Clonezilla is a computer program designed for use in copying or cloning a hard drive or similar data storage device for easy restoration of a crashed system. This program is similar to a number of other computer programs that can achieve similar results, but it is a freeware program that is free to use and open source. There are two versions of the program: a primary program that is easy to use on a single machine and a server edition that is intended for use on multiple machines at once over a server. Clonezilla was developed by the National Center for High-Performance Computing in Taiwan.
The general purpose of Clonezilla, and other similar programs, is to allow a disc drive or partition on a drive to be cloned or copied. This allows fast and efficient data backup, though the real strength of this type of cloning program is in its usefulness in data disaster recovery. If someone is using a computer with a hard drive and part of the drive becomes corrupted or the computer dies, it can potentially be quite difficult to retrieve data off of the drive. A clone program such as Clonezilla makes this process easier by creating a clone of the entire partition or hard drive on a second device.
Clonezilla can be run on a computer through standard program methods, or it can be used through a secondary device such as a compact disc (CD) or even a universal serial bus (USB) port flash drive. This means that if a computer cannot start up properly, one of these secondary methods can potentially be used to initialize the program and access the data by cloning a drive in the computer. Clonezilla can therefore be downloaded before a problem occurs and kept on a disc or flash drive as an emergency tool in case of critical failure or other computer issues.
One of the greatest strengths of Clonezilla is in its availability as open source freeware for anyone to download and use. This is in stark contrast to similar cloning programs that can be quite expensive and typically require license fees for use on multiple machines. The server edition of Clonezilla can be used on several dozen or more computers at once. This is ideal for a system in which multiple computers are running on a server together, such as through a network, and in which cloning needs to occur across the entire system.