I have a Lenovo X61 Tablet computer, with a plain SATA drive inside. I have windows 7 and Ubuntu 9.10 dual booting on the computer. I want to back up both of these OS's, and their special partitions (Windows 7 has one, and of course the Linux Swap).

I want a one-to-one backup, all of my mission critical data is already backed up, but I would like to get a snapshot, and store it on a larger file server at home for quick recovery. What is the best approach to do this?

3 Answers 3


You could try using Clonezilla:

You're probably familiar with the popular proprietary commercial package Norton Ghost®, and its OpenSource counterpart, Partition Image. The problem with these software packages is that it takes a lot of time to massively clone systems to many computers. You've probably also heard of Symantec's solution to this problem, Symantec Ghost Corporate Edition® with multicasting. Well, now there is an OpenSource clone system (OCS) solution called Clonezilla with unicasting and multicasting!

Clonezilla, based on DRBL, Partition Image, ntfsclone, partclone, and udpcast, allows you to do bare metal backup and recovery. Two types of Clonezilla are available, Clonezilla live and Clonezilla SE (server edition). Clonezilla live is suitable for single machine backup and restore. While Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment, it can clone many (40 plus!) computers simultaneously. Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the harddisk. This increases the clone efficiency. At the NCHC's Classroom C, Clonezilla SE was used to clone 41 computers simultaneously. It took only about 10 minutes to clone a 5.6 GBytes system image to all 41 computers via multicasting!

Features of Clonezilla

  • Free (GPL) Software.

  • Filesystem supported: ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs, xfs, jfs of GNU/Linux, FAT, NTFS of MS Windows, and HFS+ of Mac OS. Therefore you can clone GNU/Linux, MS windows and Intel-based Mac OS, no matter it's 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x86-64) OS. For these file systems, only used blocks in partition are saved and restored. For unsupported file system, sector-to-sector copy is done by dd in Clonezilla.

  • LVM2 (LVM version 1 is not) under GNU/Linux is supported.

  • Multicast is supported in Clonezilla SE, which is suitable for massively clone. You can also remotely use it to save or restore a bunch of computers if PXE and Wake-on-LAN are supported in your clients.

  • Based on Partimage, ntfsclone, partclone, and dd to clone partition. However, clonezilla, containing some other programs, can save and restore not only partitions, but also a whole disk.

  • By using another free software drbl-winroll, which is also developed by us, the hostname, group, and SID of cloned MS windows machine can be automatically changed.

Using Clonezilla Live, you can create a LiveCD/USB drive that you boot to, and then image the partitions or the whole disk.

  • +1, I've used Clonezilla and it works great. It's a bit hard in the begining to try to do what you're trying to do since it's not graphical but it works great.
    – Hondalex
    Mar 5, 2010 at 20:28
  • "Back in my day we had no stinking GUI!" lol, not a huge problem really. Forgot clonezilla existed, and this is what I want. +1 and accepted.
    – Urda
    Mar 7, 2010 at 14:21

I've had a lot of luck using DriveImage XML.


It works on computers Windows XP and up, including Windows 7 (has to be run as an administrator).

DriveImage XML is an easy to use and reliable program for imaging and backing up partitions and logical drives.

Image creation uses Microsoft's Volume Shadow Services (VSS), allowing you to create safe "hot images" even from drives currently in use. Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. Never again be stuck with a useless backup! Restore images to drives without having to reboot. DriveImage XML is now faster than ever, offering two different compression levels.

DriveImage XML runs under Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Vista and Windows 7 only. The program will backup, image and restore drives formatted with FAT 12, 16, 32 and NTFS.

There is one caveat, however - it is Windows-only, so you would have to run the backup/image creation from your Windows partition. I think it should back up the whole drive, but I am not entirely sure, as I've never tried it on a multi-boot setup.

From their FAQ:

With the software installed on a PC, supported file systems are Windows XP, Windows Media Center, Windows Server 2003, Vista, and Windows 7. However you can create a BartPE CD with our software on it and boot from any of the Windows 9x or Windows 2000 machines and back them up as well.

It can even restore an image to a larger harddrive - I've used it to move an existing system to a larger harddrive with no problems at all.

  • Does this support Linux File systems such as EXT4 and Linux swap? The website led itself to appear to be Windows only.
    – Urda
    Mar 5, 2010 at 19:56
  • I updated my answer - honestly, I'm not entirely sure if DriveImage XML would even see the other partitions or not. I've never used it on a multiboot computer, and I couldn't find any information on that or any other people who have tried. Mar 5, 2010 at 20:18

Here are several Free one's for Windows, Ping is for just about any file system or OS.

Macrium Reflect Free

Easeus Todo Backup

Paragon Backup and Recovery

Drive Snapshot


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