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.
- 1 Using dd
- 2 Using cp
- 3 Disk cloning software
- 4 External Links
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,
ddwill 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.
ddto continue operation, ignoring all read errors. Default behavior for
ddis 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.
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.
ddprogressing, you can send it a
pidof ddwill tell you the PID of
dd, then you can use
kill -USR1on that PID:
kill -USR1 $(pidof dd).
- To regain unique UUIDs of an
tune2fs /dev/sdXY -U randomon every partition.
- Partition table changes from
ddare not registered by the kernel. To notify of changes without rebooting, use a utility like
partprobe(part of GNU
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
Examples with compression
When you need to create the hard drive or a single partition compressed backup image file you must use compression tools which can do backup from
stdout and the
dd command. Those compressed files cannot be mounted by the
mount command but it is useful to know how to create and restore them.
Install the official repositories.
This backup example will split the
dd command output in the files by up to 100 mebibyte each:
# dd if=/dev/sdXY | 7zr a -v100m -t7z -si image-file.7z
Restore with 7zip:
# 7zr x -so image-file.7z | dd of=/dev/sdXY
Note : On certains systems (e.g. CentOS),
7za instead of
Install the official repositories, which contains
zipsplit among other utilities for the management of zip archives. It will create a file named "-" inside the
image-file.zip file which will contain data from the
dd command output. To make a raw output of the file you can use the
-cp option with
stdout for the
# dd if=/dev/sdXY | zip --compression-method bzip2 image-file.zip -
# unzip -cp image-file.zip | dd of=/dev/sdXY
zip tool cannot split files on the fly but you can use the
zipsplit utility on an already-created file.
man zip for more information.
Install the AUR.AUR package from the
rarexamples were made based on the manuals, please confirm!
This should do a backup and split the creating file on the fly in by up to 150 mebibyte files each:
# dd if=/dev/sdXY | rar a -v150m image-file.rar
This should restore:
# unrar x -p image-file.rar | dd of=/dev/sdXY
or you can use
rar instead of the utility. The
unrar utility is available in the official repositories and can be installed with
pacman -S unrar.
Creation by using
dd is safer:
# dd if=/dev/sdXY | bzip2 -f5 > compressedfile.bzip2
937016+0 records in 937016+0 records out 479752192 bytes (480 MB) copied, 94.7002 s, 5.1 MB/s
And a safe way of restoring with combination of
# bunzip2 -dc compressedfile.bzip2 | dd of=/dev/sdXY
# bzcat compressedfile.bzip2 | dd of=/dev/sdXY
bzip2 -kdc imgage.bzip2 > /dev/sdXYand
bzip2 -kc /dev/sdXY > imgage.bzip2methods for serious backup of partitions and disks. The errors might be due to the end of the device or partition and the restore process also gives errors due the truncated end.
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.
ddoperates. Also, it has been reported that even with the
-aswitch, some extended attributes may not be copied. For better results,
tarshould be used.
The basic procedure from a live environment will be:
- Create the new destination partition(s) using
cfdiskor 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
Partcloneprovides utilities to save and restore used blocks on a partition and supports
exfat. Optionally, an
ncursesinterface can be used. Partclone is available in the community repository.
- Partimage, an
ncursesprogram, is available in the community repos. Partimage does not currently support
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