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Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Good Way to Make Backups

This post is just to meant to remind me when I forget my backup procedure.  While most people would suggest a tool like Macrium Reflect, those tools need to run in an OS and often run very slowly.  Moreover, such tools often can only backup one operating system; many of them end up breaking dual boot systems and cannot even backup Linux systems properly.
My favorite option is combining two extremely powerful tools: Clonezilla (this tool can even perform network wide backups) and GParted.
To start off, download Clonezilla and use any tool of your preference to burn Clonezilla and GParted to a USB - this process creates the bootable USB.  Also, make sure you have a backup drive available.  Any drive that has more storage than the amount of data you have used up is fine (avoid large flash drives, SSDs, and SSHDs though).  Personally, I prefer to get a hard drive with the same dimensions as the hard drive bays in the computer; this way, I can easily swap drives when something goes wrong and clone the working backup onto the corrupted old drive.

Then, shutdown your computer, open the BIOS/UEFI settings, and set your computer to boot from the Live USB with Clonezilla.  Choose the default (usually the first one listed) boot settings when Clonezilla brings up the boot menu.

Next, select the appropriate language and do not change the keymap when prompted.  Then, do not enter console; simply just start Clonezilla. Make sure to choose device to device afterwards - this method will create a full hard-drive clone.  Afterwards, make sure to choose expert mode; this mode will give us the ability to create partitions proportionally, which is extremely beneficial if your back up drive is not the same size as your current drive.  Additionally, make sure you choose disk to disk as the method of cloning; REMEMBER TO PICK THE CORRECT LOCAL AND SOURCE DRIVES WHEN PROMPTED.
Then, use the space bar to select icds when the advanced mode menu pops up and select k1 when the extra parameter table pops up.

Afterwards, you can choose what Clonezilla should do after cloning and agree to the next few prompts (please check your source and destination drives - Clonezilla will double check with you here).  Once you have completed these steps, cloning should begin; the time it takes depends on the amount of data you have, but it should be relatively fast (a few hours maximum).
After the clone, you should have a working backup.  Clonezilla has worked on all my multiboot systems so far (Linux with Windows, Hackintosh with Linux with Windows, Linux with some new experimental OS, Windows with another version of Windows); the other hard drive backup software I used before do not work as well as Clonezilla.
Once your current drive becomes corrupted, you can use GParted to transfer your last working backup onto the corrupted drive.

Simply boot up GParted (or any other Linux distro that comes with GParted) and copy and paste over all the partitions (right click on the partitions in the bottom half of the user interface).  Again, please select the correct drives as source and destination.
I hope this guide will help you learn to make successful backups.  Making backups are extremely important, especially when you undertake large scale projects.  They can help you recover very quickly from broken drives, corrupted OSes, and even viruses.



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