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I have many PC's that are the exact same hardware and I would just like to clone the hard disk from one to another. Typically I would just remove the hard drive and use a USB to mSATA adapter and use snapshot.exe or something else to make an image that I can clone to other hard drives.

However in this situation removal of the hard disk is cumbersome and a not really an option. If I get a large enough USB stick that can copy the disk to the image itself, is there a way to (automatically) boot from USB and clone the disk to the USB? And do the opposite (USB->Disk)?

My only idea so far is using a bootable usb with Ubuntu on it and doing it that way, but seems a little more complicated than I would like. I am also looking at Clonezilla Live now but am not sure if that will do exactly what I want. Also if it matters the disk image to be cloned is Ubuntu.

  • Have a look at CloneZilla Live. It does what you want. – Twisty Impersonator Mar 9 '18 at 17:52
  • Is this for work/eduction or your own person project? – Hydranix Mar 9 '18 at 18:45
  • I ended up using a clonezilla live USB, did exactly what I needed. – DrTarr Mar 19 '18 at 11:02
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If you are using windows, I've use Paragon Backup and Restore quite successfully for doing the same thing. It restores everything, including all OS files and compresses everything to about 1/3 the size on files occupy on disk. Plus, it creates a bootable drive, so once I back it up to its bootable media, I can just plug the USB in on another machine, boot from that USB and start the restore process.

It's commercial, unfortunately, but the trial version works pretty well.I believe it is part of the Hard Disk Management package now.

https://www.paragon-software.com

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Many options exist.

On the enterprise level 1. SCCM

2. wds (I think, its another microsoft product)

Smaller scale

drbl from http://drbl.sourceforge.net/

It doesn't function exactly as you want, but it might be easier than your solution.

You can make a live/bootable ISO you can boot any PC into this environment.

  1. boot
  2. mount your a blank hdd to /home/parthome (sudo mount /dev/sda1 /home/parthome
  3. Start DRBL
  4. use sudo dcs to set the system perferences and activate capture or deploy mode.

You may then, and here's the easier part, just press F12 or whatever network boot is on the client, and drbl takes over and does the rest for you.

You can do 1 at a time if you wish, but that is slower. Alternatively you can hook up 25 pc at once and let them all run together.

Usually, a 30gb image can be deployed to 25pc in less than 30 minutes depending on your networking. You can pick up a cheap 24 port gigabit netgear switch, and it will go pretty fast. Then the biggest bottleneck will be the hard drives on the server and the local client.

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