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I've got a couple of rather large USB drives lying around, and I'd like to make disk images of my laptop's hard drive every now and again, just in case.
I will be dual booting windows and linux (linux primary, windows for photoshop CS 2), and would like everything in the image, from the partition table to the boot loader to the files themselves.
The goal is, if I wanted to, I could write zeros to the drive a few times, boot using a CD (or the usb hard drive, if that would work) then typing a quick command to install one of the images from my usb drive to my laptop's hard drive.
Once it's done, I'd want to restart, boot from the laptop's hard drive, and have it look as though I never did anything.
Does this make sense? Is it possible? (I'm sure it is, but most imaging software I've used doesn't do well with dual booting, and requires an imaging server)
I'd agree with the comment on partimage - I've used it for a couple of years to maintain backups of entire hard drives and it works flawlessly, and doesn't necessarily require any command line stuff to handle as it's ran from a nice menu system. Very quick too, and compresses the image if you tell it to, saving space on your external USB drive.
I don't think it is actually possible to backup a hard drive that is currently mounted, i.e. you would have to use a Live CD, or I have a small install of Debian on a little partition on the drive I backup, meaning I boot into this basic system, run partimage to create the backup, the boot back into my normal working system.
Could you possibly try a more recent version of Knoppix? It seems a pretty old version, but I still don't see why partimage couldn't understand the filetypes. What filesystem have you used for your drives?