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So I've just setup a brand new box and thought it would be a good time to make an image with Clonezilla.

The harddrive is 250GB with ~4GB used on the partition that I have chosen to backup, so I plugged in a 16GB USB stick to store the image on, which should be sufficient (?).

But it appears that it will take more or less about 4 hours to create the image with Clonezilla. Should it really take that long to create an image of 4GB of data?


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what type of cloning u are using... dd maybe?? I was making two 500GB drives with about 100GB used on one drive, over network with time less then 20 minutes... – B14D3 Jan 12 '12 at 13:04
Hi! Partclone/Partimage i used. Altough whatever I chose it appears that it tries to backup all 250 GB and not the used space only – Industrial Jan 12 '12 at 13:12
Is the partition encrypted or does it have some exotic file system? – Janne Pikkarainen Jan 12 '12 at 13:39
Sadly, the answer to this is that it takes as long as it takes. The performance of typical memory sticks is really bad though, so I'm not that shocked to hear that one is involved in a thing like this. – RobM Jan 12 '12 at 13:45
up vote 6 down vote accepted

There really isn't a canonical answer to this since it would depend on disk subsystem speeds, fragmentation, etc. so it doesn't quite fit this format well.

That said, if it's a "clone" of the drive, it will try to copy the entire drive, sector by sector. The way to get the end image smaller is to compress it.

Backups are generally done at the file level. Clones/images are drive level. You probably need to use either cloning with compression or a true backup program that will copy files and compress the files, not the resulting filesystem image file.

Another thing to check since you mentioned partimage is what filesystem you have on the USB drive. Even if it's a 16 gig drive, if the filesystem can't handle a single 4 gig file, the clone may fail and some open source programs do not handle failure might have been sitting for four hours with a program that's not even running anymore or is "stuck".

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Lots of non-open-source programs do not handle failure gracefully, too :-) – jmtd Jan 12 '12 at 13:52
This is true. But most of them at least disappear from the screen so you have an indication that they kicked the bit bucket. – Bart Silverstrim Jan 12 '12 at 13:55
@jmtd Pretty sure that comment can apply to all software, including the garbage most vendors make you pay for. – Tim Jan 12 '12 at 14:00
If the filesystem is not supported by Clonezilla, then it will back the drive up sector by sector, just as was mentioned. If, however, the filesystem is supported (such as ext3, xfs, and others) then Clonezilla will back up just the used data. – Mei Jan 12 '12 at 15:14

I'm a linux advocate (which means I've come to absolutely love the system and our computer shop has for the past 2+ years simply refused to install windows...because we can), that said:

I use acronis to clone a drive that will not need any recovery later.

But for those times when a drive is having a segmentation fault or other error I trust the dd command (dd if=/???/??? of=/???/???)

How long will a 250gb hd take to clone?

Answer: No answer, just a bunch of questions such as; Are there errors on either drive? Lots of data? does it or will it require any recovery of erased data later? How much ram and what's the processing speed of the unit you are working with to accomplish the feat? what type of data is predominant on the base drive?
.... and the list could go on for two days.

3hours seems about average for us on a 250gb hd (preferably done by removing the drives and placing them in a work machine...preferably NOT usb).

Hope this helps someone.

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A hard drive absolutely cannot have a Segmentation Fault; this happens because of improper memory accesses by software and is generated by the CPU. – Mei Feb 23 '12 at 3:25

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