Monday, 8 February 2010

Why Clonezilla is amazing, and how Linux rocks


Recently a laptop running Ubuntu 9.10 broke down, with the screen and a few other components utterly refusing to work, it was still usable with an external screen and so some measure of recovery was possible. Now this laptop is used for work and had important documents along with specifically configured programs on it, making it a pain to set up a spare laptop with not just a backup of the documents, but also all the running programs on the computer.

Enter Clonezilla.

Clonezilla is a fantastic tool for creating images of hard-drives, partitions and backing them up for future restorations. It only copies used blocks on the drive, meaning that the image itself is never bigger than it needs to be.

So roughly 4 hours later, and a 220 gig image of the entire laptop was cloned to an external drive, ready to be moved into the spare laptop.

This is the bit where using Linux comes in handy. Once the image was restored on the spare laptop, the system booted perfectly on the new computer, and everything instantly worked exactly as before. This is the beauty of using a system that detects and loads drivers every single time it boots, keeping the information for these drivers entirely within its kernel. It didn't matter that completely different hardware was present, the install didn't complain once and it couldn't have been easier.

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