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How Do I Create a System Image in Linux ?


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#1 bob007

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 10:04 PM

In Windows I would create a system image every few months and store it on an external HD because we never know when disaster will strike and the worst being HD failure.  Before I created a System Image I would remove my music...pictures etc to reduce the size of the Image.

 

This was an easy task and there's plenty of software to do this...unfortunately this is not the case in Linux as I have found.  Software that works in Windows doesn't work in Linux so maybe I'm still thinking windows and there's a different way of doing this.

 

I've tried Redo Backup Disk which created an image that was many times the size of my files and the OS...eg 50 GB turned to 260 GB image.  Macrium Rescue Disk did the same thing and both took hours to create which is not what I want.

 

I have Systemback installed but this is only like System Restore in windows and useless if the Hard Drive fails from what I can see.  I also tried Grsync which copied my Home Folder onto my External HD...I imagine I would have to Re-Install the OS and Grsync to copy my Home Folder back.  I would then have to Re-install Vituralbox and my vitural machine again...so guys is Grsync the best way to go in Linux or is there something better because it's driving me  :crazy: .



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#2 Al1000

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 04:47 AM

I use rsync, which is the command line utility that Grsync is based on. I've never used Grsync but you can copy any directory with rsync, including of course your root directory. It would be advisable to do so however from a different operating system. so that temporary files that only exist while the operating system is being used, are not copied. Personally I use a Linux Puppy CD.
 
Here's a thread on rsync, and other back-up utilities which you may prefer.

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/594582/backing-up-linux/

#3 bob007

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Posted 15 November 2016 - 10:01 PM

Al1000,

 

Thanks for the info but doesn't seem to be anything that copies both files and the OS...which is what I want.  It's a shame software companies like Macrium...Aomei and others only choose Microsuck.

 

I'm told Grsync is the GUI version of rsync which is good for me as the terminal scares me and I like to see what's happening. I may have to settle for copying my Home Folder to an External HD...then Re-Installing the OS and copying it back. I'm going to try this on a spare HD with Mint 18 and see if it works.



#4 Al1000

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Posted 16 November 2016 - 11:53 AM

Thanks for the info but doesn't seem to be anything that copies both files and the OS...which is what I want.


rsync would do that. Here are a couple of others:

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/612761/aptik-move-your-linux-to-a-different-drive-or-computer/

http://clonezilla.org/

Clonezilla will probably be in your distro's software repositories.

#5 wizardfromoz

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 05:51 PM

Hi bob007, my comments highlighted amongst yours

 

 

In Windows I would create a system image every few months and store it on an external HD because we never know when disaster will strike and the worst being HD failure.  Before I created a System Image I would remove my music...pictures etc to reduce the size of the Image.

 

Ballpark figure from your historical, bob, roughly how many gigs are we talking here?

 


I have Systemback installed but this is only like System Restore in windows and useless if the Hard Drive fails from what I can see.

 

Flesh out for me your Systemback experience. I have used Systemback to generate an .iso from a full OS that was 224GB in size, down to an .iso 3.42 GB in size.

 

  I also tried Grsync which copied my Home Folder onto my External HD...I imagine I would have to Re-Install the OS and Grsync to copy my Home Folder back.  I would then have to Re-install Vituralbox and my vitural machine again...so guys is Grsync the best way to go in Linux or is there something better because it's driving me  :crazy: .

 

I haven't tried Grsync.

 

 

Also

 


 I may have to settle for copying my Home Folder to an External HD...then Re-Installing the OS and copying it back. I'm going to try this on a spare HD with Mint 18 and see if it works.

 

If you are prepared to follow that type of option, then my Tutorial on Aptik that Al has referred you to might be your cup of tea. And install Timeshift at the same time, if you wish. Timeshift has a well known function of being able to generate a System Snapshot for later restoration ala Windows Restore. Lesser known is its Cloning feature, but I have not used that for a couple of years and would need a refresher. Timeshift is built on top of ... no surprise ... the rsync command

 

 

 

Clonezilla has basically two options - one of generating a clone via low level sector by sector approach (destination drive or partition needs to be equal to or larger than source) or else an image that is considerably smaller and takes less time to map.

 

You can get a broad idea on some Clonezilla features with my old topic here http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/569522/cloningghostingsystem-imaging-taking-clonezilla-for-a-walk/   but it is verbose and full of chitchat and I have not worked on it in 11 months.

 

If you visit teejeetech.in - Tony George's website where he has Timeshift, Aptik, Conky Manager and other goodies, he used to say in that that BackINTime was a good product, also - I have not used that yet.

 

Hope this clarifies rather than confuses, lol.

 

Happy Sundays

 

:wizardball: Wizard


Edited by wizardfromoz, 19 November 2016 - 06:11 PM.


#6 bob007

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 05:54 PM

Hi Wizard,

 

My Win 7 HDD had 240GB of info which included the OS...creating an image reduced it to 190GB with compression.  I then put it on an external HDD for safe keeping...Win 7 also has three vitural machines too.

 

My Linux Mint HDD is 40GB...Systemback won't let me create an ISO because it must be under 4GB in size.  So I tried Timeshift and created a snapshot which is 9.4GB and stored it on my external HDD but haven't tried to re-install it yet.

 

I did read your article on clonezilla...so I won't be touching it...to me it's very confusing and more trouble than it's worth.  I used to clone my HDD as well but these days it's better to create a System Image...well it was till I came to Linux.

 

From what I've seen so far...everyone just wants to backup files which to me is not the way to go.  You have to re-install the OS...then in my case my vitural machines...Firefox and Google Chrome add ons and software that didn't come installed eg Google Chrome etc which is hard work.

Anyway I'm not giving up and will visit the website you mentioned and see what happens. :thumbup2:



#7 pcpunk

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Posted 21 November 2016 - 07:06 PM

bob007, Maybe some here will comment on "dd", because from what I read it this the way to go.  It's super versatile which allows you to do exactly what you want with your Backups.  I've studied up on it a little but still not sure 100% whether or not I would be able to execute a Restore with it.  Here is a link, but it doesn't begin to get into all the functions of "dd"

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/DriveImaging

 

Actually, this Wiki is pretty darn good, along with many others on the net.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dd_(Unix)

 

"To duplicate a disk partition as a disk image file on a different partition:"
dd if=/dev/sdb2 of=partition.image bs=4096 conv=noerror

The word "partition" in this case would be the Destination Storage Partition as I understand it, like "/dev/sdb1" instead of "partition" like below.

dd if=/dev/sdb2 of=/dev/sdb1.image bs=4096 conv=noerror

I would love to try this out my self soon but storage space is a little tight.  Would like to have one dedicated device for this.

 

Be careful though because the "dd" commands can Delete a drive if not done right.

 

Pcpunk


Edited by pcpunk, 22 November 2016 - 12:13 PM.

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#8 synaptic

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Posted 25 November 2016 - 07:48 AM

At one time or another I have used all of the methods mentioned by wizardfromoz  ( excellent advice as usual ! ) and a few more besides .

Clonezilla and Redo are definitely much less beginner friendly than Timeshift and Aptik , which I use weekly BTW .

Sure it's a bit of a learning curve getting started with Linux backups , but after a little practice , it's a breeze !

The "dd method " certainly works , but as mentioned above by pcpunk , it is all too easy to make a disastrous mistake .

​I use it to make a separate regular backup of my personal files ( always kept apart from my other Linux backups ).

@wizardfromoz

Many thanks for posting the link to teejeetech , that is a very useful Linux resource !


Edited by synaptic, 25 November 2016 - 07:57 AM.


#9 cat1092

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 05:04 AM

I've always used Macrium Reflect Free version, which can be installed on the Windows side of the computer, or a Windows computer with the same bit version as the installed Linux OS. :)

 

No more sector to sector images needed, my backup images of W10 & Linux Mint 18 root & small Swap are just over 30GB after compression. This same software can be used to clone an existing Linux install to another HDD/SSD, and out of the three times I've tried, hit the jackpot! Same with restoring a backup image recently, I can say this, it took a lot less time to restore LM 10 than W10, this is because while the file structure is saved, only the actual data is compressed. Say good bye to having a 1TiB HDD to image a 1TiB Linux install, and store only a single backup image.

 

With Macrium Reflect on Windows, one can have many images of dual booting computers (or just Linux) on a single 1TiB HDD. If any of you wants to continue to mess with the yesteryear's 'sector to sector' that wastes significant drive space, that one's choice to do so. 

 

Being a lazy LInux & Windows user, as well as liking to keep lots of backup images on hand on a single drive that can be restored in minutes, I choose Macrium Reflect for my needs. Remember, it has to be installed on a Windows computer, create the media with a CD, or choose to create an ISO file to a folder & create a bootable USB stick with Rufus, then use to backup/restore & clone. Note that to create the WinPE rescue media, a 300-500MB file will be required, which comes from Microsoft, Macrium automatically downloads this file & needed components to build the media.

 

http://filehippo.com/download_macrium_reflect/

 

Rufus for creating the USB stick with the WinPE image with the ISO file below. Many uses this to create Linux install media. :)

 

http://rufus.akeo.ie/

 

Make it easy on one's self & have lots of room for many more backups on the same drive with one app. If it didn't work, I wouldn't have recommended the software. :thumbsup:

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#10 cat1092

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 05:21 AM

Al1000,

 

Thanks for the info but doesn't seem to be anything that copies both files and the OS...which is what I want.  It's a shame software companies like Macrium...Aomei and others only choose Microsuck.

 

I'm told Grsync is the GUI version of rsync which is good for me as the terminal scares me and I like to see what's happening. I may have to settle for copying my Home Folder to an External HD...then Re-Installing the OS and copying it back. I'm going to try this on a spare HD with Mint 18 and see if it works.

 

The latter part does work and is exactly how I perform new installs. Simply create a folder in a external, open it, then drag & drop each main folder with content into it. Then after install, reattach the drive, look at the folders in there, and delete the ones with the same name on the OS, and you're good to go. No lost data. :)

 

To further ensure you don't lose browser data, including bookmarks & extensions, sign into the browser & allow to sync beforehand, and then again after install. Now all of your personal data is restored. :thumbsup:

 

I do it that way because I have several virtual machines, and don't trust any other method to save & reinstall these. In fact, I also backup my virtual machines once a month in this manner, and more often with Documents. Note that on my desktop PC's, I keep /home on a dedicated HDD for Linux Mint, root & small Swap on SSD. On notebooks, will install everything to a SSD. It's easy to find adapters to replace the optical drive to a SSD bay, and use the reliable JacobsParts brand found on eBay with free shipping, most are under $12, just make sure to get the right size for your computer (common sizes are 12.7 & 9mm). A $5 cable can be used to use the optical drive if needed on USB 2.0 port, the cost for a like USB 3.0 cable costs $3 to 5 more. 

 

Good Luck! :)

 

Cat


Edited by cat1092, 26 November 2016 - 05:26 AM.

Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#11 bob007

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 12:09 AM

Hi cat1092,

 

I also have used Macrium Reflect Free in Windows for several years too...but when I tried it on my Mint 18 test HDD I got a much larger image file eg 33GB turned into a 124GB image...which I did not restore because it doesn't happen in Windows...it goes the other way with compression.

 

So I started trying all this Linux software which just didn't do what I wanted...this software either backs up files or creates a system restore point.  The only software that came close was Aptik...but it doesn't backup Google Chrome...Mint updates that were already installed and Vituralbox.  If the HDD failed I would have to re-install the OS on a new HDD...then Aptik...and restore the image from my external HDD...plus the software Aptik wouldn't.

 

My Vitural machines are safe because I have them saved on my external HDD as .OVA files and I just have to import them back...but I still have to do it.  So what do I do now...after much thought I decided to try Macrium again but this time I will restore the image and see how big the restored file is.

 

So creating a System Image to my external HDD took 1hr 30mins (I always verify the image which takes longer) then I restored the image to my test HDD which took 1hr 3mins.  The strange thing is...when I checked the size of the HDD after restoring the image it was exactly the same size as it was before :censored: now I'm really confused...but happy I've found a way to backup everything on my system. :thumbup2: 

 

Before I started testing...I needed another HDD so as not to stuff up my good Mint 18...Zorin and Win 7 HDDs.  I have an old computer (7yrs) which I installed Zorin on some time ago.  This computer's motherboard is socket 775...DDR2 and 32bit.  Took out this HDD and put it in my good computer which is socket 1150...DDR3 and 64bit and it booted straight into Zorin and worked perfectly. 

 

Now as we all know...this would never happen in Windows because all you get is the blue screen of death and it doesn't boot. Years ago I was told it's because every computers hardware is different etc etc...but I now know the real reason...Microsuck wont let you...just another reason and there are many to switch to Linux.



#12 wizardfromoz

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Posted 27 November 2016 - 01:23 AM

Hi bob007, I find your journeys as outlined here quite uplifting. It is good to see that you are on the face of it quite capable of working out any teething problems with the adoption of Linux as your preferred OS.

 

Zorin is a good starting point for Linux - OS9 was my 2nd Linux used, after Ubuntu 'Unity' 14.04 and before Linux Mint 17.0 'Qiana' with the MATE DE (desktop environment).

 

If you are ever in need of finding an alternative to Windows software, whether Macrium or other, you could make alternativeto.net your friend. Just Google up eg "alternative to MS Office" &c, and it will usually rank in the top few places. There are indicators that inform whether the alternative is platform-specific, or cross-platform, and which OSes.

 

Not everything can be found which exactly matches your requirements right down to the look and feel, and functionality, but Linux is coming up with alternatives even as I write this Post, lol.

 

As for

 

 

...just another reason and there are many to switch to Linux.

 

Join the club :thumbup2:

 

:wizardball:  Wizard



#13 bob007

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 05:58 PM

Hi Wizard,

 

Thanks for the nice comments and your help and others too.  I now have a plan...I'll use Timeshift to create a snapshot every month or so and Macrium every few months for a System Image...in this way I'm fully covered.  I don't think I mentioned that I have a Desktop computer...with it I can run three HDDs eg Mint...Zorin and Win 7 and is so much faster than a laptop.

 

As for an alternative to Windows software...I don't need very much because Linux has most of what I need and I now use Libre Office instead of M$ Office.  I have my Win 7 Vitural machine running the free software that doesn't run on Linux eg Rufus...imgburn and my Printer...it's not connected to the net so it's safe.

 

  I had planed to run Linux fulltime when Microsuck pulls support for win 7 in 2020 but I haven't run win 7 for over a month and don't miss it...especially the spyware and malware Microsuck is forcing down people's throats so this might be the time to give windows the flick.  :bananas:  :thumbup2:


Edited by bob007, 28 November 2016 - 07:12 PM.


#14 wizardfromoz

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 11:31 PM

Hi Bob, your plan sounds sound (bad stutter?)

 

Given your Virtual setup, if you have a registered copy of Windozy you can always throw one on if you need it.

 

Since you know where you are headed, this Topic will likely wind down, but they remain open (other than for a good reason to lock it) so that if you have something new on Topic, you can revisit it, and so that future generations of users can ask questions of the same ilk.

 

Looking forward to seeing you around Linux & Unix for some time, :thumbup2:

 

:wizardball: Wizard

 

From "The Collective Sayings of a Wizard": Every oyster does not house a pearl, but the pearls which can be harvested through Linux exceed those of any other OS. And heck, I love oysters ... works for me.






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