Hard Disk Backup Question

Ralph De Witt rdewitt001 at tampabay.rr.com
Fri Nov 16 16:12:33 UTC 2007

On Friday 16 November 2007 09:23:24 am Bill Davidsen wrote:
> Ralph De Witt wrote:
> > Hi All:
> > I have a Dell Inspiron E1705 Computer with a 80 gig hard drive. I also
> > have a Western Digital 500 gig My Book External USB Hard Drive attached.
> > I would like to Back up the entire hard drive to a partition on the
> > external drive. I have very little knowledge of how to do this. I have
> > always backed up to a CD individual files after a data loss. I thought a
> > auto backup routine would work, but the computer may not be on when the
> > backup would be scheduled, and the external hard drive partition do not
> > seem to want to auto mount so that would not work. I am using the kde
> > desk top. Could some one add to my knowledge and help me out? TIA
> If you want to make a backup of the physical hard drive, such that you
> could just replace the drive with an identical drive and recreate it,
> you need to boot from a CD, such as the Fedora rescue CD, and just copy
> the contents. Assuming that the external drive is sdb, mounted on
> /mnt/external (for example):
>    dd if=/dev/sda bs-1M | gzip -3 >/mnt/external/2007-10-04-1410-image.gz
> Note that the image must be restored to an identical hard drive, since
> it's an image of the whole disk. It might work on a larger drive, but
> you might not use, or even have access to, the whole drive.
> There are various utilities to do this, g4u being popular. This has some
> of the same limitations, but is easy to use. Because it's based on
> netBSD (AFAIK) the drivers are not identical, but it can backup over a
> network using ftp.
> There are commercial products which do this, use Google, I haven't used
> any in several years and can't suggest.
> Finally, you can backup the contents of the critical data (or all files)
> using programs like rsync, or using tar, cpio, or star. These require
> manual partitioning of a replacement drive, restore, and rerunning grub
> by hand, but offer more flexibility.
> You can also put an incremental backup program call in your shutdown
> sequence, to be sure you back up anything you have done in a current
> session.
> Hope that's a useful overview of the possibilities, I'm not sure just
> what features you need, and there's always a tradeoff between
> convenience of restoring a single lost file and that of restoring
> everything.
> --
> Bill Davidsen <davidsen at tmr.com>
>    "We have more to fear from the bungling of the incompetent than from
> the machinations of the wicked."  - from Slashdot
Bill and Robert:
Thanks for your reply's. I have limited knowledge in this area having only 
copied files to cd after a loss of data. Was thinking along the lines of a 
whole disk image, with some sort of daily/weekly update to it. How ever if 
and when this drive dies I would replace with a larger one, so that is a 
problem. Perhaps the best solution is to use Kbackup from root and do the 
whole drive weekly. It makes a date/timed 4.5 GB tar file of my Hard Drive as 
I have 77 GB allocated, I could have several of these for restoring. Again 
thank you for your help.

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