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Cloning systems, disks and partitions


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Recommended Links Partimage Partclone  Cloning parition table on a new disk  Installing Suse from ISO image
Working with dd Images Working with ISO Images dd Clonezilla Disk Repartitioning Partclone Partimage
Disk Recovery Cloning parition table on a new disk Hard drives Failures ntfsclone File tree synchronization Moving non-critical partition such as /tmp or /home to a new disk Linux Tips
Prepare a RHEL host for cloning dd GNU ddrescue Disk Backup Admin Horror Stories Humor Etc

The traditional UNIX® backup programs are dump and restore. They operate on the drive as a collection of disk blocks, below the abstractions of files, links and directories that are created by the file systems. dump backs up an entire file system on a device. It is unable to backup only part of a file system or a directory tree that spans more than one file system. dump does not write files and directories to tape, but rather writes the raw data blocks that comprise files and directories.

Several programs can be used for a cloning a whole system on the disk

Following programs can be used to clone partitions:

In the days when the programs dump and restore were the preferred backup solution, many system administrators would take the filesystems offline (that is, unmount them) before backing up. There was a risk that dump would fail if a live filesystem were updated during the dump. This technique was possible because dump opened the raw device (such as /dev/hda1), and decoded the filesystem structure directly, rather than going through the usual system-call interface to access the directories and files. This technique won't work for tools like tar, which (like any other normal application) require a filesystem to be mounted before its contents can be accessed. There is a small risk that a file will end up corrupt on a tar archive if it happens to get updated while tar is in the middle of reading it. If this risk is not acceptable, one option is to bring the system down to single-user mode, so that the filesystems are quiescent.

If your filesystem is on a logical volume, another option is to take a snapshot of the volume, then archive the snapshot.You can create a new logical volume that contains a snapshot of this filesystem with the commands:

# modprobe dm-snapshot
# lvcreate 
 -L 512M -s -n ftpsnap /dev/system/ftp

Here, the modprobe command was necessary to load the device mapper snapshot module into the kernel (one of the few times I've found it necessary to load a module explicitly). The -s flag to lvcreate says to create a snapshot. The -n flag gives the snapshot logical volume a name (it will be created within the system volume group) and the final argument names the existing logical volume you want to take the snapshot of. After this, you have two logical volumes, like this:

# lvscan
  ACTIVE   Original '/dev/system/ftp' [512.00 MB] inherit
  ACTIVE   Snapshot '/dev/system/ftpsnap' [512.00 MB] inherit

Now you can mount the snapshot:

# mount /dev/system/ftpsnapshot /mnt

and use tar, for example, to safely archive the files from it.

Creating a snapshot logical volume does not just blindly copy the whole of the original volume into the snapshot—it's more intelligent than that. A snapshot contains only those blocks that differ from the original. As the original or the snapshot is written to, obviously the number of different blocks will grow.

Nothing can increase interest in this topic  more than a lost disk drive with data that does not have the most recent backup. Even if backup is just one week old,  one realizes that the important data you was working on for several hours (may you best hours of the week) and everything that  you had wrote is now gone forever.  That happened to me recently when my old Seagate drive just stopped rotating exactly a week after the backup and I did not have any daily backups at all. As Benjamin Franklin aptly noted "Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other."

You better take some steps to prevent this from happening again. Ever. Money are not a big question here as the cost of lost data often exceed price of good arching programs 100 times or more. You are not necessary locked in free/open source tools and you to find the best utility  suitable for you. This is not an easy task as much depends on your style of working.

In the simplest case all source files and documents are usually kept on small partition (4G usually suffice for most people). This partition can be copied to safe storage using three types of intervals (dally, weekly and monthly). Each period can use unique method, for example folder sync for dally, partition on the second drive for weekly and backup or DVD for monthly backups.

Do not expect harddrive last long: for laptops anybody who is using a drive that more then three years old is taking huge chances. If you data are valuable you better replace it with a new drive. See Slashdot Google Releases Paper on Disk Reliability.  See also SUNRISE  drive statistics - the article is in Russian, but drive related diagram are self-explanatory.

If you data are valuable and you keep them on a laptop it make sense proactively replace the harddrive each three years.  That actually makes laptop leases more attractive then they look otherwise :-)

Also all drive manufacturers have good years and bad years.  Still you need to monitor drive statistics and with first SMART report take appropriate measures:

Our results confirm the findings of previous smaller population studies that suggest that some of the SMART parameters are well-correlated with higher failure probabilities. We find, for example, that after their first scan error, drives are 39 times more likely to fail within 60 days than drives with no such errors. First errors in reallocations, offline reallocations, and probational counts are also strongly correlated to higher failure probabilities. Despite those strong correlations, we find that failure prediction models based on SMART parameters alone are likely to be severely limited in their prediction accuracy, given that a large fraction of our failed drives have shown no SMART error signals whatsoever. This result suggests that SMART models are more useful in predicting trends for large aggregate populations than for individual components. It also suggests that powerful predictive models need to make use of signals beyond those provided by SMART."

If we try to classify available methods we can come to the following raw but still usable classification:  

Image-based backup provides a mechanism that allows you to more completely recover a crashed system without having to spend time dealing with partitions, disk geometries, drive letter assignments, or drive formatting. The classic Unix utility for this purpose is dd.  An example operation using dd could be as simple as:

 dd if=/dev/rdsk/c0t3d0s0 of=/dev/rst0 bs=10k

for a straight image backup to the /dev/rst0 tape drive, or as elaborate as:

dd if=/dev/hda2 bs=10k count=1000 |gzip |tee /dev/rst0 \
  |sum >/etc/images/dd_image`date +%b`.sum 

To create the backup out of raw image you need to compress it with bzip2, rar or similar high performance archiver.

Old versions of Ghost  were DOS programs and required that you reboot your system into DOS using their respective boot diskettes to perform the actual backup operation. This creates an inconvenience as the shutdown for a server or workstation is slightly disruptive, you are assured that the image produced by these tools will be complete and stable. Newer version (Ghost 9 and 10) can do it in Windows. 

Since image-based backup only copies raw data, backups made using this method do not contain a direct catalog of files that can be used for the restoration of a single file. But that does not mean that restoring am image an all or nothing operation. Advanced utilities like Norton Ghost permit to mount a partition image as a logical drive and can recover a single file from within the image-based backup.

Also during restore Norton Ghost automatically adjust the restore process for disk parameters of the target disk, so within some reasonable range you can use a different disk for a target than you used for the backup. This feature is very convenient for disk upgrades. for example if you changed 20G drive to 40G drive on your laptop GHOST proportionally increases each partition so that they fill entire 40G. In this case you usually do not have any problems with installed applications.

Differences covered by Ghost and similar programs include a difference in the size, number of heads, number of tracks per cylinder, or even the numbers or size of the sectors in a given track.

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[Dec 04, 2013] Backup-Recovery - Cloning Hard Drives with GNU-Linux


It is quite easy to clone identical hard drives using the dd command on GNU/Linux. Make sure that you put the source drive and destination drive in the system so that they don't affect the boot. If you have a SCSI system, this is most likely done by making the SCSI IDs higher. With IDE, you probably need to put the drives in as secondaries on either channel, assuming your CD-ROM is the primary device on the second chain. On our system, we made the source ID 4 and the destination ID 6. Verify this using dmesg:

[root@srv-33 root]# dmesg | grep sd
Kernel command line: ro root=/dev/sda1 console=ttyS0 
Attached scsi disk sda at scsi0, channel 0, id 0, lun 0
Attached scsi disk sdb at scsi0, channel 0, id 4, lun 0
Attached scsi disk sdc at scsi0, channel 0, id 6, lun 0
SCSI device sda: 2069860 512-byte hdwr sectors (1060 MB)
sda: sda1 sda2
SCSI device sdb: 8388315 512-byte hdwr sectors (4295 MB)
sdb: sdb1 sdb2
SCSI device sdc: 8388315 512-byte hdwr sectors (4295 MB)
sdc: unknown partition table
EXT3 FS 2.4-0.9.19, 19 August 2002 on sd(8,1), internal journal
[root@srv-33 root]# 
Notice that with this copy method, we don't need to worry about partitions, boot sectors, etc. To copy sdb to sdc:
[root@srv-33 root]# dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sdc &
[1] 612
[root@srv-33 root]# 
The ampersand throws the task in the background. You may then copy to other destination drives if you wish. Again, this copies everything on the drive (REALLY!!), so you can image any operating system. One cheapie way to recover a server is to image the hard drive in this way. The SIDs (Windows) will be identical as well. You will be at the exact same state as the time of imaging. No worries about open files, as long as you shut down the OS properly on the drive first. This method is not suitable for cloning Windows (NT and above) workstations that will be up at the same time, unless you feel comfortable changing the SIDs, etc. Test this first in a non-production environment, and, oh yeah, read our terms of use.

[Nov 21, 2008] rsnapshot - Local-Remote Filesystem backups utility in openSUSE SUSE & openSUSE

Probably does not make much sense but Perl codebase might be reused.

Posted by admin on October 4th, 2008

rsnapshot is a filesystem backup utility based on rsync. Using rsnapshot, it is possible to take snapshots of your filesystems at different points in time. Using hard links, rsnapshot creates the illusion of multiple full backups, while only taking up the space of one full backup plus differences. When coupled with ssh, it is possible to take snapshots of remote filesystems as well.

rsnapshot is written in Perl, and depends on rsync. OpenSSH, GNU cp, GNU du, and the BSD logger program are also recommended, but not required. rsnapshot is written with the lowest common denominator in mind. It only requires at minimum Perl 5.004 and rsync. As a result of this, it works on pretty much any UNIX-like system you care to throw at it.

rsnapshot can run almost out of the box with very little configuration changes although advanced configurations can be done with little more effort.

SystemRescueCD backup partitions and drives

HowTo: Install SystemRescueCD on a Dedicated Hard Disk Partition.
HowTo: No-effort Backup Solution for Partitions and Hard Drives

Introduction: Downloading and burning SystemRescueCD provides a bootable Gentoo-based distro on a CD. The installed applications focus on restoring disabled Linux/windows distros on the hard drives, or retrieving data if things go terribly wrong. You can operate direct from the booted CD. It's great. But SystemRescueCD also contains PartImage, the powerful free Linux alternative to Norton Ghost. So it's a too-easy tool for backing up single or multiple partitions, or whole drives.

Here I recount HowTo install SystemRescueCD onto a dedicated partition. I include a script for creating backup images of your hard drive partitions. Once you go through this tutorial as a practical exercise, you'll have the knowledge and confidence to customise all manner of backup solutions so very easily.

This tutorial is for the middle ground reader, too hard for new Linux users and too simple for Gurus. It's drawn from material in the On Line Manual at the System Rescue CD Site.

Summary of the steps for installing SystemRescueCD on a dedicated hard disk partition:

  1. Prepare a separate SystemRescue partition
  2. Download the SystemRescueCD ISO file
  3. Extract bootable image files from the ISO to the boot partitiion
  4. Edit Suse's GRUB configuration to facilitate booting the SystemRescue partition
  5. Prepare and place your scripts, if any
  6. Boot with Suse's loader --> select item SystemRescueCd

Step 1: Prepare a separate SystemRescue partition: I leave it to you to make the partition. You need about 160Mb plus any extra storage you might need. I use 400Mb. Note that this partition becomes the root of the cdrom after SysRescueCD boots from it, so its filesystem becomes read-only. This means you will select writeable workspaces on other partitions.

Suppose for illustration that you have prepared partition hda13 for the installation. Now make a directory to mount hda13 into openSUSE, e.g. /SysRescCD. You can mount hda13 with this command:

mount /dev/hda13 /SysRescCD

BUT I use the more convenient permanent mount created by placing this line into /etc/fstab:

/dev/hda13 /SysRescCD ext3 defaults 1 2

You can do that with Yast --> System --> Partitioner OR more simply by issuing this command in a console: kdesu kwrite /etc/fstab and then typing the line in.

Step 2: Download the SystemRescueCD ISO file: You can download the CD ISO for the SystemRescueCD by following this project download link. The ISO filename looks like this: systemrescuecd-x86-x.y.z.iso. Place it anywhere on your hard drives, at e.g. /path_to/systemrescuecd-x86-x.y.z.iso

Step 3: Extract bootable image files from the ISO and place them in boot partition: You can mount the ISO file for viewing the files on the CD. First create a folder to mount the ISO in, e.g. /iso. Then mount the ISO with this command in a root terminal:

mount -o loop -t iso9660 /path_to/systemrescuecd-x86-0.3.6.iso /iso

You'll find these three files of special interest on these paths inside the mount folder:


Create the folder sysrcd in the root of hda13, using the mount point /SysRescCD to place it at /SysRescCD/sysrcd. Then copy the three files into folder sysrcd. The name sysrcd is immutable.

The partition hda13 is now configured with the bootable Gentoo distro and all that remains is to point Suse's bootloader at it.

Step 4: Edit Suse's GRUB configuration to facilitate booting the SystemRescue partition: You can open the Grub configuration file in a text editor with commands like this one for Kwrite:

kdesu kwrite /boot/grub/menu.lst

Edit/add these lines at the bottom of the file, one blank line below the last entry:

title SystemRescueCd
root (hd0,12)
kernel /sysrcd/rescuecd root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc looptype=squashfs loop=/sysrcd/sysrcd.dat splash=silent nosound subdir=sysrcd cdroot=/dev/hda13 setkmap=us vga=0x31a
initrd /sysrcd/rescuecd.igz

Remember to adapt my (hd0,12) which is for my hda13, across to your situation. Also, note that the sequence beginning "kernel" and ending "0x31a" is all the same/one line. I've included three parameters at the end: cdroot=/dev/hda13 setkmap=us vga=0x31a. These set the distro upto have hda13 at the root of the cd (on /mnt/cdrom), to have the US keyboard and for a vga screen that suits me. If you wanted to boot into the Window Manager Desktop Environment to access GUI tools, you would use this line instead:

kernel /sysrcd/rescuecd root=/dev/ram0 init=/linuxrc looptype=squashfs loop=/sysrcd/sysrcd.dat splash=silent nosound subdir=sysrcd cdroot=/dev/hda13 setkmap=us vga=0 dostartx

A list of boot options can be seen on this link at the SystemRescueCD site.

Step 5: Prepare and place your scripts, if any: Pre defined sites [like the floppy disk, the root of the CDROM, the root of the installation partition] are searched straight after booting for scripts which if found are executed. You can have one or many scripts. See the SystemRescueCD site for full details. I'll deal with only one location here: the root of the installation partition. It's really simple. Rust create a script called autorun and lodge it in the root of the installation partition, hda13. It will run just after the system boots to a console.

Step 6: Boot with Suse's loader: Reboot and select item SystemRescueCd. The root of partition hda13 automounts at location /mnt/cdrom in the booted-up virtual filesystem. All files and scripts placed on the partition are thus available at /mnt/cdrom.

Backup Script: I constantly change the filesystems on my primary hard drive and it's hard to prevent damage to them. So I back them up regularly. This takes a long time. I use a script called autorun in the root partition of hda13 and simply boot to SystemRescueCD on hda13 and walk away to let the job proceed. Here's my scenario and script. You could easily modify the script for your scenario.

Scenario: I have a Suse root partition at hda5 and a /home partition at hda6. These have to be backed up when they're not being used, i.e. from within another operating system. The Gentoo installation on the SystemRescueCD partition contains a script, "autorun", which employs "partimage", the Linux free version of "Ghost". It is perfect for the task. I have prepared a folder called "partimage" on partition hdb2 on IDE2 drive. The script mounts hdb2 into Gentoo/SystemRescueCD's filesystem, generates a date-coded folder on hdb2 and copies image files across from the Suse root and home partitions.


# mount the target directory
mkdir /mnt/hdb2
mount /dev/hdb2 /mnt/hdb2
# assign today's date to xx, example 071130 on 30Nov2007
xx=`date +%y%m%d`
# make a directory in the folder "partimage" on hdb2 and name it for the date
mkdir /mnt/hdb2/partimage/$xx
cd /mnt/hdb2/partimage/$xx
# write start time to a logfile
echo 'start at: '`date`>$zz
# make an image of suse102_root options: -z1=gzip -d=no description save=save_image -b=batch(not gui) -f3=quit when finished
partimage -z1 -d save -b -f3 /dev/hda5 /mnt/hdb2/partimage/$xx/hda5.partimg.gz
# make an image of /home options: -z1=gzip -d=no description save=save_image -b=batch(not gui) -f3=quit when finished
partimage -z1 -d save -b -f3 /dev/hda6 /mnt/hdb2/partimage/$xx/hda6.partimg.gz
# write contents of file autorun to a file in the target directory
cat /mnt/cdrom/autorun >>script.used
# write end time to the logfile
echo 'end at: '`date`>>$zz
# write the contents of the backup directory into the logfile
ls -l>>$zz

These are the things to customise: Change hdb2 to match your target storage partition. Change hda5 to match your root partition. Change hda6 to match your home partition. Everything else should match your system.

This is the key line:

partimage -z1 -d save -b -f3 /dev/hda5 /mnt/hdb2/partimage/$xx/hda5.partimg.gz

If you have six partitions, duplicate this line six times, replacing hda5 with your correct partition designations and hdb2 with your target storage/backup partition.

That's all there is folks, enjoy.

Cloning a server in RHEL 4

HP Enterprise Business Community

You can and there is not much too it. Although I dont know if there are tools per say.

One can just dump the file systems and restore them elsewhere using the redhat rescue cd. Or you can ghost the system.

All that is really required is to change the hostname /etc/hosts, /etc/sysconfig/network, /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth* config files to update nodename and tcpip details and if you plan to register server with Redhat then you need to create a new systemid as registering the copied version against the original will confuse the system. This can be done by removing the /etc/sysconfig/rhn/systemid and /etc/sysconfig/rhn/up2date-uuid (this needs to be regenerated using uuidgen - copy the gen number into up2date-uuid). Note when I save remove - its best to make backups of these files first :)

The other option as opposed to copying an existing system is to setup kickstart. We can build servers with our own postbuild scripts in less than 3 minutes! This is done by copying the CD set to a system which can either be NFS/Apache Web Server or FTP server - NFS is the simplest! And building a kickstart script. Install the first cd and say linux ks=nfs:server:/nfs/path/to/RedHat and off it will go.

I believe HP if you buy it have cloning software kits - mainly for rolling out blade environments. However once you have kickstart up and had a play this is great!

If you play with virtualised systems (Eg VMWARE) then you can stop the virtual guests and just copy the image files - then go through and do what was mentioned at the beginning.

Prepare a RHEL host for cloning

prepare a RHEL/CentOS/etc host for cloning (eg, duplicating a Virtual Machine or creating a VM Template), use the following commands as the last steps:

touch /.unconfigured
rm -f /etc/ssh/ssh_host_*
ifdown eth0
sed -i '/^HWADDR=.*$/d' /etc/sysconfig/network-scripts/ifcfg-eth0
ifup eth0
rm -f /etc/udev/rules.d/70-persistent-net.rules
shutdown -h now

Backup - Create ISO files

This script tries to create ISO files of specific size from files/directories given at the command prompt. It relies heavily on mkisofs to calculate the ISO sizes and also for creation of the ISO files. The script will however include as many files as possible without changing the order of the files. If a small media size is selected, it may have to cut images short if the next file to be included is very large. Also, if a file results in a too large ISO file, a warning is printed and the image is created anyway.

Both Joliet and Rock Ridge options are passes to mkisofs which can result in some files unable to be included in the image. backup will detect the error and halt. You may have to work around that problem yourself. Also be warned that mkisofs will be run numerous times to determine exactly how many files can be put into the image (successive approximation technique is used).

Download the script.


Usage: ./ [OPTION]... [PATH]...
Create ISO files containing the directories to backup.
-b=#     Max block size for ISO files (1 block=2048 bytes).
-d       Don't make ISO's
-k       Keep keep temporary files when done.
-p=PREFIX        filenames are PREFIX-1.iso,... (default: backup)
-q       Be less verbose.
-s=#     Max ISO size in bytes.
-v       Be more verbose.
-cd      Select 700MB CD media size.
-dvd     Select 4700000000 bytes DVD media size (default).

Google Releases Paper on Disk Reliability


Slashdot Google Releases Paper on Disk Reliability

Acronis True Image 9.0 Downloadable Software - Retail at $30 for download.

Backup only the necessary server disk sector contents

User-defined compression levels

Multivolume archives

Password protection

Reduce your disk backup time and storage by excluding paging and hibernate files from the disk backup image

Manage a PC performance by changing the disk imaging process priority

Supports hard disks of all sizes

Create full images (everything on your PC), incremental images (changes since last backup), and differential images (changes since last full backup)

Use your PC during image creation with our no reboot feature

Verify disk backup image before a restore

Change partition type, file system, size, and disk location during restore

Check the file system after a restore

Acronis Secure Zone

Acronis Startup Recovery Manager

[Dec 9, 2005] Data Recovery Software - Downloads very interesting utility. Windows XP only.

DriveImage XML V1.00

Backup and image logical drives and partitions, create hot images, copy one drive to another...

File Size: 1.5 MB

Free Hard Disk Backup and Restore, Hard Disk Image and Cloning Utilities (

XXCOPY, a Versatile File Management Utility --- Boldly Extended Xcopy

XXCOPY is simply a logical extension to XCOPY. It remains faithfully compatible with XCOPY in the invocation syntax, yet, adds many innovative features to be a very serious utility for anyone who feels comfortable in managing files in command line mode (DOS Box). XXCOPY has grown to be not just a file copy program but also file removal, search and list utility. Its short-name preserving capability makes it ideal to clone a system disk which can be made bootable. XXCOPY runs under Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2K/XP and comes with a 16-bit version XXCOPY16 which allows copying files in DOS environment using short name only (to be later expanded to long name). You may also use it for synchronizing systems. In short, it is an industrial strength utility for system administrators.

Failing Disk Imagers

Lexun Designs

Unstoppable Copier 2.0 - Recovers data from scratched or damaged disks including floppy, DVD, CD and hard disks - Softpedia

This program is great for recovering files from scratched CD's or defective floppy/hard disks.

Normally when your computer is unable to copy a file from a damaged disk it will abort and delete the portition of the file it has copied.

Unstoppable Copier will continue copying the file right to the end; any unrecoverable data after many retries is replaced with blanks. This will allow you to recover every byte of information that is available for recovery.

The program allows you to specify a single file, a group using wildcards (* and ?) or if you wish, select a starting folder and the program will copy all data from it and any sub folders it may contain.

This program doesn't just need to be used for copying files form defective disks, it can be used to transfer any files!

[Nov 28, 2005] Nero disk backup sucks. I used Nero disk backup for my weekly backups but never tested it. When my harddrive failed I discover the restore is a DOS utility and you need to map DVD drive in DOS or copy it to harddrive Fat32 partition to make it work. If there is a driver for DOS for your DVD drive you are file, but it there is no such driver your only option is to install additional IDE disk (or use existing FAT32 partition with enough space on it). Then you can copy the content on this disk and try your luck.

[Sept 11, 2005] Norton Ghost 9.0 - Disk Imaging Solution Software

5 out of 5 stars Finally!! Somebody got it right., September 7, 2004
Reviewer: P. Clark (Los Angeles) - See all my reviews

After experimenting with Ghost version 9.0, I can report that Symantec has produced a slick piece of software now that PowerQuest's DriveImage capabilities have been fully integrated into the feature set. Note that Version 9.0 works only on XP and 2000 systems.

For my home machine, I'm using a spare IDE drive to store the backup images. I have set up a regular schedule which will automatically do a full baseline backup once per month, with weekly incremental saves. The backup is performed at the rate of about 1 GB per minute on an Intel 3.20 GHz machine, with compression set to the standard parameter of 40%. I set a limit of 3 baseline images so that the backup drive will never run out of room.

Backup jobs are run within Windows so there is no need to boot to DOS. Backups can also be transmitted to a network server or written directly to CD or DVD devices.

Ghost includes a nifty utility which can open a backup image so that you can pull out a specific file for restoration. Following a catastrophic failure, you can boot from the Ghost software CD into recovery mode and very easily restore an entire drive including the MBR, making the disk ready to boot.

Ghost will also copy a drive while running under Windows. I successfully copied my C-drive, but XP would not boot the copy without permission from Microsoft.

Backups using removable media (i.e. CD or DVD) must be started manually. Backups to a hard drive or a network server can be scheduled for automatic operation. Just leave the PC on at night and it's all taken care of. Ghost will even send notification via email that the backup was completed.

[Nov 15, 2004] Norton Ghost 9.0 Personal

[Nov 15, 2004] Symantec - Norton Ghost 2003 tutorial

[ Aug 24, 2001] Back Up and Recover Your Information in Windows XP Professional

By using Backup you can create a duplicate copy of all hard disk and then archive it on another storage device, such as a hard disk or a tape.

You can easily restore it by using the Restore or Automated System Recovery Wizards.

To start Backup or to access Restore and Automated System Recovery

Click Start, click All Programs, click Accessories, click System Tools, and then click Backup.

Windows XP Backup, Restore, and Automated System Recovery all function when Windows XP Professional is functioning.

If your computer does not start properly, you may need to use Recovery Console. Recovery Console provides a command line during Startup from which you can make system changes when Windows XP Professional doesn't start.

To learn more about Backup, Restore, and Automated System Recovery, see Help and Support Center.

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Slashdot Google Releases Paper on Disk Reliability

Rescue CD

SystemRescueCd is a Linux system available from a bootable CDROM that provides an easy way to perform administrative tasks on your computer, such as creating and editing the partitions of the hard disk or backing up data. It contains a lot of system utilities (such as parted, partimage, and fstools), and basic programs (such as editors, midnight commander, and network tools). It also includes QtParted, a Partition Magic clone that makes editing partitons easy with its Qt graphical user interface. This CDROM aims to be very easy to use and accessible to everybody.

François Dupoux
[contact developer]

GNU Parted

GNU Parted (gparted) allows you to create, destroy, resize, and copy partitions. Supported partition types include ext2, FAT (FAT16 and FAT32), and Reiserfs filesystems and Linux swap devices. Supported disk labels include MS-DOS and PC98 partition tables, Sun and BSD disk labels, Macintosh partition maps, and raw access. Parted is useful for creating space for new operating systems, reorganising disk usage, copying data between hard disks, and disk imaging.

mkCDrec Utilities

The mkCDrec utilities are optional for mkCDrec itself, but are an added value for rescue and recovery purposes. The utilities are staticly compiled and include parted, memtest, partimage, gpart, and recover. Memtest86 is also available for memory testing.

Partition Image Unlike Ghost you can same images to an external usb drive.

Partition Image is a Linux/UNIX utility similar to Symantec's Ghost. This uility saves partitions in the EXT2, Reiserfs, NTFS, HPFS, FAT16, and FAT32 file system formats to an image file. The image file can be compressed with gzip or bzip2 in order to save disk space, and it can be split in order to fit onto a series of floppy disks. This program can be useful for backup purposes. A boot/root disk is also provided, allowing you to run Partition Image without Linux installed on the hard disk.

by scribbler - Jul 10th 2003 11:23:59

Partition Image is a fantastic free alternative to the commercial Norton Ghost. Using the KNOPPIX live ISO, I was able to fully back up my Windows hard drive (FAT32), purposely destroy it using deltree, and fully restore it, without a single hitch from the program itself.

If I had to find a fault with the software, I'd have to say it's a little slow backing up/restoring. But that, to be honest is probably not a fault with the program. After all, it was a 2Gb FAT32 partition, and an hour either way to backup/restore the compressed data is a lot easier than having to install Windoze from scratch. The built-in functionality to compress the backup files works like a charm, it compressed those 2Gb's down to about 1.3Gb, easily enough space to fit onto CD.

It took an hour to back up a 10Gb ReiserFS partition on another machine without any compression. And considering the age/speed of the machine, this is totally adequate.

Overall, a fantastic program, and one I'm going to use a lot.

Backups -- In a League of Their Own Some historical data

Mondo is a free CD- or tape-based disaster-recovery suite for Linux and Windows. Supports LVM, RAID, almost any type of filesystem, bare metal restore. GPL.

Amanda is a free backup system designed to archive many computers on a network to a large-capacity tape drive. Amanda has many features and is widely used.

Bacula is a network client/server based backup program. Bacula is relatively easy to use and efficient, writes to multiple volumes, has many advanced storage management features that make it easy to find and recover lost or damaged files. Runs on Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD, with clients also on Windows, Irix and Mac OS X. GPL software.

Free windows 2000 backup downloads

Free Backup Software

Where can I get free backup software, Part 2

Back Up and Recover Your Information 2000 Backup Utility Basics

Chapter 5 Windows backup and restore


How do I clone-backup a hard disk under Windows

1..2..Freeware - Backup and Copy Utilities

Disk Cloning

The most popular utility in this class is Ghost (now owned by Symantec). See also Alternatives to Norton Ghost

Other possibilities:

Important Notes:

  1. Conversion of FAT16 partitions to FAT32 and/or partition resizing may not be supported by some of these utilities. Be sure to check if you need these capabilities.
  2. FAT32 partitions larger than 8 GB with a cluster size less than 8 KB will cause errors in Disk Defragmenter (Defrag.exe) and ScanDisk (Scandskw.exe). See Q229154 "Err Msg: Your Computer Does Not Have Enough Free Memory to Defrag the Drive" and "Scandisk and Defrag give error messages when used on a new hard drive".


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