After spending time getting your PC or netbook running just the way that you want the last thing you want to have to do is redo all of the steps again when something goes wrong. A few simple steps can help save lots of time should it ever be necessary to reinstall the Operating System and all of your software. A freeware alternative to Norton Ghost that can really help with this sort of system backup is Clonezilla Live. A live Linux distribution that is capable of backing up Windows as well as Linux based computers.
You will need either a CD/DVD/USB pen/Memory Card to create a bootable copy of the Clonezilla Live software as well as a Hard Disk/USB pen/Memory Card onto which to write the backup.
Clonezilla is especially useful for creating a backup of your netbook, such as the EeePC. A 4GB memory card and an old 128MB USB pen allow me to take snapshot backups of my EeePC so that should it ever get lost or stolen I can easily recreate my customised install of EeeBuntu without having to reinstall all of the addons, and applications manually.
First download the Clonezilla Live CD/DVD image by visiting the Clonezilla at http://www.clonezilla.org/ the live distribution ISO image file is, at time of writing, approximately 100MB in size.
If your PC has a CD/DVD drive use your favourite CD burning software to create a CD from the ISO Image. It is important you use the create CD from disc/ISO image and not just create a regular data disc by dragging the ISO file onto the disc!
If your PC does not have a CD/DVD drive but has a USB or memory card reader then you can use Unetbootin also available free from http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/ Unetbootin is available for both Windows & Linux.
- Insert your USB/Memory Card – a memory card or USB memory drive with at least 100MB of space is required.
- Simply download run the Unetbootin software and select the Disk Image option (half way down the screen) – see screenshot below.
- Select the ISO image downloaded from the Clonezilla site.
- Select the USB/Memory Card drive letter from the list and click the OK button.
After clicking OK, UNetbootin will copy the ISO contents to the USB drive/Memory card, this may take a few minutes so be patient. You should see a screen like this whilst UNetbootin does its work:
Now that you have a bootable CD/DVD or USB/Memory card it is time to boot your PC using your newly created copy of Clonezilla.
1, When Clonezilla starts up you will see a boot screen that lets you pick the operating system settings to use when booting. Select the default “Clonezilla Live”.
2, Clonezilla will then scan your computer to determine the hardware installed.
3, Select your language and keyboard layout from the options presented.
4, Select the operation you wish to perform, device-image disk/partition to/from image. This will allow you to backup one disk or hard disk partition to another disk. In the case of a netbook you would use this option to backup from the SSD drive to a SD memory card.
5, At the Mount clonezilla Image directory screen select the destination that will be used to store the backup. Select local_dev Mount local device for a local drive or memory card/USB pen.
6, Insert your USB device or memory card. Clonezilla will then scan the computer to identify the hardware available.
7, Clonezilla will then display a list of available disks, hda1 is usually your main hard disk that you’ll likely want to backup. The destination drive will be named hdb1 or sda1/sdb1 etc. It’s important that you select the correct disk/partition at this step else you may accidentally delete all your data, so please be careful. Remember you’re selecting the destination not the source drive here!
8, When you’re sure you’ve selected the correct drive press the Enter key.
9, The Choose the mode screen will then appear and allow you to select whether you wish to perform a backup or restore. Select the savedisk option.
10, The Priority menu then allows you to select which programs will be used to perform the backup. Select the first option in the list -q Priority: ntfsclone > partimage > dd
11, On the next screen select the -c Client waits for confirmation before cloning option. Which may well be the only choice you have at this stage.
12, Clonezilla allows several different options for compressing the backup. The first option in the list -z1 Use gzip compression (fast but smaller image) offers a good balance between speed and space saving. It is recommended that you select this option.
13, If desired change the name of the backup, or simply accept the default.
14, Finally you get to select the disk that you’d like to backup. As before you will see a list of disks with ids such as hda etc. You should also see some descriptive information that will help to identify the disk.
15, Clonezilla will then provide a summary of what is to be backed up, to where and how. Make sure all of this is correct and then (and only then) select Yes to the Are you sure you want to continue question.
Clonezilla will then create a backup of your disk as requested, you just need to leave it to do its work and wait for it to complete, depending upon the size of the disk you’re backing up this could be a while so go and get a cup of coffee.
Restoring from a Backup
To restore your computer back to a previously saved disk image created with Clonezilla simply follow the steps described above for creating the backup. However, remember to select the disk you want to restore at step 7 as this is the destination for the restore operation. Then at step 9 select the restoredisk option.