Mount all the partitions that you need to backup somewhere on your system. Make sure that you exclude the one directory where want to save the new tar file. Maybe also exclude the /dev directory.
As already suggested, 'dd' might have some benefits for backing up the entire disk - as long as you intend to recover to the same hard disk, or one with a similar size.
Last edited by Tinkster; 10-30-2010 at 04:12 PM.