What is a RAW Disk Image?
A disk image file (or simply a disk image) is an exact bit-for-bit copy
of an entire hard disk. Disk image files contain all of the data stored
on the source drive including not only its files and folders but also its
boot sector, file allocation tables or MFT (if applicable), volume attributes,
directory forks, free space, and slack space. A disk image is not a collection
of files or folders but is an exact duplicate of the raw data of the original
disk, sector by sector, in the form of a file.
On the destination disk, the disk image is stored as an ordinary file on
a UNIX operating system. Datarecovery.com stores disk images with the extension ".dsk"
Disk images are an integral part of the Unix operating system. With Uinux,
you can mount a disk image file and use it as a virtual drive.
Since disk images contain the raw disk data, it is possible to create an
image of a disk, even if it is written in an unknown format or even under
an unknown operating system. This is what makes it so useful when it comes
to RAID arrays. No format exists on a RAID array disk, since it is just
a piece of a larger volume.
Creating a disk images is a great way to back up your hard disk, as all
settings, files, operating system, ect will be retained. One Windows-based
program that does this Winhex,
created by Stefan Fleischmann.
Disk images are also an integral part of the Unix operating system. With
Linux, you can 'mount' a disk image file and use it as a virtual drive.