How to Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx

This method makes what is called an image copy of your existing hard drive on an extra hard drive, and it works for almost any operating system provided that the PC can also use 3.5 inch (8.9 cm) floppy disks.

An image is an exact memory copy of your PC rather than just a copy of its files. The PC can be run from the image hard drive should the original ever fail, or when a new hard drive is otherwise necessary. This means, provided that all of the installation, passwords, and application settings have already been done prior to making the copy , they need not be done again when the image hard drive is used.

This method is independent of a drive's contents. It runs from files on a floppy disc made by the Clonemaxx download. In addition, because it transfers data without much processor involvement, (DMA transfer), the cloning is reasonably fast.

Recent PCs do not use floppy drives and this software seems not to exist for DVD-drives. Fortunately, platforms like Windows 7 have built-in software that allows cloning (imaging) of a PC drive onto say, a usb-connected external hard drive .


  1. Image titled Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx Step 1
    Download the software PC Inspector Clonemaxx; it is a free download of only 750KB. Get your spare hard drive ready, and set its cross-connects so that it is the slave for the copying process.
  2. Image titled Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx Step 2
    Do not run the Clonemaxx file yet. Wait until both the old drive and the new drive are both in the PC.
  3. Image titled Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx Step 3
    Prepare the PC. Make sure that the PC is how you want it, with all of the installation of software done, virus-checked and defragged, ready to go, then Shut down the PC, and for safety, disconnect the power cord too.
  4. Image titled Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx Step 4
    Open up the PC case so that the new drive can be added. If you have spare data and power cables then use them to connect the new hard drive to the PCs motherboard. Do this in the same way that the old drive is connected. If you don't have spare cables or if there are no free connections on the motherboard for your new drive, then just temporarily take the cables from the back of the CD/DVD drive and connect them to your new hard drive. If using the CD/DVD cables, there is no need to remove the third, thinnest cable as this is for the sound card; it is just the power and data cables that are needed. Do not ever take cables from the floppy drive since you will need this for the data transfer.

    These images show the typical cables that connect to the new hard drive. Note that there are often extra power leads floating free within the case. (See Tips below on other cables).
  5. Image titled Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx Step 5
    Don't bother mounting the new drive into the case, but just lay it flat on the desk, or inside the PC. Ideally, use the packing that came with the drive to protect and insulate it. Otherwise, make sure that there is a soft insulating item, e.g., a magazine or plastic sheet under the drive to keep it clear of the circuitry and the metal of the case. Close the case.
  6. Image titled Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx Step 6
    Start up the PC again. At this stage it will become clear if any obvious cabling errors have occurred; if this is the case there will be errors shown, or a failure to start properly. Do not expect both drives to show up in Explorer or in other file lists at this stage. If there are obvious errors or strange messages, recheck the cabling task until the PC can open normally. Remember to work in the case with the power off.
  7. Image titled Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx Step 7
    When the PC has opened normally, then run the downloaded Clonemaxx.exe file. The 'exe' file will make a new boot floppy disk that will do all of the data transfer work.(If you have downloaded ISO file then burn it on a CD).
  8. Image titled Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx Step 8
    Restart the PC with the newly-made floppy disk in place OR with CD in CD drive, which you have burnt in last step (Note: Setup your bios to boot from cd on priority), and follow the instructions given by the program. After an appropriate time the program will advise that the copying between the discs is complete.
  9. Image titled Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx Step 9
    Test the new drive. Remove the cables from the back of the old drive and use them for the new drive, remembering to switch off first. Change the cross-connects to make the new drive the master. Close the case again, make sure the floppy is not still in the slot, and start the PC. The PC will open, using the new drive.
  10. Image titled Back up Any Hard Drive Using PC Inspector Clonemaxx Step 10
    Tidy up. Make permanent any parts undone for testing. If the sizes of the drives differ, it might be found best to keep the smaller of the two drives as the backup, since it will transfer more quickly when it is needed.


  • Spare power cables, (Molex), are usually available within the case. Any of them can be used.
  • IDE flat data cables are used to connect from drives to the motherboard, and these have a socket on each end. They are all the same and for this purpose, any of them will do.
  • Some flat cables have another socket connector midway along their length so that they can connect to both the master drive and a slave drive using the same cable. Some IDE ATA-133 cables of this type are round instead of flat, and are said to allow better air circulation in the cabinet.
  • SATA connectors differ from IDE and SATA types. Be sure to consider the cables carefully when you select the drive.
  • PC cases often look big enough but on closer inspection cannot fit two hard drives. If this is your intention, study the matter carefully.
  • Mounting screws are often missing from hard drives' packs. They are US style 6/32 screws, regardless of where in the world the drive is purchased, so get some while at the computer store.
  • A smaller source drive transfers its data faster than a large one, so if possible, use a drive no bigger than is needed for your backup source.
  • An old 10GB hard drive takes about twenty minutes for the data transfer. Plan for bigger drives appropriately.


  • Take special care to switch off the power before working within the PC case. Additionally, to avoid error, remove the power cord.
  • Data cable connectors are always tight, so try to avoid tugging the wiring when working them free. They need persistence, strong fingers, and occasionally the use of a thin blade.
  • The drive size needs to be at least as big as the old one.
  • Larger destination drives are OK but any extra capacity will not be recognized by your PC. Other commercial software products can allow use of the extra capacity.
  • A faster drive makes your PC go quicker, but browsers may seem slower with very large drives. The ideal drive for browsing on the net is one that is very fast but no bigger than is needed.
  • Protect the hard drive. When connecting the new drive, notice that one side has open wiring. Above all, make sure that this side is not damaged, and cannot contact the metal case or other circuitry. If possible, leave the drive in the box and foam packing that came with it, while it is cabled up. Otherwise, to insulate it, use a magazine, a paperback, or plastic bag between the drive and any flat surface.

Things You'll Need

  • The free software download, PC Inspector Clonemaxx
  • A hard drive, at least as big as the original.
  • A spare data connection, or a branched cable, new or borrowed.
  • Mounting screws for eventual use.
  • A floppy disc, and a floppy drive on your PC to put it in.

Article Info

Categories: Hardware Maintenance and Repair