Get yourself some Disk Imaging software.... (1 Viewer)


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  • November 23, 2004
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    LastMar said:
    So what you're saying is, you can create a backup of an NTFS partition as an image file,
    YES, but only to a 2nd machine via network or to another local disk having FAT32- Format.

    LastMar said:
    and you can then restore that image as NTFS,
    LastMar said:
    but you can't save the image file on an NTFS partition in the meantime?
    Yes, no image file to a local NTFS- disk. But you can make a copy of the NTFS- partitin to another ( free ) local NTFS- partition. So no image FILE, but a complete clone.

    Writing to USB sticks should be no problem, they are recognized as local disk on Linux. I will try that at home tonight ( I'm at office right now :wink: )

    I will write and post a HOWTO in the next days here. So please be patient.

    Thanks all.


    Retired Team Member
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  • April 7, 2005
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    I used many image tools in my job - acronis trueimage is definetly the best windows tool as ghost often produces non working images if ntfs volumes were "uncleanly" shutdown.

    If there are filesystem errors go for knoppix or any other linux live cd (C't bundles recovery linux cds with commercial ntfs drivers sometimes) and use "dd" as it copy sectorwhise..


    Portal Pro
    November 17, 2004
    Also, I don't see any reason you couldn't copy that image file to a remote NTFS-formatted drive over a network... So yea, make that writeup, this would be extremely useful to me. Ghost does the job, but it's always nice to try something new...


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    HowTo use LINUX for Cloning/Saving disks and Partitions

    here’s some information on how to save/ clone disks and partitions using LINUX as a helper.

    Needless to say, that all tools described here are for free.

    What you need:

    A Live LINUX i.e. a LINUX which is able to boot from CD and has no interference with your current harddisk. I used KNOPPIX available from in various languages. Other distributions might also be available from SUSE,REDHAT,UBUNTU, ...

    If you want to copy/clone via network and your receiver is a WIN32- system then you also need some UNIX- commands for WIN32. You need ‚netcat‘ and ‚cat‘. Netcat is available as nc.exe all over the net, cat.exe can be used from a sourceforge project which I currently do not remember. For convenience, I have copied them all together into one archive and you can get them from here:

    As said, you only need netcat.exe, cat.exe and perhaps md4sum.exe for creating checksums.

    Assuming the disk/partition does have an NTFS- filesystem, we use ‚ntfsclone‘ as our preferred program. If you have FAT system, use ‚dd‘ ( disk doubler) instead. Watch out, dd has different options than "ntfsclone".

    Cloning/ transfer via network:
    On the machine containing the disk/partition, boot the live LINUX. If you use KNOPPIX, at the command prompt start with "knoppix dma". This speeds up the disk access. If you forgot, get a root shell via TUX-icon -> root–shell. Then enter

    "hdparm –d1 /dev/hda" resp. /dev/hdb . This has the same effect.

    If you have a DHCP –server runnning in the net, you‘re done with the network configuration. Otherwise go to TUX icon -> network/internet ->netcard admin ( or similar ) or enter "netcardconfig" in the shell. You are then guided through the network configuration dialogue. To determine your address assigned to you by DHCP enter "ifconfig".

    Disk enumeration:
    LINUX enumerates disc and partitions in a different way than WIN32. The first disk is /dev/hda, the second /dev/hdb. Partitions are numbered like /dev/hda1 for the first a.s.o., They are not numbered consecutively, so go to the disk icons on the LINUX- desktop and the tooltip will tell you the device, a double click will show you the contents. Thus you recognize the disc. Close this window before you proceed, as it is 'auto-mounted‘ and might disturb the cloning to that disk.

    Preparation on the client:
    The client is the receiver of the disk image. Let’s assume it’s a WIN32 machine.

    Unzip the from above into a directory, open a shell ( the cmd – prompt ) there and enter

    "netcat –l –p 5000 >image.img"

    On XP open the firewall port 5000 as windows tells you. You can use any other port than 5000. That’s it on the client side.
    On the server side with the booted LINUX:

    Assuming we want to clone/ copy the first system partition on the first disk:
    In the root shell ( hopefully still open) , enter:

    "ntfsclone –s –o - /dev/hda1 | netcat <client-ip-adress> 5000"
    Watch the single dash ‚-‚ before /dev/... . It simply means copy the contents of /dev/hda to stdout where netcat is waiting for the input to transfer it over the network.

    That’s it. Now watch ntfsclone and the network working.
    If ntfsclone says "syncing..." then it’s ready and you can stop the process with CTRL-C. Also the "netcat" on the client will stop then.

    Restoral via network:
    SERVER: The machine holding the drive to be restored, boot the LINUX as described above. If you do not know the IP– adress just enter "ifconfig" in some shell.

    Then to restore:
    "netcat –l –p 5000 | ntfsclone –r –O /dev/hda1 –"

    Also watch the dash at the end.

    CLIENT: The WIN32 holding the formerly saved file

    In the shell enter
    cat image.img | netcat <ip-of-the-server> 5000

    That’s it.

    Creating partitions:

    If your target disk did not contain a MBR or is not partitioned yet, use LINUX utilities ‚qtparted‘ or 'cfdisk'. "qtparted" has some nice GUI and is also able to change the size of NTFS – partitions.

    Installing MBR:
    To boot from a blank disk, make the system partition bootable within "qtparted".To install a MBR use the command:

    "install-mbr /dev/hda1"

    Or use the XP- repair console : "fixmbr"

    Professionells do "on the fly" - compression:
    The receiver gets the same command, but the file should get some different naming:
    "netcat –l –p 5000 >image.img.gz"

    The sender makes the compression before it is transferred ‚over the wire‘:

    "ntfsclone –s –o - /dev/hda1 | gzip –9 | netcat <target-ip> 5000"

    (In another shell, watch your PC heavily working using 'top'. It's the taskmanager pendant.)

    To restore:
    On the receiver side ( with the target disk):
    "netcat –l -p 5000 |gunzip | ntfsclone –r –O /dev/hda1 –"

    On the sender, issue the same as already known:
    "cat image.img.gz | netcat <ip-of the server> 5000

    Of course more possibiliies are possible. Check the options of ntfsclone if
    you want to use direct copy.

    Clearly speaking, its more work than using some commercial program.
    But the possibilities are also wider. Restoring a dead PC over a network
    without opening the case it not a bad option.

    Hope it’s of use for somebody. Questions and remarks welcome.



    Retired Team Member
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  • November 14, 2004
    Re: HowTo use LINUX for Cloning/Saving disks and Partitions


    Great tutorial!

    Aquarius said:
    cat.exe can be used from a sourceforge project which I currently do not remember.
    I guess that would be Great stuff, I use it all the time. And, it doesn't require me to remember to use "dir" in a Windows command shell after a long day @ work... :wink:

    If you want many more ported Unix software, you might want to check out I believe netcat.exe is part of it, too. I use it daily as a freeware X server for Windows...

    Some more tips:
    • You don't need to use netcat if you already have shares enabled on the Windows target machine. Just use samba (smbmount) to "mount" the remote share and access it on your Linux live CD environment as if it is a local drive. See here for a description of the "Knoppix"-way.

      Make sure the partition you're about to clone is UNmounted, before you make the clone. Check with "df -h" or "mount" to see if it's still mounted. If it still is, unmount the partition with "umount <mountpoint>".

      If you need more compression, you might want to use bzip2 instead of gzip.
    Kind regards,


    I use ghost 9 for making images, it can make one when windows is running, always handy when youve just installed a new cvs and want to secure your data :)


    Trouble with Knoppix

    I tried the method exatly as you laid it out, with knoppix Live CD, and ntfsclone gave me
    ERROR(13) ntfs_mount failed premision denied
    I tried and I tried to resolve this. Perhaps hda3, the partition in question, is mounted i thought. I checked, and then issued the unmount command anyway. I had no luck.

    The drive itself was not bad, Knoppix could mount the partition and see data one it.

    I run another version of linux, ubuntu, on the same machine as the ntfs partion, and I have a partition that is formated as linux-swap space. In the past when I have tried to use disk tools from Knoppix it has mounted the swapspace and caused problems when I tried to work with what should be a completely unmounted drive. When this happened, "swapoff hda?" was not able to solve the problem.

    I tried the commands the exact same way with the Ubuntu live CD, and it worked like a charm. I don't really know the problem with Knoppix, I am just a noob who is speculating. For those of you interested Ubuntu Live can be obtained for free here


    Portal Member
    April 27, 2005
    Partition Saving with Dos

    I have been using a freeware dos program from for backing up the OS partition.
    It has worked fine for me saving the OS partition C:\ to the data partition D:\ which can then be burnt to CD/DVD etc by Windows. This works fine even with both partitions being NTFS.

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