What is a Disk Image

A disk image is a copy of the entire contents of a storage device. The storage device can be a hard disk drive, a DVD or a CD. Disk image also contains the file structure and contents of a storage device. The disk image represents the content exactly as it is on the original storage device, including both data and structure information. Disk images are frequently used to create exact duplicates of volumes.

Disk Image is especially useful for producing boot disks and software installation media. On some systems it is even possible to mount a disk image and the contents can be accessed as if it were a normal volume. It can also contain a complete set of the software components (such as the operating system and the applications) that run on the machine. A disk image is a building block that enables the creation of a virtualized environment. A disk image of a hard drive may be saved as a virtual hard disk.

Disk images can be compressed to save space, or uncompressed. A compressed disk image saves room by using an algorithm that amounts to digital shorthand. When a compressed disk image is restored, the restore process includes expanding the shorthand to the original state as it is transferred to the new storage device.

The optical disc image can also be used for the purpose of the image storing as well and for that purpose the user needs to have the image to be stored in the form of the optical disk nature. The images or data stored on the disk image can be easily accessed by the user. The creation of the disk image is not simple. For this the user needs to go through certain steps. The user must make sure that the disk image is being created with the help of the sector by sector or step by step approach of the copying medium for different sources. After the disk had been copied it entirely depends upon the user that he wants to change the contents which are being contained on the computer.

Some of the uses of disk images include:

Burning CDs and DVDs. System backup. Disk cloning. Computer forensics. Data recovery. Distribution of operating systems (by making bootable disks).

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