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As I understand it, creating an image of a Linux system makes an exact copy of the OS and any user files/configurations/programs etc.

What I would love to do is create an image of my work PC and install it at home on my desktop. Can someone briefly explain the process of creating and installing images of Linux systems?

Home OS: Windows. Want: An image file that can be executed in a virtual machine (VMPlayer or VirtualBox) or booted directly on my home PC. I have tried clonesys but would appreciate a different method.

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how is the system set up and what imaging tools do you have access to? if you are using lvm it's super easy and can run on a live system. Some of the other tools require offline imaging. – RobotHumans Dec 9 '10 at 13:34
You need to provide more detail here, in order to get useful answers. What was "the program" that you tried? What were the image files it produced (their name and size at least)? Are you looking to replace your current OS at home, dual-boot, or run the Linux image in a VM? In any case what is your current OS at home? Do you need to make the image while the OS is actually running or would stopping it for a time be acceptable? (note: edit the extra detail into your question rather than as a comment, or the info could end up hidden after more comments are added by others) – David Spillett Dec 9 '10 at 14:08

something you could try.

Prepare a live cd (doesn't matter which one). Have an external storage device large enough (same size as the work HD) to hold the image.

Put the live cd into your work computer and boot it up. Mount your external storage (or even network if you are so inclined)

Use dd to clone the hard drive on your work computer and store it as an image on your storage

Shutdown your work computer

do the same exact method on your home laptop, but instead of cloning your hard drive, you'll be putting your image on your hard drive essentially you have to reverse the if= and of= commands

You might have some hardware compatibility issues right out of the box unless the hardware of your home and work comps are the same. But it is all solvable :)


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OP said he wanted to create an image of a running system. A live CD means the system being cloned won't be running. – Andrew Jul 7 '11 at 16:39
@andrew, how about reading the actual question before just skimming the title. My answer is relevant. – g19fanatic Aug 5 '11 at 16:57
No offense intended. I did read the whole question. The title plus the question together indicate that the OP wanted to create the image while the system was running. Hence also his reference to clonesys. – Andrew Aug 5 '11 at 17:12
The OP mentions nothing of needing to image a running system. Re-read his question, i take it as meaning he has a 'working' linux system and wants to clone it(running in the title can mean 'working'). His mention of clonesys is arbitrary and chalked up to unfamiliarity. You read it as him wanting a running clone (which isn't possible without running it in a VM to start with...). It doesn't read that way at all to me. What he is asking is doable with my method (and others mentioned). – g19fanatic Sep 13 '11 at 1:55 gives you a really simple howto of the process:

Linux Live Kit is a set of shell scripts which allows you to create your own Live Linux from an already installed Linux distribution. The Live system you create will be bootable from CD-ROM or a disk device, for example USB Flash Drive, USB Pen Drive, Camera connected to USB port, and so on. People use Linux Live Kit to boot Linux from iPod as well.

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+1: I think this is a good solution, but could benefit a lot a few bits of flavor information as to WHY it is a good solution. – killermist Mar 28 '13 at 2:26

You could use partimage to create an live image. But I think it's hard to get an working live image which you can easily transfer to one pc to the other.

When you can shutdown your work pc I would recommend a live cd with partimage and create an image to an usb stick and rewrite it on the home pc.

Or if you can't shutdown your pc, you could use dump ( to a file or over network (ssh).

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You can easily clone the OS using Clonezilla (the Live CD), but just know that the destination drive must be as big, or bigger than the original. These steps will show you how to clone the disk to another.

NOTE - backup your data

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OP said he wanted to create an image of a running system. A live CD means the system being cloned won't be running. – Andrew Jul 7 '11 at 16:40

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