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I was unable to figure out how to use CloneZilla to clone Linux/XP/Vista (XP enters an endless loop with "Autochk - Program not found", and Vista can't boot with "Error 17 - File not found", even after fixing it with the "Windows Vista Recovery Disc" and recloning the image).

So I'm looking for an application that offers the following features:

  1. Open-source/freeware or affordable

  2. Can clone Linux and any version of Windows (XP/Vista/7, Server)

  3. Only saves used clusters, not the entire partition (so "dd" is not an option)

  4. Also restores the MBR so that the OS boots fine, and I don't have to fine-tune Grub to fit such and such OS

Thank you.

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Would you also like a pony? I'm not trying to dump on you, just point out that these requirements are not trivial, and even if you remove feature #1 there are not a lot of payware apps that can do what you are asking. Sometimes you get what you pay for. – David Mackintosh Jan 12 '10 at 17:57
Are you trying to use clonezilla from within Windows or from the live boot cd? It works wonders using the live boot cd. – Shadow00Caster Jan 12 '10 at 18:49
Please install brain before engaging in systems administration. – womble Jan 12 '10 at 20:28
Thanks for the input. I used CZ from a live CD, but obviously, cloning/restoring Windows partitions is a bit trickier than Linux. I'll check out FOG, Ghost, and HDCLone (Acronis only clone Windows Server with the $$$ version). – OverTheRainbow Jan 12 '10 at 22:33

if you are planning to clone multiple machine with various os (XP/Vista/W7, server/Linux) Please have a look at [FOG] it includes most of the features you want.

Also look at ["SystemRescueCd"] it's a ready to burn on disk distro, which contains most of the tools required for cloning and imaging work as well as system rescue work it also includes "Partimage" as built-in tool.

Personally I have used both, depends on your purpose what actually you want to do and how much forward you want to take it, I will favor FOG for maintaining images for anything above 10-15 machines.

As i am new here (joined today) i dont have "10" reputation, so posting FOG and SystemRescueCD links as below

www  fogproject org

www sysresccd org / Main_Page

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OverTheRainbow , while you check out FOG, Ghost, and HDCLone also give a try to "SystemRescueCd" – linuxbug Jan 13 '10 at 3:44

The closest I've used is partimage. I mount a CIFS share, save to the shared location. That said I've still had issues when switching drive brands with cylinder counts and such.

If partimage fails and DD over netcat fails then I'm more or less stuck. Usually one or the other works.

I have managed to salvage some failed clones using testdisk from a bootable RIP (rescue-is-possible) linux disc, or using testdisk and BartPE to run chkdsk (or fixmbr/fixboot from a recovery console). There comes a point where I put in enough time with getting clones to work that it's just not worth it, though, and throw in the towel and reinstall from scratch on some really iffy systems or drives that are too dissimilar.

Other than that your best bet is to bite the bullet and pay for acronis or ghost.

I'd add that DD can be an option; if the clusters aren't used and you feed the image through gzip or 7zip you should get extremely good compression due to the "unused clusters" unless they have noise from deleted items put into them. I still manage to get decent compression though. Often that is what these open source programs are doing anyway, feeding and splitting the image through gzip or bzip.

Cloning windows doesn't matter though if you're cloning at the sector level. It's filesystem agnostic when done that way (ntfsclone, of course, requires NTFS to clone...that's what gparted uses when copying a partition from one disk to another and it's NTFS-based).

You could also spend the bucks to get a hard disk duplicator. Probably would be a wee bit faster.

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Oldschool Ghost on PE, now called Ghost Solution Suite, and its various boot wizards is what I use. It always works (and can compress images from non-recognized filesystems) and is easily used in many ways depending on the circumstances.

It sure isn't free but my time and sanity is worth so much more.

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If you can't get Clonezilla to work, check out HDClone ( It works great and is super easy.

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