Portable Clonezilla Backup Drive

I’m a supporter of open source software and one package I’ve been working with lately is called Clonezilla.  It’s a program much like Norton Ghost that is used to backup and restore the contents of entire hard disks. My goal was to create a complete backup solution using an external hard drive that I could transport to a number of locations for backups and restorations.  I’ve been using Western Digital external drives but I’m sure the instructions below will work for for just about any type of drive.

To create a Bootable USB backup drive:

  1. Boot the computer using Gparted Live
  2. Make a single partition on external drive using fat32 formatting
  3. Set the “boot” flag on the external drive, clear the “lba” flag
  4. Restart into Windows
  5. Copy Clonezilla Live files onto external drive maintaining folder structure
  6. Open Command window
  7. Switch to the external drive and change to the “utils/win32” folder
  8. Run “makeboot”
  9. The drive should now be bootable

To perform an image backup, restore, or live-cd creation:

  1. Boot from the external drive
  2. Start Clonezilla
  3. Select “device-image”
  4. Select skip (the external hard drive is automatically selected)
  5. Select “Beginner”
  6. Select the option for what you want to do and follow the prompts

Notes:

  • For some reason, making the partition with Windows doesn’t always work
  • Make sure the LBA flag is cleared, for some reason it causes a problem making the drive bootable
  • The beginner option automatically segments at 2GB
  • For restorations there is no easy way to restore to a smaller hard drive, restoring to a larger drive is not a problem

This is still a work in progress but Clonezilla paired with a reliable USB hard drive has provided exactly what I needed in a backup solution.

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