I was about to do a big experiment with with lappi (laptop) which included blanking its HD. Naturally i would have liked to have my current state preserved and restored after the experiment was complete. So the first thing that came to my mind was doing a
dd image of whole HD and saving it on a USB Drive. I started looking for alternates, found many cloning softwares like partimage (rejected, only works on partitions, i need something for whole disk), clonezilla, filezilla, PING and etc.
I ended up rejecting almost all of them for one reason or they other(you may call it as a matter of choice or bitchy attitude). Options left with me were
gzip. Now the data was around 320G and it included Movies, ISOs, documents and etc (you know what etc means, i am backing up whole hard disk so etc= all linux stuff and non-linux stuff). I dropped
gzip because it would have taken more time, and now i am left with
dd. But now i am struck with another dilemma.;
dd has no progress bar so how do know the ETA. i found
pv and with help of this article it all ends up great (and being totally offtopic, i would like to tell that there are two things that i found heavily and greatly documented on site and in books e.g. FreeBSD and Django and i love both). So i make
dd image of whole harddisk and another (cute) little image of my MBR for situations where you say “what if”, “just in case” “why didn’t i” and some “beeped” words.
I went a bit ahead with making backup with
dd, as lazy as i am i added a small wav file called complete in usb as well, so now i add “
&& aplay /media/usb/complete.wav” to my backup command and set system volume (using
alsamixer as i was using single user mode from liveCD) to maximum, unplug my headphones and enjoy playing games on mobile. After about 3 hours its done. Phew! What next?
Start the experiment by formatting the harddisk? Nope, You made a Boo-Boo. Atleast check if the
dd images are working. So i reboot, try to mount the
dd image and it doesn’t get mount as expected because its a whole disk image containing a lot of filesystems (5 to be exact) and mount can mount one filesystem. So i freak out, but the things good guy “erUSL”, if i am not misspelling his nick, on #ubuntu tells me about
losetup, i google it combined with “mount multi filesystem OR partition dd image” and found some great links. I use
kaprtx and everything works out fine (in 40 minutes). While i was at it i found that
mdconfig in freebsd does almost same thing as
So now i reboot, try my experiment, after 48 hours i want my old system state back. Use a live cd, go to single user mode, and start copy
dd back to my hd. Reboot and system won’t boot, what? Go again single user mode in live cd, restore MBR and still it won’t boot. *beep* *beep* *beep*? Again boot via live CD, mount the drives, try to
chroot and what? No
chroot from 32bit to 64bit? what next? i don’t
chroot, i open
menu.lst and start comparing UUIDs as i had issues in the past where UUIDs changed and system didn’t boot. but UUIDs are all okay. I reboot again, still its not booting, just shows a blinking cursor. Hey, wait! Its not even going to grub, is it even going to harddisk for boot? Damn! its trying to boot from NTFS USB drive which i didn’t disconnect every single time when i rebooted. I remove USB, fix in BIOS (so i won’t worry over this stupid mistake again) and reboot, so here i am all good as before…
In this long story, i learned a lot due to my very basic mistake and from this i yet again learn the lesson that “Start from basics”. You system isn’t working? Is it powered on?