Not sure if it's what your looking for exsactly, but I use dd and 7za (7-zip) to image and backup my hard drive - this saves the drive exactly as it is - mbr, partition etc bit for bit?
It takes quite a while obviously, so I do it on a sunday - I used to use an ubuntu live cd, but I've lately been using a puppy install on my hdd - just boot it up, make sure to unmount all partitions, I tend to swapoff also, mount the back up drive at /backup (I created this to recuce errors then I use
I should point out that this method does require the 7za package to create the ultra small 7zip file - this isn't installed by default on most llinux distros, so if you want maximum ease of restoring your drive, use bzip2 the compression ratio is almost as good and it is supported out of the box by all linux distos. to do this you'd obviously get rid of the zda command and change the tar command to
dd if=/dev/sda conv=sync,noerror bs=64K | tar cf /backup/newhddimage.img | 7za a -si /backup/newhddimage.img.tar.7z
Just to break down the command I've given you ->
tar cjf /backup/newhddimage.img.tar.bz2
dd - copys the drive /dev/sda block by block - the conv=sync,noerror is just incase there's any errors on your drive. bs is the block size, I've seen this also set as low as 1K, but the tutorial I originaly used advised 64k to speed up the process (it's the bit I'm not certain of so I left alone!)
| - this symbol means take the output of that action and do this
tar - whatever compresion format you use, when backing up your hard drive it's really important to use tar as it stores the owner/group info.
7za - as I say this creats the z-zip compresson and you may not want this.
I also tend to keep a hard drive copy on online storage, and whilst I can easily store the image on adrive, I get stuck for maximum file sizes, so I then split the outputted file with the split command once a month.
This splits the already compressed image up into little 600Mb parts that are easy to upload and dont hit Adrives 2gb upload limit, and can be burned to cd. I could set the size for the parts as 2GB with "--bytes2G"
split --bytes600M -d newhddimage.img.tar.bz2 newharddriveimage
Was this the kind of info you meant? I hope it helps, One very important disclaimer - I'm currently on a Windows machine and have rewritten these commands from memory with the help of man pages online - DO NOT stick them into your terminal - be sure to understand them by reading the man pages for DD and TAR atleast before you use them.
Never use a command you don't understand