Re-doing disk imaging

A common question posed in various Linux forums takes the form “…how do I recover..?” The answer should be run your backup software and select restore. However, many users don’t seem to make comprehensive backups, for example by using disk-imaging software. Perhaps the problem is that most Linux-based disk imagers don’t have a pretty graphical user interface and so can be a bit tricky to run.

For example, in the past, I have successfully used Clonezilla to backup and restore entire hard disks or just individual partitions. The downside to this process is the (to my mind) rather archaic text-based navigation and control system used in Clonezilla. My preferred solution, since I run a dual-boot (Linux/Windows) system is to boot into Windows and use Macrium Reflect Free Edition that has a very easy-to-use graphical user interface.

Recently, I came across a reference to a Linux-based tool that was said to provide similar features. The software, Redo Backup & Recovery, is an open-source disk imaging solution. The program isn’t added to an existing Linux system but rather is downloaded as an ISO file that is then used to create a bootable disk (e.g. CD or USB drive).

Once the Redo Backup system is booted, the user interface is certainly simple. The initial display window contains two control buttons – Backup and Restore. Selecting the backup option launches a wizard that guides the user through selecting the source disk and or the disk partitions that are to be imaged; the target drive and folder to be used to store the image; and entering a meaningful name for the image file. One “trick” with the latter is that, while hyphens may be used in the image name, use of the underscore character is not allowed.

Once all of the options have been specified, the imaging process is started and carries to completion without the need for any additional user input. However, another downside of this particular software is that a full hard drive backup can take some time, and while Redo Backup indicates the time likely required to process the current disk partition, there is no similar counter for the disk backup as a whole. Nevertheless, the program seems to chug along quite happily until it reports that the backup task is complete.

The end result is a folder containing multiple backup files. The software seems to split the disk image up into individual files of 2GB. I didn’t try the restore function. In part this was because I’m not sure that, on a purely personal basis, I have a need for this software. The other reason was that my normal test is to restore just the data partition of my hard drive (since there is always a current backup of the files in this area through the use of both Back In Time and FreeFileSync) but Redo has no option for restoring an individual disk partition – it seems to be the entire drive or nothing.

Still, despite the above-noted limitations, if you don’t currently make disk images, and think that you need a GUI to do so, then Redo Backup & Recovery may be worth a look.

Of course, another option might be to use the Windows-based Macrium Reflect Free Edition – even if you aren’t using a dual-boot machine – but that’s a story for another day!

References:

Redo Backup & Recovery
http://redobackup.org/

Back to the future
https://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/back-to-the-future/

Going further back in time
https://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/going-further-back-in-time/

File and folder synchronization
https://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/file-and-folder-synchronization/

Macrium Reflect Free Edition
http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

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