I have a triple boot between macOS Sierra, Windows 10, and Linux, on my 500gb ssd inside my laptop. How can I clone all of my partitions onto an external drive? It is 3tb and has an empty 600gb partition for this. Is there any way to clone my 8 or so partitions, so that: I can completely restore my laptop if I need to, and to not erase any data? I have this laptop.
Check out Clonzilla. You can load it onto a USB drive, and clone your partitions individually, or backup the entire disk. It is pretty flexible.
I use it to clone entire disks of all my home machines to my file server. Since Clonezilla runs on a thumb drive, I can do bare metal restorations on any of my machines.
It is not a "simple" tool, but it is relatively straightforward.
If you want to do it manually, it's pretty easy to do this using the
Use a single image file
This will back up your entire SSD as a single file. It won't be naively readable (although you should be able to mount or open it as a disk image using the right software) but it will be very easy to restore if you need to.
- If necessary, create and format that 600GB partition. You can use any file system that supports files of at least 500GB and is writable from Linux (in practice this means almost anything except FAT32 or older).
- Shut down the computer and use bootable Linux media (liveCD or similar) so you aren't booting off either hard disk.
- Make sure the disk you're copying is not mounted, and that the one you're copying to is mounted R/W.
dd(you may need to
sudoif you aren't already root) to copy the whole SSD to a file on your 3TB disk. The command will be something like
dd if=/dev/sda of=/path/to/backup/location/ssd.img bs=4M(the "bs" parameter is just to make it go faster).
- Shut down the live OS and boot from your disk again. You now have a backup you can restore to that disk (or any other at least as large) whenever you need to.
Note that this isn't as fast as some of the other approaches, nor does it take into consideration used vs. unused space - the image file will be fully the size of the SSD - but it's simple and
dd has been a part of every Linux distro for decades.
Back up the partitions individually
Similar to the above, but back up the partitions (/dev/sda1, /dev/sda2, etc.) rather than the whole disk. You can either back them up to their own files, or directly to identically-sized (or larger) empty partitions on the backup drive. This approach means you'll need to re-create the partition structure on any new drive you want to recover your SSD onto, but lets you work with the partitions individually and mount them easily from the 3TB disk (if you copied to raw partitions, rather than to files in a backup location).
At work we use Partition Wizard for these tasks; it is extremely simple to use and effective. We have it on a bootable USB pen drive and it often comes in handy. If it's for personal use, the free edition should be enough for your needs