Types of cloning

As the hard drive of your Mac machine contains many precious data in it, it is important to implement security measures against hard drive failure and other data loss instances. Cloning is the most effective data backup method that helps in keeping a second copy of data safe. With the cloning operation, you can create an exact clone of the source media, which allows continuing on-going important work, even if there is failure of the original media. There are various methods of drive cloning available, among which two methods are mostly used, such as File-level cloning and Block-level cloning.

Many expert Mac users, who know about the cloning mechanisms in detail even get confuse over these two drive cloning methods. Below descriptions will give them a clear picture about the two methods of cloning used in Mac cloning utilities:

File-level cloning

In case of file-level cloning, the cloning utilities copy data from the source drive by one file after another, irrespective of the location of data on the media. File-level cloning first learns the logical file structure of the source drive and then builds the data structure of the new drive. With file-level cloning, the same directory structure and attributes (ownership, permissions etc.) are maintained in the destination drive.


There are two methods to access the recovery mode of Recovery HD.

  • Synchronizes source drive to cloned drive – Allows updating the cloned copy in minutes
  • Defrags while cloning – Saves files in contiguous locations in the destination drive


  • Clones one volume at-a-time – Fails to copy Boot Camp partitions and other secondary data partitions on a boot drive to the cloned drive.
  • Slow cloning speed – Generates huge computing overhead, which makes the cloning time more, especially if the source drive is full.

Block-level cloning

Block-level of cloning is performed by copying data from the destination hard drive to the cloned disk block wise. In case of block-level cloning, the cloning utilities bypass the general interpretation if logical file system and copy the layouts as well as the data content of the blocks in their original order. This cloning scheme also maintains the exact data, partition scheme, and format as the source drive.


  • Allows recovering lost files: This cloning technique copies everything, including data as w
  • Faster cloning speed: It picks data block by block, regardless of the data it contains and is faster than file-level cloning.


  • No facility of data defrag: Copies data blocks as they are in the source drive and thus no scope of defragmentation like file-level cloning.

However you can try Stellar Drive Clone software which can clone both file level as well as block level cloning. The software is read only and can clone your hard drive as well as volume.

* Download Free Demo version to check Cloning, Imaging, Restore, Backup features. Register the software to use its full features.