Dolly (Digital Dolly)

Dolly, also called Digital Dolly, is a program that can quickly clone (copy) drives to drives, drives to files, files to drives, or files to files. It is similar to the Symantec product known as Ghost. Dolly can also clone entire disk partitions in block-wise fashion. Dolly can be used to clone the operating system of a computer to numerous others.

When Dolly is used in a network, the server (or other designated computer called the master) sends data to one or more client machines. The clients store the data on their hard drives. A server can clone data to all the clients in a network. Alternatively, clients can send the data to other clients, and the process can continue until the data has been cloned to as many machines as desired. Dolly can be used to back up or restore hard drive partitions, as well as to back up, restore, or archive data. Dolly can be run from a bootable CD-ROM in the event of corruption of the original data on the hard drive.

Dolly is named for a famous sheep of the same name, the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. Dolly the sheep was born in 1996 at the Roslin Institute in Scotland and died just six years later. Her short life-span, possibly a result of the process, reinvigorated debate into the ethics of cloning.

This was last updated in December 2005

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