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What's a good disk image writer?


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#1 brainout

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 08:42 AM

Witness: my main Windows 7 computer, which has been trounced by Windows 7 updates, is now dying.  SMART dying.  So you'd think well, backup and copy now, right?  Yeah, except that it's a catch 22: for WINDOWS is on that dying disk, it can't stay BOOTED long enough to run the backup software (here, Macrium or EaseUS) so that you can backup.  Chkdsk crashes after step 4 though reporting no errors, again ENDEMIC, so of course you can't do anything.

 

So again, Linux to the rescue, but now what BACKUP program, as 1) I can't clone due to hard drive failure imminent, 2) the existing backup Linux programs I found only handle the /home folder, which doesn't help at all with Windows drives, 3) GParted only changes partitions to other partitions on the same physical drive (same ENDEMIC problem), 4) the 'Partimage' and 'Partclone' programs I installed in Mint 17 are nowhere to be found, but Synaptic Package Manager says I have them.  They don't show up in the menu.

 

So now resorting to Mint 13, but again -- what disk image maker can I use? The ones provided won't work.  I click on them in either Mint 17 or 13 to call up the program Image Writer and nothing happens.  I can get partimage only to run in terminal.  No GUI? For the terminal version is confusing.. tolerable.  Is that the only program anyone would recommend?

 

Any ideas are most appreciated.  I really did NOT need this crisis too, after the fracaso of Win10 using up two months of my time.

 

Windows is dead to me from here on out.  They've had 30 years to figure out how to avoid the endemic catch-22 of a failing hard drive.  But if you need Windows to back up a failing hard drive, that's obviously a dumb idea.  And what is the only alternative?  You know....

 

Thank you for putting up with me!


Edited by brainout, 22 September 2015 - 08:52 AM.

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#2 mremski

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 08:59 AM

Clonezilla will do bit for bit imaging, if you can see the device (not mounted) in Linux, you may be able to do a "dd" on it to again, get a bit image.  Bit images are a pain, but you may be able to do a loopback mount with them and recover information (you aren't going to recover the physical drive without spending $ to the best of my knowledge).

ddrescue is another thing you can google about.

 

A few links from a google search:

http://www.howtogeek.com/57442/how-to-backup-and-resurrect-a-dead-or-dying-system-disk-with-clonezilla/

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/how-do-i-clone-a-hard-drive-with-clonezilla/

http://www.pchell.com/hardware/clone_drive_with_bad_sectors.shtml


Edited by mremski, 22 September 2015 - 09:08 AM.

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#3 brainout

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 09:56 AM

Thank you, wonderful mremski:  Clonezilla will only do sector by sector, been using it for some years.  That's why I can't clone.  I don't believe it will actually image just the files, irrespective of the hard drive; but I'm trying it.  Thanks anyway!

 

(I don't know anything about dd.  I tried partimage and it's a nightmare, can't properly specify the destination, no pasting allowed, and I have NO IDEA how to specify the destination name as all the examples are for SERVERS using mnt, so do I use the sda# and then /media with the long names which will take me 10 years to type?  I even made scripts so I could paste the names, but oh no... partimage won't allow pasting.)


Edited by brainout, 22 September 2015 - 10:18 AM.

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#4 DeimosChaos

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 10:30 AM

Mremeski mentioned ddrescue, which I have used before. It worked pretty well to get the files off I needed. Not gonna clone the entire drive with it but you'll be able to get your important things off the drive.


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#5 brainout

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 10:41 AM

So I type help ddrescue, in terminal, to learn the syntax and steps?


Edited by brainout, 22 September 2015 - 10:43 AM.

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#6 mremski

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 11:00 AM

Or man ddrescue or google up "how do I use ddrescue".


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#7 brainout

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 11:14 AM

Okay, thanks.  I've been up since early last night trying to get at least one backup to complete.  Good thing no client data is involved, but there were a few notes I'd like to save.  Clonezilla isn't working, but I didn't expect it to.


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#8 Al1000

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 11:19 AM

If you know what files you want to save and where they are, I would just boot up with a Puppy CD and "drag and drop" them or copy and paste them, from the old HDD to wherever you want to save them.

#9 mremski

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 11:19 AM

Sorry I don't have more specific info, it's been a while since I've actually used some of the tools.  I figured it'd be safer to point you at tools and let you research their use;  that way I'm not giving you wrong information, like "I heard that doing /bin/rm -rf / cleans up your disk"  (Seriously, don't do that.  You'll wipe out everything).

 

Just be careful when specifying the device to work on (/dev/sda1 or something like that).  Very easy to mistype something;  since you are reading from the bad disk, you shouldn't mess that up, just a reminder to double/triple check before hitting enter.


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#10 brainout

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 11:41 AM

Thanks, mremski, here's the manual.  Clonezilla can't image the root (sda1), tried twice.  Already been trying since yesterday using every other program I got, inside and outside of Windows/Linux.  So I'm assuming it's toast.  Will probably be able to pull individual files, but wanted to image the whole partition first.  Now trying a different partition, see if that will go.

 

Machine just past its warranty, was a Dell 780 Optiplex refurb.  I have spare new hard drives, but without a partition image it will be a royal pain to set up again.  Don't actually have to, but you never know what's on the machine which got forgotten.  I have like five backups but no later than a month ago, yikes.

 

Thank God for Firefox synching, that WAS important.

 

EDIT: not working in Clonezilla to even make an image of any partition.  Not at all.


Edited by brainout, 22 September 2015 - 11:57 AM.

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#11 mremski

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 12:40 PM

Simple use to copy a complete partition to a file (make sure the destination has enough space):

 

To create an image of /dev/sda1 to a file names sda1date.img in the current directory:

ddrescue /dev/sda1 sda1date.img

 

Not sure if you need to have the disk mounted as read only.

 

If you can get the image file created, this article has instructions on how to mount the image so you can look at it:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/39120721


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#12 brainout

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 01:48 PM

Yeah, but if the drive is about to fail, partition image won't work.  Clone nor partition image work, because it's too low-level.  Clonezilla borks.  I've been trying to at least do a partition image for hours now.

 

Did manage to do simple copy in Windows, of files post-last-backup.  Am now running chkdsk on the backup disk to see if its sectors are okay.


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#13 mremski

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 02:50 PM

ddrescue should be doing lower than partition.  To the OS a disk drive just looks like a big bucket of bits.  ddrescue and other tools like that work at that level.  Clonezilla works differently.


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#14 brainout

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 03:39 PM

Okay, thank you!


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#15 DeimosChaos

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Posted 22 September 2015 - 03:45 PM

Just a fair warning, ddrescue, depending on the size of your disk, will take a pretty long time to complete. I had a 500GB disk and it took a good few hours to complete.


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