Complete backup of Linux install

Michael Torrie torriem at
Mon Nov 21 11:07:38 MST 2005

On Mon, 2005-11-21 at 10:59 -0700, Kenneth Burgener wrote:
> I want to make a complete backup image of my Linux Server install.  Is 
> there a suggested tool for this?  I want be able to at any point wipe 
> the system out and get my system running quickly with the backup image.
> Will Symantec Norton Ghost 10.0 this?  I noticed I could get Norton 
> Ghost for free after rebates today [1], and am trying to decide if this 
> is a good option for what I am trying to do.
> I am sure someone will suggest something like using "dd" to make the 
> image, but I am not sure I want to store a 50GB image of the entire 
> disk, when the OS, applications, and data combined only take 700MB.  I 
> think I have heard that there are imaging tools that will just backup 
> actually used bytes on the disk instead of the entire disk, including 
> empty free space.

One way to back up such a small amount of data would to make a 4 GB
ext3-formated file image, then loopback mount it and rsync your entire
disk to the image.  Then burn the image directly to a DVD.  When you
want to restore, format the drive with the partition structure you want
and then mount the DVD and copy the entire contents to the new disk.
Then you have to make sure fstab is correct and just reinstall grub.
Reinstalling grub is usually a matter of booting knoppix, chrooting to
your disk and running "grub-install."

> I also have a Windows desktop that I need to backup, so a tool that will 
> do both Linux and Windows images would be best.

One of my grips has always been that you can't just do a file-by-file
backup and expect it to boot like you can with linux.  So this method
definitely won't work for it.


> Suggestions would be very much appreciated.
> Kenneth
> [1] 
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Michael Torrie <torriem at>

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