zh-CN:Disk cloning Disk cloning is the process of making an image of a partition or of an entire hard drive. This can be useful for copying the drive to other computers and for backup and recovery purposes.
The dd command is a simple, yet versatile and powerful tool. It can be used to copy from source to destination, block-by-block, regardless of their filesystem types or operating systems. A convenient method is to use dd from a live environment, as in a Live CD.
if=) and output file (
of=) and do not reverse them! Always ensure that the destination drive or partition (
of=) is of equal or greater size than the source (
Cloning a partition
From physical disk
/dev/sda, partition 1, to physical disk
/dev/sdb, partition 1.
# dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/sdb1 bs=512 conv=noerror,sync
sdb1in the example) does not exist, dd will create a file with this name and will start filling up your root file system!
Cloning an entire hard disk
From physical disk
/dev/sdX to physical disk
# dd if=/dev/sdX of=/dev/sdY bs=512 conv=noerror,sync
This will clone the entire drive, including the MBR (and therefore bootloader), all partitions, UUIDs, and data.
noerrorinstructs dd to continue operation, ignoring all read errors. Default behavior for dd is to halt at any error.
syncfills input blocks with zeroes if there were any read errors, so data offsets stay in sync.
bs=512sets the block size to 512 bytes, the "classic" block size for hard drives. If and only if your hard drives have a 4 Kib block size, you may use "4096" instead of "512". Also, please read the warning below, because there is more to this than just "block sizes" -it also influences how read errors propagate.
The dd utility technically has an "input block size" (IBS) and an "output block size" (OBS). When you set
bs, you effectively set both IBS and OBS. Normally, if your block size is, say, 1 Mib, dd will read 1024*1024 bytes and write as many bytes. But if a read error occurs, things will go wrong. Many people seem to think that dd will "fill up read errors with zeroes" if you use the
noerror,sync options, but this is not what happens. dd will, according to documentation, fill up the OBS to IBS size after completing its read, which means adding zeroes at the end of the block. This means, for a disk, that effectively the whole 1 Mib would become messed up because of a single 512 byte read error in the beginning of the read: 12ERROR89 would become 128900000 instead of 120000089.
If you are positive that your disk does not contain any errors, you could proceed using a larger block size, which will increase the speed of your copying several fold. For example, changing bs from 512 to 64 Ki changed copying speed from 35 MB/s to 120 MB/s on a simple Celeron 2.7 GHz system. But keep in mind that read errors on the source disk will end up as block errors on the destination disk, i.e. a single 512-byte read error will mess up the whole 64 Kib output block.
status=progressoption. See dd for details.
- To regain unique UUIDs of an ext2/3/4 filesystem, use
tune2fs /dev/sdXY -U randomon every partition.
- Partition table changes from dd are not registered by the kernel. To notify of changes without rebooting, use a utility like partprobe (part of GNU Parted).
Backing up the MBR
The MBR is stored in the the first 512 bytes of the disk. It consist of 3 parts:
- The first 446 bytes contain the boot loader.
- The next 64 bytes contain the partition table (4 entries of 16 bytes each, one entry for each primary partition).
- The last 2 bytes contain an identifier
To save the MBR as
# dd if=/dev/sdX of=/path/to/mbr_file.img bs=512 count=1
To restore (be careful: this could destroy your existing partition table and with it access to all data on the disk):
# dd if=/path/to/mbr_file.img of=/dev/sdX
If you only want to restore the boot loader, but not the primary partition table entries, just restore the first 446 bytes of the MBR:
# dd if=/path/to/mbr_file.img of=/dev/sdX bs=446 count=1
To restore only the partition table, one must use:
# dd if=/path/to/mbr_file.img of=/dev/sdX bs=1 skip=446 count=64
You can also get the MBR from a full dd disk image:
# dd if=/path/to/disk.img of=/path/to/mbr_file.img bs=512 count=1
Create disk image
1. Boot from a live media.
2. Make sure no partitions are mounted from the source hard drive.
3. Mount the external HD
4. Backup the drive.
# dd if=/dev/sdX conv=sync,noerror bs=64K | gzip -c > /path/to/backup.img.gz
If necessary (e.g. when the format of the external HD is FAT32) split the disk image in volumes (see also the split man pages).
# dd if=/dev/sdX conv=sync,noerror bs=64K | gzip -c | split -a3 -b2G - /path/to/backup.img.gz
5. Save extra information about the drive geometry necessary in order to interpret the partition table stored within the image. The most important of which is the cylinder size.
# fdisk -l /dev/sdX > /path/to/list_fdisk.info
bs=) that is equal to the amount of cache on the HD you are backing up. For example,
bs=8192Kworks for an 8 MiB cache. The 64 Kib mentioned in this article is better than the default
bs=512bytes, but it will run faster with a larger
To restore your system:
# gunzip -c /path/to/backup.img.gz | dd of=/dev/sdX
When the image has been split, use the following instead:
# cat /path/to/backup.img.gz* | gunzip -c | dd of=/dev/sdX
The cp program can be used to clone a disk, one partition at a time. An advantage to using cp is that the filesystem type of the destination partition(s) may be the same as or different from the source. For safety, perform the process from a live environment.
-aswitch, some extended attributes may not be copied. For better results, rsync or tar should be used.
The basic procedure from a live environment will be:
- Create the new destination partition(s) using fdisk, cfdisk or other tools available in the live environment.
- Create a filesystem on each of the newly created partitions. Example:
# mkfs -t ext3 /dev/sdXY
- Mount the source and destination partitions. Example:
# mount -t ext3 /dev/sdXY /mnt/source # mount -t ext3 /dev/sdZY /mnt/destination
- Copy the files from the source partition to the destination:
# cp -a /path/to/source/* /path/to/destination
-a: preserve all attributes, never follow symbolic links and copy recursively
- Change the mount points of the newly cloned partitions in
- Finally, install the GRUB bootloader if necessary. (See GRUB)
Disk cloning software
Disk cloning in Arch
- Partclone provides utilities to save and restore used blocks on a partition and supports ext2, ext3, ext4, hfs+, reiserfs, reiser4, btrfs, vmfs3, vmfs5, xfs, jfs, ufs, ntfs, fat(12/16/32), exfat. Optionally, an ncurses interface can be used. Partclone is available in the community repository.
- Partimage, an ncurses program, is available in the community repos. Partimage does not currently support ext4 or btrfs filesystems. NTFS is experimental.
Disk cloning outside of Arch
If you wish to backup or propagate your Arch install root, you are probably better off booting into something else and clone the partition from there. Some suggestions:
- PartedMagic has a very nice live cd/usb with PartImage and other recovery tools.
- Mindi is a linux distribution specifically for disk clone backup. It comes with its own cloning program, Mondo Rescue.
- Acronis True Image is a commercial disk cloner for Windows. It allows you to create a live (from within Windows), so you do not need a working Windows install on the actual machine to use it. After registration of the Acronis software on their website, you will be able to download a Linux-based Live CD and/or plugins for BartPE for creation of the Windows-based live CD. It can also create a WinPE Live CD based on Windows. The created ISO Live CD image by Acronis doesn't have the hybrid boot ability and cannot be written to USB storage as a raw file.
- FSArchiver allows you to save the contents of a file system to a compressed archive file. Can be found on the System Rescue CD.
- Clonezilla is an enhanced partition imager which can also restore entire disks as well as partitions. Clonezilla is included on the Arch Linux installation media.
- Redo Backup and Recovery is a Live CD featuring a graphical front-end to partclone.