About technologies for your digital home

For beginners and tinkerers

Using Clonezilla

November 6th, 2014

What is Clonezilla?

Clonezilla is a live Linux distribution for creating an image (clone) of the hard drive for your PC or laptop independently which OS is used on the machine itself (Linux, MS Windows etc.).

Clonezilla allows you to clone (and efficiently archive it in order to save space) the whole drive or separate partitions. It is pretty flexible. However, I would recommend you to stick with first option (whole drive).

I used other solutions in the past (e.g. Norton Ghost) and I could not restore the images in some situations.  For instance, when  I made an image with an older Norton Ghost version, I could not use a newer to restore the image 😉

Similar situations never happened to me when I was using  Clonezilla for creating/restoring the HDD image.

Making HDD images using clonezilla

Why do you need to use Clonezilla to clone HDD?

Well, there can be quite many different reasons for the tinkerers and the beginners 🙂

I will give only few of them:

  • If you have to make few identical machines (e.g with Linux, Windows etc.).
  • You got a brand new PC with Windows and you probably know that after a while Windows will become sluggish. Of course, you can try to tweak them by defragmenting HDD, cleaning the registry or doing something else, however you will start to think earlier or later about re-installing Windows 😉
  • If you have the machine with one operating system and you want to temporarily try another OS. In this case, you would create an image and after you finish your game with your second OS, you can just restore the first one. The whole image restoring process should not take longer as 20-25 minutes 😉

So, it does not matter too much what is the reason for doing, but it matters how to do it!

What you will need

You will need for this project:

  • The PC which you want to backup
  • USB or CD Clonezilla image
  • If you will go for USB Clonezilla, your PC should support booting from USB (but that should not be a problem on all newer PCs)
  • An internal or external (e.g. USB) hard drive, where you are going to store the image

Let’s prepare Clonezilla USB or CD

For a CD version, you can get the ISO image (choose latest stable version) from this link on Clonezilla website. After that, you will just burn an ISO image to an empty CD and this step is over. If for some reason, the image will not work, you can try to use some older release 😉

The procedure is slightly more complicated for a USB version. However, if you will precisely follow the steps below, it should be fine 😉

  • Download the Clonezilla Live zip file (mine was called clonezilla-live-20140915-trusty-amd64.zip)
  • You can use whatever available USB flash drive with either FAT or FAT32 file system with at least 200MB free space

The next step is really important:

  • Open windows explorer as administrator
  • Copy the zip achive directly to the root of your USB flash drive
  • Extract all the contents of the zip file there, so you should get a bunch of different directories
  • Depending on which 32 or 64-bit Windows you are running, go to the directory utils\win32\ or utils\win64\ and start makeboot.bat script
  • It should say everything was OK

Don’t try to extract the files into some directory (not the root of your USB flash drive)! Opposite, you can start to get the errors like these:

Failed to move ldlinux.sys to destination directory: syslinux
Failed to move ldlinux.c32 to destination directory: syslinux

At this stage, you have a working Clonezilla USB or CD 😉

Making HDD image using Clonezilla

Booting Clonezilla

The first lines will show quite normal Linux kernel booting environment.

After a while, you will be asked for choosing the language and changing the keymap (keyboard layout). You can quickly go through all those steps accepting the default options until you will see the message “Start Clonezilla “:

Hard drive images using clonezilla

Next, there is another important option “Device-image”. Here, you can choose what kind of the image you are going to do either device (hard drive) to an image or device (hard drive) to device (hard drive). The first option is used when you are creating an image as backup for future restoring, while the second option can be used to migrate from one hard drive to another:

Make an image of hard drive using Clonezilla

After this, you will have to choose (from) where you are going to (restore) save the images. The options are either locally connected drive (local dev) or network storages (SSH, Samba or NFS):

Creating an image of the hard drive using Clonezilla

If you previously chose the first option (locally connected hard drive), then you will have to choose the local directory for the images in the following screen.

Later on, you can choose either beginner or expert mode. It is easier with the first option 😉

Create an HDD image

In the next step, you have to choose either you going to create an image (savedisk) or restore it:

Make an image using clonezilla

In order to check if the image is restorable, you will have the option to choose that.

So, after waiting for few minutes, you have created an image of your system! 🙂

Restoring an HDD image

For restoring the image, you have to use a third option (restoredisk), which will allow you to get the OS back into the shape 😉

I hope, this post will help to save a little bit of your time & effort by creating the images of the hard drives!