View Full Version : [ubuntu] How to Backup Current Ubuntu to another HDD?

May 4th, 2011, 08:37 AM

I am going to dist-upgrade my 10.10 installation to 11.04, but as precaution, I would like to replicate my existing installation onto another hard disk and perform the dist-upgrade there.

When I am in booted into my current 10.10 installation, the hard disk (MBR, 4GB) is partitioned as such:

/dev/sda1 - /boot
/dev/sda2 - swap
/dev/sda3 - /

I have an empty hard disk (MBR, 10GB) connected to the PC, and I partitioned to have a similar layout.

/dev/sdb1 - /boot
/dev/sdb2 - swap
/dev/sdb3 - /

Since the 2 HDDs are of different sizes, I made /dev/sdb3 larger.

My question is: what is the easiest way to create a backup of my current working Ubuntu onto my secondary hard disk?

I hope to perform the backup while booted into my existing 10.10 system; or I have no other choices but to boot from a LiveCD (e.g. Clonezilla) for backup?

Thank you!

May 4th, 2011, 10:47 AM
It is good that you are careful, but the best you can do is a fresh install of 11.04 on the small hard drive.

Don't do dist-upgrades, not even with a backup at hand.

Gas Addict
May 4th, 2011, 10:54 AM
I'm looking to do the same thing but with a twist. I am trying to copy my current Ubuntu 11.04 install (which is on a 10GB partition) to my 16GB USB flash drive.

The Ubuntu is on /dev/sda5 and the USB flash drive is /dev/sdb1.

When I use dd to backup the Ubuntu install to the USB flash drive it works, but I am unable to boot from it.

This is the command I'm using

dd if=/dev/sda5 of=/dev/sdb1 bs=1024

Could anyone help me get it to boot? Thank you.

May 4th, 2011, 02:22 PM
Don't do dist-upgrades, not even with a backup at hand.

What could possibly go wrong even if I have my backup? At the worst, I'll just bork one copy and the backup still remains healthy and usable. That is precisely the point of the backup.

May 4th, 2011, 02:59 PM
Nothing goes wrong with regards to data loss, but the process is long and risky compared to a fresh install.

You will get the best impression of 11.04 when installed from scratch.

May 4th, 2011, 03:53 PM
I had been doing that - fresh installations instead of dist upgrades - since Hardy, and I wish to try something different. Think of it as a learning experience, rather than for practical purposes.

So on this note, let's get back to the topic. Any ideas from the rest?

Gas Addict
May 5th, 2011, 12:06 AM
I'm not sure if you can be logged into your system while you're backing up unless you use something that copies files instead of actually does a low-level system backup of every byte on the drive.

I would use the dd command from a liveUSB or liveCD. It's really easy to use.

dd if=source partition of=target partition bs=1024

if stands for input file and you can make it /dev/sda1 and your target would be /dev/sdb1 . You could just do that for all three of your partitions and you would have an exact copy of your current setup on your second drive.