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Re: backing up a drive

On Tue, 2006-03-21 at 09:24 +1100, Star King of the Grape Trees wrote:
> Micha Feigin wrote:
> >I want to make an exact backup of a hard drive (copy one drive to another). It
> >contains a program who's copy protection checks changes to the system so unless
> >I can restore it exactly the program will stop running (it's a veterinary
> >clinic software so I don't think that there is a free alternative)
> >
> >Thanks
> >
> >
> >  
> >
> Sometimes that is not enough. Some programs also check things such as 
> CPU ID, and other serial numbers.
> "dd" or "cat" is probably sufficient, but you will get a file that is 
> the SAME size as the HDD.
> So, I would get another HDD that is *exactly* equal or larger, and use 
> the actual hard disc as the destination file. (ie, /dev/hdd)
> (Could someone else please confirm this?)

I use system images *a lot* and the easiest way for me is to boot the
source-pc with a knoppix-disk and then use "dd if=/dev/hdX | netcat ..."
to transfer the image to another machine running linux. The file is
received on that machine by "netcat ... > hda.img". This works perfectly
(at least if you restore to the same machine).

I believe it would give the same result if you do it directly to the
disk as suggested. Of course, you can use knoppix to partition the disk
and make it a file. That's easier to store (bzip2 it and put it on a DVD
for instance).

If you're unsure, find a spare machine, install windows98 and try to
backup and restore it (backup it, delete some files in windows and
restore the partition to verify that everything works and is there).
This way you're quite sure your backup will work on the actual system. 

A pointer: take a dump of the entire drive (dd if=/dev/hda) and not just
partition. I've had some systems that wouldn't accept the restored
version (PC wouldn't boot anymore due to no OS found) unless the whole
disk was restored.

Good luck

Philippe De Ryck

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