Cloning USB Drives for Student Activities

There are many reasons to use USB drives during cyber training. You can use them to distribute student activities or produce student handout materials.  In the class that I currently teach we use 6 different pre-configured USB drives during student exercises and in-class demonstrations. Typically students will alter the contents of the USB drives as part of the activity therefore after use, the drives have to be prepared for the next class iteration.

I have tried various techniques for cloning batches of USB drives, including using the EnCase image restore function – this works well if you have the software. I do like the built-in image file compression capabilities, however it is somewhat tedious for cloning several drives concurrently and EnCase’s user interface can be clunky for non-technician users

I have settled on using PassMark Software’s ( free ImageUSB tool.  ImageUSB is a simple, easy to use USB drive cloning program.

The typical use-case is:

  • Create a physical USB drive in your preferred configuration designated as the Master copy.
  • Use the ImageUSB program to “Create Image from USB drive”, this creates an image file of the Master USB drive on to your local file system
  • When you’re ready to clone drives, mount as many destination drives as your system can support and choose “Write image to USB drive”(s).

PassMark website says you can copy up to 50 drives at once, yet they have not tried that many at once.  My system can only support 7 drives at once.

Image USB Screen Shot:


You can download ImageUSB for free at PassMark’s website on their product page

One word of caution: Make sure you have the correct destination drives selected. Once, when I was cloning drives, doing 3 other things at the same time, I almost overwrote my USB-attached backup Buffalo hard drive with a 1GB USB flash drive image.





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