Gentoo Archives: gentoo-user

From: Mick <michaelkintzios@×××××.com>
To: Gentoo User <gentoo-user@l.g.o>
Subject: Re: [gentoo-user] backing up a partition
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2018 10:10:44
Message-Id: 3385231.oZyN7qS12M@dell_xps
In Reply to: [gentoo-user] backing up a partition by Philip Webb
1 On Friday, 24 August 2018 09:32:23 BST Philip Webb wrote:
2 > I want to make a copy of a partition which I can use to replace it,
3 > if some catastrophe damages the partition or wipes it out ;
4 > it needs to be byte-byte identical, incl all permissions.
6 You are looking to clone a partition. This is a bit by bit identical copy of
7 the original partition. You could clone a partition into another, so you end
8 up with two identical partitions including their boot record, fs and contents,
9 or save the cloned partition into an image file.
11 However, you may prefer to use clonezilla instead of dd. The dd command will
12 copy each and every bit and byte of the partition whether it has data on it or
13 not. It is not particularly efficient. Clonezilla will perform better at
14 this task.
16 Personally, I would only keep a back up of the filesystem contents with e.g.
17 rsync, and reformat the partition and restore its contents in the case of a
18 disaster recovery scenario. I would prefer a fs backup, especially in the
19 case of a USB stick being the backup storage media. This is because rsync
20 will only copy data which has changed since the last backup, rather than
21 overwriting what is on the USB already. I expect using something like dd
22 repeatedly will reduce considerably the life of the USB stick.
25 > Can I use 'dd' ? -- eg 'dd if=/mnt/xxx of=/mnt/yyy',
26 > where the partition has been mounted at /mnt/xxx
27 > & a USB stick has been mounted at /mnt/yyy . Will that do the job ?
29 Not like that. If you intend to create a clone of the partition, rather than
30 its filesystem, you need to copy the whole block device, not its mount point.
32 dd if=/dev/sdXx of=/media/$USER/<LABEL>/clone_of_sdXx.img bs=4096
33 conv=notrunc,fsync status=progress
35 Where /media/$USER/<LABEL>/ is assumed to be the mountpoint of your mounted
36 USB storage device. The above will save an image file of the cloned partition
37 as 'clone_of_sdXx.img' within the existing filesystem of the USB stick. You
38 could then copy this partition image to a secondary storage if you wish,
39 encrypt it, compress it, etc.
41 You'll be able to mount this image with '-o loop' and examing or use its
42 contents.
44 mount /media/$USER/<LABEL>/clone_of_sdXx.img /mnt/My_partition_image -o loop
46 ls -l /mnt/My_partition_image
49 To create a full partition clone on the USB stick rather than an image file
50 change the of= operand into the block device your USB stick is recognised as;
51 e.g.
53 dd if=/dev/sdXx of=/dev/sdYy bs=4096 conv=notrunc,fsync status=progress
55 CAUTION: If you get /dev/sdYy wrong you *will* lose data on the device you
56 overwrite.
58 You may have problems when you try to mount the cloned USB stick with the
59 original partition in place, because they will both have identical filesystem
60 UUIDs. I haven't tried this to know what errors it may produce.
63 > There seems also to be an issue re 'bs=<some number of bytes>' :
64 > what size is best ? i plan to use USB 3.0 for quicker copying.
66 You can test what block size will transfer data faster on your particular
67 hardware setup. I assume in the example below the I/O bottleneck is your USB,
68 rather than your HDD.
70 dd if=/dev/zero of=/media/$USER/<LABEL>/testfile bs=1024 count=1000000
72 rm /media/$USER/<LABEL>/testfile && sync
74 dd if=/dev/zero of=/media/$USER/<LABEL>/testfile bs=2048 count=500000
76 rm /media/$USER/<LABEL>/testfile && sync
78 and so on, each time increasing the bs to 4096, 8192, ... and halving the
79 count to copy the same amount of data. You will soon find the transfer speed
80 arrives at a peak and then reduces when an I/O bottleneck is reached. In the
81 above example I have used a 1GB file, but you may want to increase this to a
82 larger size to make sure you saturate your buffers.
85 > Does it matter how the USB stick is formatted ?
86 > Can I use a raw stick with the usual default VFAT formatting ?
87 > Might it be better to replace that with a Linux FS, eg Ext2 ?
89 If you are using the USB stick to save an image file to it, then you will come
90 across the VFAT file size limit of 4GB. So, use exFAT, or ext2.
92 If you are using a USB stick to create a partition clone it doesn't matter
93 what the USB fs type is. It will be replaced with that of the original
94 partition.
96 HTH.
97 --
98 Regards,
99 Mick


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Subject Author
Re: [gentoo-user] backing up a partition Rich Freeman <rich0@g.o>