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[Discuss] How do Linux guys back up Windows?

David Kramer wrote:
> I am now in the odd situation of having two computers that are dual
> boot, and that I use under Windows more than I have in the past (which
> is to say a couple of times a YEAR).
> ...
> Let's say I already have my personal documents backed up through
> synchronization, but I would like to not have to reinstall all my apps,
> especially Office.  Given all that, how would you recommend I back up? 
> Are there any good (free|cheap) programs that will back up Windows to
> external hard drives?

There's no shortage of choices. dd and Clonezilla have already been
mentioned. I use imaging programs infrequently enough to not be able to
recommend one with strong authority, but last time I preferred "Redo
Backup and Recovery" ( to Clonezilla.

Aside from dd, these imaging tools require that you boot them (they use
a small Linux OS), which normally would be inconvenient, but with a
dual-boot system that spends most of its time in Linux, you could opt to
use ntfsclone, which underlies most open source imaging tools when
backing up NTFS. It's pretty easy to use directly from the command line
and could be set up to run from cron.

ntfsclone will intelligently skip unallocated space, and you can pipe
its output to a compression tool (use the --save-image option). Normally
it is an incomplete system backup tool, as it doesn't handle the
partition table and MBR (which the "Redo Backup and Recovery" wrappers
take care of), but presumably your Linux system backup will cover that,
or you're willing to recreate those steps when needed.

I'm not sure I've ever restored an ntfsclone image, but I have
successfully used it as a faster way to do disk-to-disk clones.


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
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