Back up Disk Image

Hi there, My first post here and hopefully I manage it well.
I just recently purchased my Librem 13 v 4 and am very happy with the buy! This is my first time being exposed to the Linux enviroment after being a Windows :face_vomiting: user for over 20yrs.

I am wanting to create a full disk image as a back up from outside the enviroment prior to boot. is it similar to using Macrium Reflect in a pre-boot enviroment?

so far I have downloaded the pureOS iso and flashed it to a thumb drive as I would imagine this is needed to access in order to use Gnome disk to create the back up.

My question is what would I need to do to proceed?

i appreciate any advice. just trying to navigate and learn this OS and am treating it with kids gloves.

Best regards,


One tool that is commonly used with disk images is a tool called ‘dd’. dd is very powerful and will do exactly what you ask it to do - even if you ask it to write over your disk. For this reason one may want to take care when using it, stories abound of people wiping their disks unintentionally. Another potential downside is that it is a command line tool primarily, but that should not put you off. The Linux command line is a fast, powerful, and in the end, pretty easy way to accomplish a lot of tasks. My first recommendation is to open the terminal and to write; man dd There you will find a manual page on how to use the tool.

There are other tools like Clonezilla that can help with backing up images if you prefer.


sounds like those are baby gloves. welcome !

might want to read this forum thread and some of the links provided.

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I’m a old-school fan of having data on a different partition and just backing up the data. If ever I had a hardware crash I’d pick a distro and reinstall anyway, then reload the data onto a new partition.

I use dd too but it may not be the recommended approach for newbies.

If using dd, backing up to a removable drive, I recommend always to check what drives exist before connecting the destination drive e.g. ls -l /dev/sd* and then connect the destination drive, then check the drives again. So you are really really sure that you are going to use the correct destination drive.

I also recommend using fdisk -l /dev/xxx where xxx is the name of the device, as a sanity check on the size of the drives that you are proposing to use. Again, this can help to make sure that you have source drive and destination drive the correct way round, and may also highlight if something is about to go wrong (i.e. destination drive is the correct device but is smaller than source drive).

One disadvantage of dd is that it backs up the entire source drive, no matter how full or empty the source drive. So if the source drive is mostly empty then you waste time. (However the upside of this is that it always takes about the same amount of time to do the backup, so you know what you can achieve while waiting e.g. how many coffees.)

One advantage of dd is that it works regardless of partitions and file system, even encryption. You just get an exact image, which should work to backup just about anything e.g. even a Windows drive, or a file system that is not even recognised by (your version/distro of) Linux.

Another disadvantage of dd is that the UUID of the destination drive ends up being identical to the UUID of the source drive. This is of course what you want and is fine as far as doing the backup and fine if you ever had to restore the entire disk BUT means that the destination drive doesn’t automatically mount and so is not as convenient if doing a selective restore (just one file or a few files or one directory tree or a few directory trees). I don’t know whether this behaviour differs between distros/versions.

Really there should be a support article / FAQ / something about backing up - since everyone should always have a backup strategy.

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Indeed, like the one we have for one of our systems. It replicates data to another array in a state 500 Miles away. If the system is dies the backup server kicks in and we all pack up and drive to the alternate site. (Presuming any of us are survivors, otherwise they’ll have to hire replacements.)

Speaking of which, hurricane Dorian will be a near miss. We’ll definitely get wind and rain where I am.

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Yeah, Baby gloves and booties…lol. thanx for the welcome!

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Thank you for the advice! I appreciate everyone chipping in so to speak to assist with the new guy…What I did was install pureos on a thumb drive and loaded it at boot into the live version. Next I used gnome disk in the live enviroment and imaged my partition to an external drive, albeit it took a while but I was able to accomplish my objective. I being unfamiliar and not too confident in my computer skills was hesitant to go the “DD” route. When I tried to image the disk from inside the PureOS installed enviroment f(from the desk top) I could not access it. I realized at that time the I would probably have access from outside the enviroment using the Live pureos on a flash drive.
I will familiarize myself with the DD method as it seems to be very powerful.

My thanks to Librem and PureOS for all the great help and technological know how for helping us to take our privacy and security back from the tech sharks.:slightly_smiling_face::slightly_smiling_face::slightly_smiling_face:


Before I start the long copy process, is it safe to assume Clonezilla makes an exact, bootable copy, or am I at risk of missing data on the cloned drive?

@kieran i’m still glad that you didn’t let that stop you from posting your experience.
even though forums dot puri sm is primarily targeted at novices or people with less inclination for the older GNU free software programs out there, that doesn’t mean that tools like dd aren’t used in MODERN GUI front-ends … it’s especially good to know what back-ends MODERN software uses so we know what to EXPECT in the long haul …

free-software usually ages beautifully so just because a specific software tool is OLD doesn’t mean it’s not getting better … that’s an aspect novices and elites alike should NOT forget …