Data backups, images, and more with Qt4-fsarchiver

Images

Qt4-fsarchiver can clone entire hard drives or SSDs on request. In the Actions menu select the Clone Harddrive, create/restore disk image entry. In the window that opens (Figure 5), the software shows the mass storage devices. Select the hard disk or SSD to clone, specify the destination drive, and then click the Clone Harddrive button at the bottom right in the window.

Figure 5: With a few clicks of the mouse, users can clone a mass storage device or create an image.

If you want to generate an image file of a mass storage device, select the Image of a hard disk to create radio button in the same window and choose the source drive and the file path where you want Qt4-fsarchiver to store the image. Then, click on Create harddrive image at bottom right. In the same window, you can also restore an existing image on a mass storage device by selecting the Image of a hard disk write back option. The corresponding dialogs do not offer any further selection options, such as the number of cores or encryption mechanisms. The program does compress the images, however.

Data Recovery

To restore a backup, got to the Actions menu and select the Restore partition entry. The program now shows same dialog as when creating a backup, but grays out irrelevant boxes and automatically enables the option Restore partition with fsarchiver.

If you encrypted the backup, you must enter the associated key in the Decrypt backup key box. Again, you then define how many processor cores Qt4-fsarchiver should use to decrypt. In the last step, specify the target partition and enter the relevant file name in the Name the backup file box. For the restore, the target partition must be unmounted; otherwise, the software cannot restore any data.

Apart from this, Qt4-fsarchiver is very flexible: For example, the target partition can be formatted with a different filesystem than the original source. The program easily restores the data to the new partition, restoring the original formatting in the process. Also, restoring the data to a smaller partition than the original source drive works. You obviously need to make sure that the uncompressed data will fit in the smaller target partition. The fact that Qt4-fsarchiver stores a small text file containing statistical data with each backup is a very useful feature: This information helps you determine the original footprint of the uncompressed data.

You restore individual directories or restore a backup from a remote computer in the same way; the dialogs are similar to those for backing up. You can launch the routines via Actions | Restore partition restore over a network or Actions | Restore directory. The program shows you the restored backup files continuously in a list window. If Qt4-fsarchiver is unable to restore one or more files, it ignores them and continues restoring the next file.

Live Variant

The Live Qt4-fsarchiver CD is primarily used to back up Windows machines and restore them after a failure or loss of data. You can also deploy it for cases in which you want to restore a backed up partition on a drive that normally would be mounted in the filesystem in stationary operation.

In addition to the backup software, the Live medium provides two useful tools for detecting rootkits under Linux in the form of the RootKit Hunter (rkhunter) [4] and chkrootkit [5] programs. Fortunately, the developers of the Live version eliminated anything that did not focus on the specific purpose of the system. Therefore, the Unity user interface is amazingly clean and can be used immediately, even by novices (Figure 6).

Figure 6: The Live version is limited to meaningful software and very clear-cut compared with Ubuntu.

The classic program menu in the top panel is missing. The start menu is arranged vertically on the left edge of the screen and mainly offers launchers for file and disk management software: You will thus also find GParted and a System Profiler in the menu next to Qt4-fsarchiver. You can also run the Terminal to access the command-line tools without going through a menu.

The Live version also does not support all filesystems. For example, the Live medium will not run on systems manufacturer by Apple that use the HFS and HFS+ filesystems. The Live version is not suitable for BSD derivatives with the ZFS filesystem. However, no functional restrictions are expected in heterogeneous environments with current Microsoft operating systems or Linux-only networks.

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