Just because you’re running a Linux operating system, doesn’t mean you cannot face data loss. Loss of data is something that can happen to anyone and has deep implications on success of an organization. Therefore, making copies of entire disk is always good and for this purpose, disk imaging software can be used.
Certainly, copy and paste command can also be used. But these commands don’t work on files in use, hidden files. That’s why we need cloning software.
What is a cloning software?
Imaging software is nothing but a tool that helps to copy content of one hard disk to another or to an image file. Disk cloning software duplicates operating system, security patches, drives, software. This means it eliminates the need of reconfiguring and reinstalling system so that you can perform following task:
- Restore and reboot computer
- Setup different computers with same configuration
- Replace damaged hard drive
- Complete system recovery after computer failure
Why do we need disk cloning software?
The job of disk imaging software is to copy complete disk data and convert it into .img file so that you can easily copy to another hard drive.
Here We Bring For You Best 7 Open Source Linux Disk Imaging Software
Clonezilla a product like True Image and Norton Ghost is an open source image cloning program. It helps to clone hard drive data, take backup and system deployment. Plus, Clonezilla open source imaging software has built in ability to install GRUB beneficial for Linux users. Not only this, the program offers Unattended mode.
Clonezilla Linux cloning software is built in two different editions. One can be used on single machines while other can be used on multiple computers. A wide range of file system including Linux, macOS and Windows are supported.
This open source Linux cloning software is written in Perl.
- Supports file system like btrfs, ext 2, 3, 4, xfs and other filesystems.
- Backup drives and partitions to driver or image files.
- Supports GPT, MPR partitions. Plus, BIOS and UEFI.
- Can reinstall grub 1 and 2 on any attached device.
- Requires only 200 MB to work.
- Can access image files on local disk, NFS server, SAMBA server.
2. Mondo Rescue
Another good open source cloning software for Linux is Mondo Rescue. This tool supports USB devices, clone tapes, network, disks, and CD/DVD as backup media, LVM, multiple filesystems, software and hardware RAID. Restoration may be done from a physical media. Moreover, it converts data it into .iso file and a custom Live CD can be created. Mondo Rescue open source disk imaging software is licensed under GPL and supports most Linux distributors. It is comprehensive open source disk imaging software.
- Backup a non-RAID file system and restore it as RAID including root partition.
- Restructure partition i.e. enlarge/shrink, add hard drive etc.
- Verify integrity of a computer.
- Backup Linux/Windows system including boot sectors
Third on our list of open source imaging software for Linux is Partimage. It saves partitions as an image file and supports Windows operating system too. To save disk and transfer time you can compress the image file created by Linux cloning software. Furthermore, using Partimage’s Linux disk imaging software network support you can save partitions across the network. This provides ability to perform hard disk partition recovery after anything happens to the system’s hard drive.
Not only this you can run Partimage Linux cloning software as a part of your system or as stand-alone from live SystemRescueCD. This feature is beneficial for systems that cannot be booted. What’s best Partimage open source cloning software only copies data from used portion of the partition.
- Useful in restoring partitions
- Fast and easy to use
- Creates image of system partition
- Created image can be easily written to a CD-R
- Useful in installing multiple identical system image.
Successor of Partimage is FSArchiver. This system tool allows to save content of file system to a compressed archive file. Plus, the file system can be restored on a partition with different size and file system. FSArchiver Linux cloning software creates file system when data is extracted to partitions. It is released under GPL-v2 license and it can extract an archive to a partition smaller than the original as long as space is available.
- Safe and flexible file system backup/ deployment tool.
- Restores data on different file systems
- Works at the file level
- Supports basic file attributes, multiple file systems per archive
- Supports major Linux filesystems like extfs, btrfs, xfs, etc
- Encrypts archive using a password
- Can restore a corrupt archive
Another open source imaging software like Partition image is Partclone. This Linux disk imaging software saves and restore used blocks on a partition and is designed for higher compatibility of the file system.
This Linux disk imaging software supports various filesystems like ext2, 3, 4, nfs, hfs, xfs, btrfs and others.
- Easy to use
- Licensed under GPL
- Available as a tool with Clonezilla too
6. PING (PING is not Ghost)
This open source software is the perfect choice to backup and restore of whole partitions and more. It is a live Linux ISO based on LFS documentation. It can be integrated into a PXE/TFTP remote server or can be burnt on a CD and booted. Using this Linux cloning software, you can easily perform backup and restore.
- Toolbox for rescuing system
- Backup and restore BIOS data
- Create a restoration bootable DVD
- No need to run Ghostcast server to receive images over the network
This open source imaging software is ncurses-based, and images created using Linux disk imaging software are occasionally compressed. To clone a drive, you can use Click n Clone function. G4L supports file splitting if file system does not support writing file greater than 2GB.
- Clone partition or hard drive to another
- Uses bit-for-bit cloning
- Incompatible with X11 graphical user interface
With list of 7 open source imaging software to creating image file of a partition or hard drive comes to an end. But this is not the end, there are other tools available that can be used to clone your Linux hard disk. If you have been using an such open source cloning software that is not mentioned in the list. Please let us know.
Plus, if you use any of the aforementioned Linux disk imaging software do let us know. If you want us to write any more article like this, please leave a comment.