|The confusion isn't due to terms but clarification of process.|
Imaging and cloning mean the same thing but there are different processes. In an attempt to bypass vocabulary I am going to use the word mirror instead.
For example concerning processes:
You can mirror a partition to a file or another partition
You can mirror a drive to a file or another drive
There is also the aspect you refer to as [recovering] restoring a file. This only applies when using a image as a backup.
The difference between what you are doing is simple. You are mirroring to a local drive. If the drive was not local you would mirror to a file and then transport/restore that file on a different system and different disk.
Be aware you will have data loss if the main drive fails since your disk mirror won't capture data that has changed since you last did your mirror.
One of the reasons I used the word mirroring is that is what you are doing...manually. Suggest you consider a hardware solution instead. That hardware solution is called Raid [requires a raid controller] and the level of raid would be raid1 [mirroring]. It is far more responsive [takes over immediately upon main drive failure], requires no user response. It is even better when a hot spare is also configured so you automatically get back to having a mirrored drive array again with no user intervention.
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