Ubuntu: How can I back up my Linux partitions to my Windows partition on a dual-boot machine (and restore after)?



Question:

I've looked around and found answers that address aspects of my question, but not the whole thing. I'm fairly new to Linux, so I was hoping for a full answer in one place.

I dual-boot a Linux distro (KXStudio â€" Ubuntu) with Windows 7. I finally got my set-up just the way I like it and before I monkey around with it any further, I want a (preferably) simple way to make a backup image of the Linux partitions (/root, /home, and swap, if necessary) to be stored on and restored from one of my Windows partitions.

Basically, I don't have enough space in Linux for the image file and no viable USB drive (just a FAT one), so I was hoping to use a live DVD to back Linux up in Windows. If I can do it on my FAT drive, that would be okay, too, but it has important data on it that needs to stay there (if that's relevant). The reason I mention FAT is that I think I read somewhere that it wasn't an appropriate format for backing up Linux - it would be great if I'm wrong.

If anyone can help with this, I'd also like to know how to later restore the backup. Thanks in advance and apologies if I missed some forum protocol (this is my first post).

BTW, I'm happy to use the command line, if I know precisely what to enter.


Solution:1

Separate external hard disk drive to store the backup

It is a good idea to backup to another drive, but a bad idea to backup to the same drive, because the whole drive might crash. I suggest that you get a separate external hard disk drive, where to store the backup.

Cloned image

You can use Clonezilla to create a compressed image of your whole drive (all partitions, the boot sector and the partition table too). The compressed image is a directory with several files. See this link

clonezilla.org

Clonezilla is used to restore from the image too. In order to rely on the backup, you should test that it works by restoring to another (fresh) drive or at least the same size as the original drive.

Backup of files

It is more convenient to backup and restore all important files with a backup tool, that works on the file level. There are several tools for it. A basic text mode tool is rsync, which is very powerful. It is the engine under the hood of many graphical backup tools, and it can be used 'naked' or from a simple script or alias (with a command line). See this link

help.ubuntu.com/community/BackupYourSystem


Solution:2

There are some tools available to browse the ext partition on windows, Please refer the below links.

https://www.howtoforge.com/access-linux-partitions-from-windows

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/33387/how-to-browse-your-linux-partition-from-windows/


Solution:3

This is a partial answer to my question. It wasn't crucial that my backup survived (i.e. in the case of a full computer crash), but I did manage to find another external HD lying around, so I followed Sudodus' suggestion and backed up to that instead of my Windows partition. However, I'm pretty sure I could have used this same method to back up to the Windows partition.

I was looking for a solution that didn't involve any extra downloads or learning curves, so I forewent Clonezilla or any of those tools in favour of running the already-installed Gparted from my Ubuntu live DVD.

The method: Once booted to the live disk, I plugged in my USB drive and used Gparted to clear out its old partitions and create the same-sized (only slightly larger) ext4 Linux partitions as I have on my computer. (Articles about using DD recommended the larger partitions, so I figured I would do that with Gparted as well, to be safe.) If your external drive doesn't show up in Gparted (top-right on the menu), you need to mount it using the menu that pops up on the desktop's taskbar when you plug in the USB.

After creating the new target partitions, I again used Gparted, this time to copy /root and /home to their corresponding spots on the external drive, which went smoothly. Just hover the cursor over the desired source partition and right-click, which brings up the "copy" option. Click to copy and then use the top-right drop-down to navigate to the external target drive. From there, right-click the desired target partition and select the paste option. Do this for each partition you want copied and, once you've queued up these actions, select the big check-mark at the top to apply them.

Make sure you have your drives and partitions straight! sda=your computer, sdb=the external device.

Note: the partitions all need to be unmounted, but my version of Gparted wouldn't let me copy or paste mounted partitions anyway, so there was little risk of making a mistake there.

I should also note that I haven't actually tried to restore these partitions from the copies, so I can't say for sure that this backup method works or that there won't be some extra steps required for the restoration. That said, if I do end up restoring them, I would just use Gparted to do the reverse - your old source drive is now the target and the old target is now the source.


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