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Thread: Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

  1. #1
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    Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

    I have done some research on this topic but most resources are outdated. What I am trying to do is setup either Ubuntu, Lubuntu, or Puppy Linux and then back it up as an iso file so I can install it on multiple computers. The reason is I am going to be updating lots of friends and family members old Windows XP computers, and will be doing some serious themeing to help them get used to Linux. I would rather do this once instead of 10+ times.

    Any way to do this? Preferable easy with no terminal work but I'll do what I have to.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Newcastle NE (England)
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    Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn

    Re: Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

    Would it not be easier just to clone your hdd drive this has helped me save a lot of time in the past here's a quick tutorial http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/19141...buntu-live-cd/. Hope this helps

  3. #3
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    Re: Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

    So how do I transport this new drive? use a DVD/Flashdrive?

  4. #4
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    Re: Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

    If you want them to be identical installations you can clone the original install with fsarchiver and restore it to different targeted machines.

    Unlike clonezilla it doesn't have restrictions on the size of the target as long as it is big enough to hold the contents so it is ideal for installing to different machines with varying hard drive capacities. (clozilla requires that the target partition has to be >= the originally one even if the original one is mostly empty, so it may be good for backup purpose but not very good if you want to restore to other machines or external drives where the size of the partitions may well be smaller)

    It doesn't make .isos, but archives called .fsa files. However it is fast and easy to use and very reliable, I have used it for such purpose with great success (except for Fedora it is a bit tricky..)

    You can run fsarchiver even when you are using your computer (use the options -a and -A : sudo fsarchiver -a -A savefs ...) So you can install fsarchiver in the machine you want to clone, create the clone with it and store the .fsa file in an external storage. Make a Ubuntu live usb with fsarchiver installed for restoring to other machines,--so need to make the live usb with persistence, or alternatively get the rescue cd with fsarchiver following the links in the fsarchiver website, see link below. Boot the targeted machine off the live usb, then attach the storage where the .fsa file is and run fsarchiver in the live usb to restore the .fsa to the target machine.

    http://www.fsarchiver.org/Main_Page
    Last edited by monkeybrain20122; February 9th, 2014 at 02:23 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

    Oh okay, this seems better, so I just use fsarchiver to install it onto the new computer or do I use a different program for that?

  6. #6
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    Re: Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

    See my edit.

  7. #7
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    Re: Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

    Okay, thanks

  8. #8
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    Re: Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

    To save you some time from reading the manual, there are only two commands you need.
    To clone /dev/sda1 without directories A and B:
    Code:
    sudo fsarchiver -v -jn -zn -a -A savefs /path/to/storage/backup.fsa /dev/sda1 --exclude=directory_A --exclude=directory_B
    Here -jn is the number of thread used, n= 2.. etc. -zn is the compression level, n can be 2, 3 etc. see fsarchiver's quickstart guide to find the level that suits you. /path/to/storage.. is the path to the storage device where you want to save the .fsa file which is called "backup.fsa" here. -a and -A if you want to clone drives which are currently mounted and running. If you are cloning drives that are not mounted (say you clone with the live usb booting off your original machine) then you don't need them. -v for verbose, it is good to have outputs on the terminals or I get nervous. --exclude=.. are optional for you to exclude directories. For examples, --exclude=Downloads --exclude=Music etc. In terminal type man fsarchiver for options.

    To restore clone to sda2 in same or other machines
    Code:
    sudo fsarchiver -v -jn restfs /path/to/storage/backup.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/sda2
    Edited: if your usb driver for making the live usb is big enough to hold your .fsa file you won't need an additional storage device. Just make an extra partition in your usb drive for that purpose (I would format it to ext4 but it shouldn't matter as long as it supports the partition size,--FAT doesn't e.g)
    Last edited by monkeybrain20122; February 9th, 2014 at 03:16 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Statham,GA USA
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

    Thank you, I'm glad I found this. You're pretty smart for a monkeybrain.

    Can you copy backup.fsa to a large USB stick and use it to install multiple machines?

  10. #10
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    Re: Backup my current setup as an iso file for multiple installs

    Quote Originally Posted by bc.haynes View Post
    Thank you, I'm glad I found this. You're pretty smart for a monkeybrain.

    Can you copy backup.fsa to a large USB stick and use it to install multiple machines?
    Yeah. But if you format your usb stick to FAT it will only support 4 Gs, so format it to Ext4, e.g. If you have a large usb stick you can make a small FAT partition for a live usb with persistence where you install fsarchiver and a large partition to hold the .fsa file.

    I don't use a usb for this as I have a full blown Ubuntu installation on an external driver which I boot off different machines. I install fsarchiver there and use it to clone and restore other Linux installs and simply store the .fsas in the Downloads dirctory there, but idea is the same.
    Last edited by monkeybrain20122; February 9th, 2014 at 03:41 AM.

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