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I have just installed the latest Ubuntu 10.10. I want to do a full HDD backup on DVDs. What I mean is that if tomorrow I change my HDD and grab my DVDs I will be able to have the same HDD state as before. I want to do that so I don't have to install Ubuntu again, my programs and so on. Which is the best program for Ubuntu 10.10 to do that kind of backup?

Best regards, Petar

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Burn a copy of Parted Magic, boot off it and use CloneZilla to make a full disk image or a complete partition backup

Edit: As Petar pointed out, Clonezilla can't cope with multiple DVDs. One alternative would be dar, which can span backups on multiple volumes.

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Are you sure I can use multiple DVDs with CloneZilla if my backup is larger than 4.7 GB? – Petar Minchev Feb 26 '11 at 18:27
Good point - multiple DVDs are not yet supported so if your partitions add up to more than that you can't do it, although you could use a DL (Dual Layer) DVD to give you 8.5GB – Linker3000 Feb 26 '11 at 18:55
I used CloneZilla and it worked well for me. I am not sure, but maybe it can write multiple DVDs. At least this is what I saw as an option during the backup. – Petar Minchev Mar 6 '11 at 17:05

Are you sure you really want to do this? Installing Ubuntu isn't that much of a chore, and backing up a disk image would give you a snapshot at the time you made the disk image - you'd still want to back up your data (backing up the whole disk every time would use stupid amounts of DVDs).

Your best bet is to just back up the data and configuration and reinstall Ubuntu if you change your HDD. Also, cloning the disk to a backup medium would clone the partition layout as well, and if you replaced your HDD with a bigger one then restored the clone you'd only have the same amount of space as your old HDD unless you manually add an extra partition to your directory tree.

So just back up the important areas - /etc /home etc. You could tar them, zip them, burn the individual files to DVD, or whatever you want. For the /etc area tar may be your best bet as it will preserve file ownership and permissions.

You can make a package auto-install script file with the following:

$ echo '#!/bin/sh' >install-all
$ sudo dpkg --get-selections | awk '{print "apt-get -y install " $1}' >>install-all

Then running this script will auto-install all your current packages on a clean Ubuntu install.

$ chmod 755 install-all
$ sudo ./install-all
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The problem is not just re-installing Ubuntu it is also all the peripheral programs that I have on my HD. Some take much effort and time to reinstall, setting up configuration files etc. WE really do need a one-button HD back up.. I'd like to do this onto a USB HD ..can it be so hard, Apple have it!!..? ron..Themotorman

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Use Clonezilla, it worked well for me:) – Petar Minchev Mar 6 '11 at 17:04

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