Thanks for the reply.
However im looking for something a bit more robust than dd.
I'd like to have a program along the lines of norton ghost or pq drive image - doesn't need a gui or anything though.
Is there really no good/safe way to backup an actual partition (not just all the bits in a partition) while the partition is live?
I'm pretty sure partimage does this http://www.partimage.org/
But I'd like to know all the options and the best ones.
I know I could just backup the files in the partitions, take a new computer, create the partitions, then untar a backup into it - but I'd rather have a solution that does that all itself if possible.