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Re-edited... I meant I posted this on the Ubuntu forums WEBSITE, not this website. Thanks for confusing me. I want to install Ubuntu alongside Windows 7 via normal partitioning on ...
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  1. #1
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    Question Disk Cloning/Imaging... what program to use... risks... help!


    Re-edited... I meant I posted this on the Ubuntu forums WEBSITE, not this website. Thanks for confusing me.

    I want to install Ubuntu alongside Windows 7 via normal partitioning on my laptop. BUT I want to image my hard drive (make an image of the entire disk and put the image file onto my external hard drive). I've been trying out different programs in Virtual Box. I've tried Clonezilla, partimage, and G4L (Ghost for Linux). The first two did not work. However, g4l backed up the virtual hard disk successfully onto another virtual hard disk.

    The problem is, g4l is VERY confusing. All I want to do is image a whole hard disk and put that image file onto my external hard drive WITHOUT deleting/formatting the external hard drive. When I did it on VirtualBox, it did not format or delete anything on the second vhd. But I want to make sure it won't happen with my external drive, because there is a LOT of data (very important) on the external. I could not afford to lose it.

    So, my questions are:

    1. Will g4l format or delete anything on the target (external) drive?

    2. Does g4l backup free (empty) space with the file? (It doesn't appear to, as the image file on the vm was only about 1GB, while the vhd was 20, but only had about 4gb of used space)

    3. Are there better/safer programs for this? I tried Acronis. My mouse doesn't work in the boot cd.
    Last edited by robot85; 10-10-2010 at 04:46 PM. Reason: ??? Memebers are confusing me.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    PLEASE DO NOT post questions more than once on these forums. It can be considered spam... Please remove this one and find your answers on the Ubuntu forum.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  3. #3
    oz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubberman View Post
    PLEASE DO NOT post questions more than once on these forums. It can be considered spam... Please remove this one and find your answers on the Ubuntu forum.
    Rubberman, I think he was referring to the Official Ubuntu Website Forums when he said he's posted this elsewhere.

    Welcome to the forums, robot85!
    oz

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ozar View Post
    Rubberman, I think he was referring to the Official Ubuntu Website Forums when he said he's posted this elsewhere.

    Welcome to the forums, robot85!
    Oh! Sorry about that... and indeed welcome!
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    So, back to your question robot85. Let me ask first if you want to make the backup image so if you have a problem with the dual-boot installation you can restore your original image? If so, then that is quite easy. Personally, I'm not familiar with g4l. I generally use standard system tools in order to create a bit-image backup of a system disc that I can restore - this is a regular part of my backup procedures actually, and has saved me on numerous occasions over the years, such as when the system disc fails, or some new software installation fubars the OS.

    So, assuming that your answer is "yes", here we go:

    1. Boot up your Live Ubuntu CD/DVD.
    2. Open a terminal window on the GUI desktop.
    3. Switch to the root account with the command sudo su -
    4. Plug in the external drive. If it is recognized a disc icon will appear on the desktop. If it isn't then you will need to mount it manually. We'll assume it is auto-mounted. It should be mounted as /media/something where something may be "disk" or some other label. You will need that path to backup the system disc. Whatever you do, DO NOT mount or try to access the system disc at this time.
    5. Assuming that the external drive was mounted as /media/disk, execute the following command in the command-line window:
    Code:
    dd if=/dev/sda | gzip -c >/media/disk/system-image.gz
    That will copy and compress the system disc image, including the partition table, boot loader, and all of the partitions. Later if you need to restore it, then bootup the Live Ubuntu CD/DVD again, mount the external drive, open the terminal window, switch to root as shown above, and execute this command:
    Code:
    gunzip -c /media/disk/system-image.gz | dd of=/dev/sda
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Re:

    Thank you for taking the time to respond. Yes, I do want to backup so that if something goes wrong with the dual boot I can restore with the image.

    But I don't really feel comfortable with messing around in the command line, as it is so easy to make a mistake and I have no idea what's happening behind the scenes. And I don't feel comfortable using dd, because from what I've heard, it's really easy to delete data.

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    Linux Guru rokytnji's Avatar
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    While others like using PartedMagic or Clonezilla. I found that Puppy Linux using PUDD to be quite easy to use for cloning having a graphical frontend for dd.

    Took me no time at all to clone my Windows XP on my Asus EEEPC 701SD to a external 8 gig SD Flash drive. Hardest part was formatting SD card as NTFS and shrinking Windows XP partition to fit the card and letting Windows do a chkdisk after shrinking Windows. That took more time than using PUDD.

    PUDD is pretty simple to use. A fdisk -l gives you drive/partition IDs.
    Worked just fine for me. But proper preparation of Destination Drive is a must.
    With me, Windows. Destination drive had to be formatted as NTFS.

    Since you want to clone Windows and Linux (2 very different file formats).
    That is why everything seems so complicated to you.

    You need one partition on Destination drive formatted to exact size or greater and file format (NTFS) matching the source drive.. (att least that is my understanding.)

    And another partition same size or greater as Ubuntu with whatever file format you are using (EXT4,Ext3,etc.....) on the destination Drive

    Partition structure and size must match = source drive to fit destination drive

    If I change boot order on my Asus to external SD card and inserted XP card.

    Windows boots and runs just like if I was running off internal SSD drive.
    Whats funny. It runs about as fast also.

    @Rubberman, I am gonna steal your post and save to text document because I like the idea of compressing the image.

    Edit: never tried using PUDD with dual boot yet though.
    Last edited by rokytnji; 10-10-2010 at 07:31 PM.
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  8. #8
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robot85 View Post
    Thank you for taking the time to respond. Yes, I do want to backup so that if something goes wrong with the dual boot I can restore with the image.

    But I don't really feel comfortable with messing around in the command line, as it is so easy to make a mistake and I have no idea what's happening behind the scenes. And I don't feel comfortable using dd, because from what I've heard, it's really easy to delete data.
    I understand fully your concern; however, if you follow the instructions I gave you, the worst that will happen is that when writing the file system-image.gz to the external drive you run out of space. The system disc will not be mounted, and you are only reading from it. You can also use something like Clonezilla, but it really is overkill for your purposes.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rubberman View Post
    I understand fully your concern; however, if you follow the instructions I gave you, the worst that will happen is that when writing the file system-image.gz to the external drive you run out of space. The system disc will not be mounted, and you are only reading from it. You can also use something like Clonezilla, but it really is overkill for your purposes.
    So it will only create an image an put it onto the external hard drive? It WILL NOT delete anything on the external hard drive?

    Are you sure it's safe?

    (Sorry, I just want to be REALLY careful.)

  10. #10
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    It would only cause a problem if you already had a file named system-image.gz on the external drive.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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