Originally posted by Goala
I'd suggest you not to use cp -a because it doesn't keep symbolic links, use tar instead.
Preserve as much as possible of the structure and
attributes of the original files in the copy (but
do not preserve directory structure). Equivalent
Copy symbolic links as symbolic links rather than
copying the files that they point to, and preserve
hard links between source files in the copies.
Taken from the man page. Sounds a lot like preserving symbolic links to me =\
Originally posted by Kroenecker
Well, I think that cp -a /dev/hda /dev/hdb should be just fine. The -a option preserves permissions as well as to do some other useful stuff for you. As far as needing boot disks is concerned...well this isnt voodoo magic. You are using the copy command. At the very worst your copy doesnt turn out well. My recommendation is to perform the copy and then (if you are comfortable with this) turn your computer off, unplug the power, and put the hdb drive in the hda ide slot. Effectively you have just replaced the hda with the hdb drive. Then try turning on your computer. If everything runs smoothly, you have successfully copied everything down to the MBR. (I hope.) As I havent done this myself, I cant guarantee.
I've decided I should just partition the new drive with the partitions I want and just copy over all the data, trying to preserve as much of it as I can.