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I'd like to create an image of my Windows partition (so a can restore it later) and I was wondering if anyone could recommend any utilities that are capable of this? Either command line or GUI (pref. Gnome) would be OK.

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ntfsclone is awesome. I've used it with great success to clone systems and for backup purposes.

If your Windows partition is not using NTFS, dd should take care of you -- although it's not terribly efficient.

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  • I've imaged many, many hundreds of Windows XP machines w/ ntfsclone. It's wonderful. BG Rescue Linux (giannone.eu/rescue/current) is a nice packaged bootable CD distro that has the ntfsprogs built in. – Evan Anderson Jun 18 '09 at 0:40
  • Thanks for that link - my bootable rescue CD of choice has been System Rescue CD (sysresccd.org) but I will probably check out BG Rescue now. Does it include an option to boot right into non-Linux utils like Ranish? – Ben Dunlap Jun 18 '09 at 0:44
  • It's just a plain, vanilla CD (or floppy!) based rescue linux distro. It's helped me out quite a number of times. – Evan Anderson Jun 18 '09 at 1:02
  • Oh, yeah-- and it has "ms-sys" so that it can write Microsoft-compatible MBRs and boot sectors. Also a big win. – Evan Anderson Jun 18 '09 at 1:02
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dd would seem to be the go to choice here. The command would look like the following...replace the device and output file with whatever you wish.

 dd if=/dev/sda1 of=~/windows.img

There is also partimage and ghost4linux. But for something like this both of those may be overkill and overcomplicating things.

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  • It'll do whitespace as well, so make sure you have enough space on your target. – resonator Jun 18 '09 at 0:47
  • I've tried Ghost4Linux - it's a little clunky to use and if you are backing up over the network it requires an FTP target - you can't save to a normal SMB fileshare! – Charles Hepner Jun 18 '09 at 2:25
  • about 'overkill': partimage does not save empty space on backup if it can figure out the filesystem type whereas dd does. In addition, partimage can zero out empty space on restore whereas dd can't – dmityugov Jun 18 '09 at 12:43
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Partimage

Definitely a good option http://www.partimage.org/Main_Page. You can create an image and compressed it to save disk space, and they can be splitted into multiple files to be copied on CDs / DVDs. Partitions can also be saved across the network.

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  • Note that the partimage site linked says NTFS supported is experimental. It recommends not turning on NTFS compression and defragging your filesystem before creating the image. – Charles Hepner Jun 18 '09 at 2:22
  • I've used it a bunch of times, never had a problem restoring other than having to be creative when it comes to restoring to a bigger HD. Thanks for pointing it out though, I thought that by now they would have taken cared of any bugs with NTFS. – l0c0b0x Jun 18 '09 at 22:59
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And you'll probably need your master boot record too. the command will be something like:

dd if=/dev/sda of=~/windows.mbr bs=512 count=1

That will give you your boot sector and your partition table. Take a look at this for more information.

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clonezilla == an opensource version of ghost, works really well

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  • I have bad memories of ghost... – Luke Jun 18 '09 at 22:55
  • clonezilla is a live cd with a bunch of utilities pushed together which includes ntfsclone, so same principle as ghost but completely different implementation – Brendan Jun 19 '09 at 0:13

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