Monday, 23 March 2015

Add a Clonezilla Backup/Restore menu to your Easy2Boot USB HDD

If you have Easy2Boot on a large (e.g. 2TB) NTFS USB HDD, you can add a clonezilla ISO and a .mnu file to E2B. This allows you to quickly and easily make a backup of the first hard disk in all your systems (PCs, notebooks, tablets). You can then perform a 'bare-metal' restore at any later date.

The Tutorial 118 on the RMPrepUSB website gives you all the details. You don't have to save the backup images onto the E2B drive, you can connect a second USB HDD to act as the backup device and then keep it in a drawer, happy in the knowledge that you can restore any of your systems at any time in the future.

The .mnu file is already in the \_ISO\docs\Sample mnu Files\linux folder as CloneZillaBackupRestoreHDD0.mnu. Just copy it to the \_ISO\BACKUP\clonezilla folder and read the Tutorial for more instructions.

As an alternative, you can make a fresh install of E2B onto a large USB 3.0 HDD drive and dedicate this drive as your 'backup drive' and keep it in a safe place until needed.

Note: I recommend you install E2B onto a freshly formatted USB drive. Don't install E2B to a large USB drive that already contains lots of files because the E2B and clonezilla files need to be within the first 137GB on the USB drive. This is because many BIOSes have a USB driver bug that prevents them from accessing sectors on a USB drive past the 137GB point on the USB disk. Once an operating system is loaded from the USB drive, this BIOS limitation is removed because the OS drivers are used to access the USB drive.
Clonezilla uses compression, so you can store many disk images on the same USB backup drive.
Obviously a USB 3.0 drive will give better backup\restore times than a USB 2.0 one.

Why not go round all your systems this weekend and make backups. Then if your hard disk gets corrupted or fails, it will prevent that horrible 'empty pit in the stomach' feeling when you realise that you have lost irreplaceable files or you cannot restore the original OEM OS!

P.S. Do you have one of those notebooks where they made you spend half a day making backups onto a series of writeable DVDs because they were too mean to provide an OEM OS install DVD? Do you think you will still be OK, even if your notebook hard disk fails? If so, remember that these writeable DVDs have a finite life, are prone to damage and are temperature- and photo-sensitive. After a few years, they may develop unreadable areas - and it only takes ONE error on ANY of the backup DVDs to stop the whole re-install process from working successfully! Unfortunately, I know this from experience...