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Old 10-28-2007, 05:01 AM   #1
Registered: Oct 2006
Location: The Ether
Distribution: Ubuntu 16.04.7 LTS, Kali, MX Linux with i3WM
Posts: 299

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Cloning a partition using DD. Some advice / suggestions needed.

Hi there,
I have a perfectly running Ubuntu distro on an old PC and I would basically like to kill two birds with one stone. One to get to know the workings of the DD command to back up a bootable partition, and two to re-assure myself that if the Ununtu partition was to be corrupted I could easily restore the entire partition from a backup copy.

Here are some details. I have 2 HDs on my Ubuntu box. First HD is entirely for the Ubuntu distro. The second HD has two fat32 partitions. One has some data on it and the other is totally free. It is on the "free" partition onto which I would like to keep a clone of the Ubuntu partition. Could the clone be in the form of one file, say " ?" Now, would I have to convert the free partition from fat32 to ext2/3 in order for the cloning to work or can it remain as fat32 ? Also once the Ubuntu has been backed up to the spare drive, would reformatting the Ubuntu drive to an empty ext2/3 with the help of a live CD , and using dd to copy the backup to its original Ubuntu ( now empty) partition leave the system back in its original working state and with no noticeable changes or alterations ?

The object of the exercise, being able to backup and then restore a working Linux, using dd, and with the minimum amount of fuss.
Any advice , suggestions and tips using this method would be most useful.
The tutorial on DD by Awesome is very good but I would appreciate suggestions and real world examples from people who use dd to clone / restore partitions on a regular basis.
(It is a wet and windy Sunday here so the perfect opportunity to stay in and tinker with a linux box !!!)

Thanks very much and all good wishes,


Last edited by uncle-c; 10-28-2007 at 06:28 AM. Reason: additional point added
Old 10-28-2007, 12:14 PM   #2
Registered: Oct 2007
Distribution: rhel, fedora, gentoo, ubuntu, freebsd
Posts: 104

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Assuming your dd image is smaller than the max filesize of the hard drive, you could dump out to it and have no big issues. But fat32 has a 4gb filesize limit, and that's somewhat tighter than I'd want for a functioning desktop.

Also be aware that you may have a separate partition for /boot, which would be important to grab. And you also might want to include your MBR in the list of things you're imaging.

Personally, I'd recommend you look into Clonezilla, 'cause it's neat.
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