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Re: Hard Disk Backup Question



Bill Davidsen wrote:
Ralph De Witt wrote:
Hi All:
I have a Dell Inspiron E1705 Computer with a 80 gig hard drive. I also have a Western Digital 500 gig My Book External USB Hard Drive attached. I would like to Back up the entire hard drive to a partition on the external drive. I have very little knowledge of how to do this. I have always backed up to a CD individual files after a data loss. I thought a auto backup routine would work, but the computer may not be on when the backup would be scheduled, and the external hard drive partition do not seem to want to auto mount so that would not work. I am using the kde desk top. Could some one add to my knowledge and help me out? TIA

If you want to make a backup of the physical hard drive, such that you could just replace the drive with an identical drive and recreate it, you need to boot from a CD, such as the Fedora rescue CD, and just copy the contents. Assuming that the external drive is sdb, mounted on /mnt/external (for example):
  dd if=/dev/sda bs-1M | gzip -3 >/mnt/external/2007-10-04-1410-image.gz

Note that the image must be restored to an identical hard drive, since it's an image of the whole disk. It might work on a larger drive, but you might not use, or even have access to, the whole drive.

There are various utilities to do this, g4u being popular. This has some of the same limitations, but is easy to use. Because it's based on netBSD (AFAIK) the drivers are not identical, but it can backup over a network using ftp.
In my experience (I use g4u a fair bit) so long as g4u can boot and find the source and target hard drives and the target drive is the same or larger in size than the source drive, it can perfectly clone the source to the target. It works on all operating systems too. I only use the copydisk command. On some computers, g4u cannot boot, but when it does it works wonderfully. In return for a few seconds spent typing one or two commands, it does all the heavy lifting of creating an exact clone. I can walk away from it and do more interesting things and let it clone. I generally copydisk to an external hard drive and that means a USB drive.

The only caveat from a Fedora standpoint is that if you clone a Fedora system, the clone drive is going to run under LVM, and since the volume group and logical volumes will have precisely the same names, I don't think you can mount the cloned drive to check the contents easily.

Bob Cochran



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