very blog, to spread the purifying light of knowledge to the far reaches of the PC user community.
A disk image, as it turns out, is just that – an image of your hard drive. It is a single file containing the entire contents of a data storage device, such as a hard drive, optical drive, etc., ending in a .dmg, .iso, .cue, .bin or .img file extension. This file can be stored either a compressed state, to save space, or a “raw,” uncompressed state. Whether the file of a disk image is compressed, along with the size of the hard drive, determines how large the file will be. Images that appear as a separate hard drive to the computer are called virtual hard drives, and end in .vhd.