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I have an Acer Aspire R laptop with 260GB SSD, UEFI, Ubuntu and Windows 10 dual boot. How can I backup / clone / image the whole drive to be reinstalled on a new drive if current drive fails?

a) Clonezilla: Will it backup all partitions (EFI, recovery, Ubuntu, swap, Windows) to external drive, so I can restore it to a new drive, no problem? Which file system should the external drive have? Or if the created file is an exact clone of the drive (partitions with different file systems), is it also bootable like a live usb flash drive?

b) GParted: Or should I partition the external drive like the existing drive and copy the partitions with gparted?

I have done backups with Clonezilla, but never restored it or opened in a virtual machine (is that possible?). So, I don't know if the backup files will actually do what I think they should. I just like to understand the cloning / backup process better, so I will actually have file that will restore my failed SSD (when it happens).

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    Yes, with 'backing up' the SSD I really mean cloning it. – user20404 Nov 5 '19 at 22:22
  • If you have a separate hard drive you can use, you could practice restoring to that. It's always good to test your backups. – jpa Nov 6 '19 at 7:44
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Since you have Ubuntu, you can simply use dd for this:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/dev/sdb bs=32M

that's if for the 'input file' where /dev/sda is the device label for your primary hard drive (and /dev/sda# will be the partitions) - if you don't know how to get the device label for that you can just have a look using gparted or fdisk - and of is for 'output file' and that will be the device label for your external backup drive.

You can restore the disks precisely the same way only in reverse via a live boot session.

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  • So sdb would be the external drive in this case? Also, if I clone my drive to an external drive, can boot to that drive? – user20404 Nov 5 '19 at 22:20
  • Yes. But double check gparted for your own. – rm-vanda Nov 5 '19 at 22:21
  • Is it also a Yes to "Can I boot to that drive"? – user20404 Nov 5 '19 at 22:33
  • Oh sorry didnt see that part on mobile. You sure could! Obviously only if you tell your bios to do so – rm-vanda Nov 5 '19 at 22:34
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    For some reason, I've had trouble with system not booting after cloning GPT & UEFI disk with dd. I think it may be related to either disk UUID's or UEFI listing in the system memory. If this happens, running update-grub2 for Linux or Installation repair for Windows from the installation boot media should fix it. – jpa Nov 6 '19 at 7:42
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'dd' is the best tool in Linux for what you are looking for.

However, in Windows, you can use MiniTool Partition Wizard to clone the drive to another disk. It does a 1:1 copy and it reads Linux partitions as well. It will also allow you to resize the partitions, etc. It won't allow you to create a backup, but you can clone your drive.

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  • How is a clone not a backup? I mean, practically speaking. – GwenKillerby Nov 7 '19 at 19:24
  • The software only clones to another drive, it will not create an image of it such as iso or wim. – Chupacabra Nov 7 '19 at 21:24

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