Clonezilla partition clone and backup tool

Warehouse Manager

The next screen lets you tell Clonezilla where to store the image. Also, you have the option of opening up a connection to an SSH, Samba, or NFS server (the "Networker" box tells you where to go from there). If you are backing up your home PC, you will probably want to store the image on a second disk or on a USB drive. In this case, select the first option local_dev. If you prefer to use an external USB drive or a stick, plug in the device, wait for about five seconds for Linux to detect it, and then press Enter. Clonezilla then searches all the storage media it can find, and you can select the partition on which you will be storing the image. Make sure you don't select the partition you want to back up!


If you would like to store the image on a server, your own computer first needs a valid IP address. Clonezilla can either request an IP address from a DHCP server, or you can type in a static address. Alternatively, you can use PPPoE to set up a (DSL) connection.

Next you'll need to enter the domain name or IP address of the server. If this is a Samba server, Clonezilla will still prompt you for the domain. If you choose an SSH server, you will need to enter the port instead; in both cases, the defaults are typically okay. Then Clonezilla needs the name of the user authorized to access the server, followed by the full path of the subdirectory in which you will be storing the image server side. Say yes to the first screen and, if you are setting up an SSH connection, say yes again to accept the SSH key. Now type the password for the user you previously specified.

Clonezilla then mounts the selected partition in /home/partition and simply refers to the mountpoint in all other dialogs. You have no chance to check the target medium or to change it.

Your next task is to set the subdirectory in which Clonezilla will be storing the image. When you press Enter, you will be shown exactly how much free space you have on the target medium (Figure 4).

Figure 4: The target partition for the image /dev/hdb1 is completely empty and has 32GB free disk space (Avail column).

To save space, Clonezilla only saves sectors with data and additionally compresses the results. This will only work with known filesystems, such as NTFS, FAT32, or Ext3. Clonezilla will save any unknown filesystems as-is; in the worst case, the image will be exactly the same size as the original partition. This applies in particular to more recent filesystems such as Btrfs. Having more free space on your backup partition than on the original partition is a good idea. If you are sure you have enough space, press Enter to continue.

Modus Operandi

Next, set Clonezilla to Beginner mode. Except for special situations, you will not need the optional Expert mode (for example, if you need to influence how the image is created because you experience issues, or if you need to change the compression method Clonezilla uses).

The next menu gives you four options: Clonezilla can store a partition in an image file (saveparts) or vice-versa (i.e., restore a partition from an existing image, restoreparts). You can also store the whole disk in an image (savedisk) or restore a full backup (restoredisk).

To back up your system partition, select the second of these items, saveparts (as shown in Figure 5), and enter a name for the backup (this is the name for the backup, but not for the image file). You can overwrite the default values of date and hour. Clonezilla then prompts you to choose the partitions to store in the image. Press the Space key to select your backup candidates. Figure 6 simply backs up the system partition on the first hard disk (hda1).

Figure 5: "saveparts" creates an image from an existing partition.
Figure 6: The asterisk indicates that Clonezilla will be backing up the first partition on the first hard disk.

Note that the partitions in the list must not be mounted. After confirming your choices, press Enter to run the command shown in green on your screen.

Starter's Gun

To be on the safe side, Clonezilla shows you – in bright yellow letters – which partitions it will be backing up and where (Figure 7).

Figure 7: Clonezilla is backing up the content of the first partition hda1 as 2009-06-22-11-img.

Now press y to confirm these details and Clonezilla will immediately get on with its work. Depending on the size of the partition you are backing up, this can take several minutes. The line at the bottom of the screen (Figures 8 and 9) gives you a progress indicator.

Figure 8: The bottom line gives you a progress check for the backup …
Figure 9: The Clonezilla screen looks slightly different for a restore operation.

Clonezilla will not write the partition to an enormous file; instead, it automatically splits the image up into chunks of 2GB each. The chunks, garnished with some additional information, are dumped into a subdirectory with the name of the backup. Incidentally, Clonezilla does not use internal tools to create the image, but will leave this task to popular command-line programs, including partclone, ntfsclone, and dd.

Once Clonezilla has created the image, it simply quits. When you press Enter, you can choose to switch off the computer, trigger a reset, change to the command line, or restart Clonezilla. To do so, press 3.

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