Linux users are familiar with the DD command that can copy raw contents of any drive easily to any other drive or to an image file. This tool is used so often to make clones of drives or make backup image files of your drives. Now Windows users can also use a Windows port of DD to make a backup of any USB drive attached to your Windows PC. It is a fast and very efficient process.
If you want to make an image of your USB drive, then you can use the DD for Windows in the following manner:
- First of all download DD for Windows from http://www.chrysocome.net/dd. It is available in form of a ZIP archive that you can extract in any folder, for example, D:\DD\. After this, you will have a file dd.exe inside that folder.
- Attach the USB drive to your Windows PC. It should be detected by your Windows PC and appear in Windows File Explorer. In our case, the USB drive appeared as F: drive.
- Open a cmd.exe shell by pressing Win+R, typing cmd.exe and pressing Enter.
- In the command prompt window that appears, give the following command :
d:\dd\dd.exe if=\\.\f: of=d:\dd\usb.img bs=1M --progress
- Depending on the capacity of the USB drive, it may take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours to finish creating the image file.
As you can see, these drive letters and paths could be different on your PC. You have to change only three things in the above mentioned command – the path of the dd.exe command, the drive letter of the source USB drive and the destination image file path.
Using this command we can even create the raw image for broken or failing USB flash drives. You can create the raw image and load it in a virtualization software such as Oracle Virtual Box or VMware.