Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Clonezilla backup steps

In the last two years I had to get my harddisk replaced twice by a new one.
To minimize effort of setting up the new disk, I investigated which harddisk-copy program would best fit my needs, without complex setup things or complex instructions to create a bootable/live CD.

After trying several things, Clonezilla 1.2.2-31 did it for me.
I tried DriveImage XML, but that required me to make a streamlined CD for XP first, because I got a d:\i386\layout.inf not found error. I also looked at Paragon Backup & Recovery, but couldn't find how to create a live CD.

Creating a bootable live DVD was easiest with Clonezilla, and it's standalone, so no OS disks like Windows XP needed. The actual steps to make a backup a bit difficult for non-unix/linux people, but not impossible.
Below are the steps I now use to make a complete backup of my harddisk (including Windows) to a networked external disk via Samba.
Whether you can use these steps for your setup completely depends on your setup. Main reason for listing the steps here is so I have an easy reference to them :)


  • Make sure you have an external harddisk connected to your network.

  • Make sure you have its IP address. If you're normally using DHCP, you might want to give it a fixed IP.

  • Make sure you have enough diskspace left on that external harddisk

  • To minimize network errors during the copying, you might want to use a network cable instead of a wireless connection. I definitely did that.

  • I used it for Windows XP, but any OS should do (it makes a byte-by-byte copy of the source disk

Steps to make copy
  1. Put the bootable CD/DVD in the drive to boot from it. Choose F8 or F12 at startup if you manually need to select your machine to boot from it.

  2. Wait until the boot sequence is done

  3. Choose language, and Don't touch keymap

  4. Choose Start Clonezilla

  5. Now you have to get the network card to get activated. That happens in the next steps

  6. Choose as Mount dir: samba_server

  7. Choose eth0. Choose DHCP

  8. Enter the IP of the networked external disk. E.g:

  9. I canceled the Domain configuration option

  10. Enter the account to use to connect to the networked external disk

  11. Pay attention when you enter the directory where the image must be stored. It is the directory in which the directory with the image information will be put. If you enter a non-existing directory, the mount (happens when you hit OK) will fail. Not a problem, just that you know. If the mount fails, just restart the process, this time with an existing path. Example path:


  12. Hit OK. This will start the mount command. It will ask you for a password if applicable. When the command is successful, you'll see the filesystem mount points listed.

  13. Choose Beginners Mode. Choose savedisk.

  14. Enter a name for the image. I usually append some more identifying information to the prefilled filename, which is something like: 2010-05-02-18-img

  15. Then choose the disk from the machine you want to make a backup for. For me it's only one: sda. Hit OK.

  16. Now you should see a summary of the command, which looks like:

    /opt/drbl/sbin/ocs-sr -q2 -c -j2 -z1 -i 2000 -p true savedisk "2010-05-02-18-img" "sda"

  17. Hit ENTER. That should start the backup. No errors should occur. My 500G harddisk with about 100G of data took about 4,5 hours to get backed up. One time I had an error in the output, saying something like the eth0 NIC was "gone". But the backup continued, and no other official errors were shown. It was not clear whether Clonezilla recovered successfully from the connection being away for a little while. Still, to be on the safe side, I made another backup, that had no network errors at all.

Steps to restore copy
These steps are about the same as making the copy, except that you select restoredisk instead of savedisk. But for completeness, here are the steps:

  1. Choose language

  2. Select Don't touch keymap

  3. Select Start Clonezilla

  4. Choose first option device_image

  5. Choose samba_server

  6. Choose eth0

  7. Choose DHCP

  8. Enter IP address of server you've stored the image on (e.g.

  9. Cancel domain

  10. Enter account name to login on server

  11. Enter as directory: /public/home/partimag (note it's the same as when making the copy)

  12. Enter the password for the server. If correct, you'll see again the mount result (filesystem diskspace usage)

  13. Choose Beginner

  14. Choose Restore disk

  15. Choose the image you want to restore (e.g 2010-05-02-18-img)

  16. Choose target disk: sda

  17. Now you should see a summary of the command, which looks like:

    /opt/drbl/sbin/ocs-sr -g auto -e1 auto -e2 -c -r -j2 -p true restoredisk "2010-05-02-18-img" "sda"

  18. Hit ENTER. That should start the backup. No errors should occur. My 500G harddisk with about 100G of data took about 2,5 hours to restore.

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