Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

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AndyMH
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by AndyMH »

I am intending to use the iso on a DVD and to clone my set up, which is on my laptop's 500 Gb HDD. I have a 1 tetrabyte usb HDD and I would like to have the clone on one ~500 Gb element and a backup of /home on the other ~500 Gb portion.
No. You don't understand what clone means. It creates an identical copy of the source drive on the destination drive. It is an exact copy of the source, same partition table, same partitions. It doesn't matter what you do with the 1TB drive beforehand because it will get overwritten. Clone is for when you want to swap out your main drive for another drive, e.g. smaller to larger drive or swapping an HDD for an SSD. You do a clone and replace the old drive with new and just boot it.

What you want to do is backup. This creates compressed image files of the source on the destination and you can put the image files wherever you want.

I have 1TB or 2TB removable HDDs in all my PCs and used solely for backup, setup as follows:

This is what the backup drive looks like in gparted:
Screenshot from 2020-11-10 13-05-17.png
There are two partitions:
  • a large ext4 partition where all my backups are stored - for backintime, timeshift and foxclone.
  • a small ext4 partition (shows as 20GiB, but 10GiB is big enough). This has LM19.3 installed in it. Why - so that I can boot from the backup drive without needing a separate usb stick with foxclone on it (or in your case a DVD) = much simpler and quicker. This is shown at the end of the drive - it doesn't matter where it is, I put it at the end because the large partition already existed and to create a new partition at the beginning of the drive would have meant moving many GB of data (all my other backups) = a long time.
So... delete the existing partitions on your usb HDD and create two new ext4 partitions, one small, one large, both primary partitions (you don't need an extended partition with only two partitions). Make sure you add a label to the large partition. Mine is labelled ultrabay (because the drive lives in the ultrabay in the laptop, you could use backup or whatever you like).

If you do this with gparted, the partitions will be owned by root (so it will be read only). Foxclone runs as root so doesn't care, but if you want to be able to save other stuff to it, in a terminal sudo chown -R $USER:$USER /media/you/mylabel (a good reason for labeling partitions, otherwise it would mount using the UUID = not user friendly). If you use disks to create the partitions, don't think you get this ownership problem (I don't use disks).

Now install mint to the usb HDD. I chose LM19.3 simply to distinguish it from the main system (all running either LM19.0 or LM20.0), doesn't matter, pick the one you want. Choose the 'something else' option and on the next screen select the small partition on the usb HDD (probably sdb1 if you created the small one first) and click on the change button, tell it to use it for /. At the bottom of the screen is a drop down where you tell it where to put the bootloader. It will probably be saying sda (your main system drive), you don't want this. Select sdb (your usb HDD). We want this so that you can independently boot the usb drive if your main drive dies. Install mint...

Reboot and at the manufacturers splash screen press the key that brings up the BIOS boot list (this is F12 on my thinkpads, F11 on my desktop, yours may be different). Select the usb drive and boot it.

Download the foxclone deb file from the website. Install it as you would any other deb file (double click on it in your file manager). You now have a usb HDD you can independently boot with foxclone installed in it without having to have a separate DVD. You can also install any other utilities (like gparted) into the version of mint on the usb HDD and set it up how you want.

When you boot your main system again, if you want, you can open a terminal and sudo update-grub (usb HDD must be plugged in), mint will find the version of mint on the usb and add it to the list. Next time you boot you will be given the choice of the main system or the usb HDD - makes it easier to boot for routine backups, don't need to go into BIOS. You don't have to do this.
Firstly, How do I prepare the 1 Tb usb HDD to accept the clone to the first partition and have a second partition for periodic /home back up?
Secondly, can I periodically backup /home to the second partition using Foxclone (I am not certain that Foxclone can select a specific folder for back up) or the Backups app (I’m not certain if Backups can save to a specific partition).
You don't need a second partition. You now have one large partition for your backups and can save different backups in different folders. This is what my backup partition looks like on one of my T430's:
Screenshot from 2020-11-10 13-57-08.png
Most of the folders are foxclone backups of various installations I used for testing - different linux distros, combinations of dual boot. You can also see I use it for my backintime and timeshift snapshots.

The first backup you do must be a full backup, i.e. all partitions. Thereafter, you can periodically backup just your home partition* as long as you don't make any changes to the partitions (size or position). I made a mistake recently playing with LM20. Made a full backup of LM19.0 (/ and /home partitions) before I installed LM20. Told mint to reformat / but leave /home unchanged. Then wanted to revert to LM19.0. Tried to restore just the / partition. Foxclone told me the partition table had changed and insisted on restoring it. I ended up with a system that wouldn't boot and had to do a full restore of LM19.0 (/ and /home). The installer had deleted and re-created the / partition when it installed LM20 = changed partition table.

EDIT - * to be honest, there is not much point just backing up /home. /home is likely to be several times bigger than / and take correspondingly longer to backup. You might as well just backup everything each time - you will probably be adding a few minutes to the backup time and a few GB to the backup size. If you look at the file manager screenshot, the image for / is 7GB (sdc1), the image file for /home is 90GB (sdc2).
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by Drugwash »

Andy, you are a monument of patience and good will (as I once was too). I bow before you, and I mean it. May you stay in good health and may you keep this positive helpful attitude for as long as it will make you feel good. Thank you for all your work so far and good luck ahead!
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by MartyMint »

AndyMH wrote:
Tue Nov 10, 2020 10:16 am
EDIT - * to be honest, there is not much point just backing up /home. /home is likely to be several times bigger than / and take correspondingly longer to backup. You might as well just backup everything each time
That's exactly what I would recommend.

Why fuss with what partition to back up....what gets backed up....where does it go?

Just image the WHOLE thing. The noob friendliest way to make sure you got everything....and the easiest way to recover to a perfectly running system that is set up exactly the way you left it before the imaging.
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by Finston Pickle »

Thanks for the update AndyMH - I appreciate the time you spent replying.

I have two laptops that I with to keep to the same standard (in case of problems with either). They were both cloned from my Desktop PC, with uuid corrections as necessary, so not quite identical.

I think that in spite of your suggestions that I will use my DVD running Foxclone 42 using disk to disk clone, rather that backup, to the single, large, external msdos = legacy = mbr ext4 usb HDD partition named Tosh clone bckup. Perhaps/probably I will do this for both laptops to stop uuid errors needing correcting in the future. It could be I am talking myself into using backup rather than clone, as you suggested. However clone does ultimately seem to offer more flexibility, I think.

As the usb HDD was reformatted in disks I hope to use Backups (Deja Dup) to drop periodic /home backups into the same usb HDD partition. I know Backups will only restore to the laptop it was used with.

If anything goes wrong, I will be in touch and reconsider your advice.


P.S. in your sudo chown -R $USER:$USER /media/you/mylabel terminal command allowing users, other than root, access to the usb HDD - I assume the only bits I need to change, if I were to use this, are you = my laptop username and my usb HDD partition label i.e. Tosh clone bckup
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by AndyMH »

As the usb HDD was reformatted in disks I hope to use Backups (Deja Dup) to drop periodic /home backups into the same usb HDD partition. I know Backups will only restore to the laptop it was used with.
If you put any Deja Dup backups on that drive and then use foxclone to do another clone to it, it will overwrite your Deja Dup backups. That is why I am recommending backup as opposed to clone.

Yes, you can only restore* to the drive the backup was taken from, but you can use 'clone from file' to restore that backup to another drive. I have used this several times, moving an installation on one laptop to another. There are two options under clone, direct drive to drive and from a backup to a drive.
P.S. in your sudo chown -R $USER:$USER /media/you/mylabel terminal command allowing users, other than root, access to the usb HDD - I assume the only bits I need to change, if I were to use this, are you = my laptop username and my usb HDD partition label i.e. Tosh clone bckup
Yes, the only caveat is if you have spaces in the label name you must put quotes around the path, i.e. not /media/you/Tosh clone bckup but "/media/you/Tosh clone bckup". Generally, life is easier if you avoid spaces in file, folder and label names.

Note - if you do follow my suggestion to install mint to your external HDD, be very careful. I have a friend who earlier this week was doing the same (but with UEFI boot) and managed to overwrite the partition table on his main system drive, thereby completely wiping it.


* I set foxclone up this way to make it as bullet-proof as possible for a new user doing backup and restore.
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by Finston Pickle »

Hi AndyMH,

Thanks mightily for the update - you are both a Genius and a Saint for bearing with me.

Yes, I have seen the light!

Backup of my whole laptop O/S periodically, using FoxClone 42, enabling me to restore the O/S to the original laptop (if ever required) and Backups (DejaDup) more frequently to back up home as I go (as I am happy with Backups).

PLUS, as a bonus, the ability to actually clone the laptop O/S to another PC if ever required using clone file to drive.

AND using clone to move from my existing laptop HDD to a new laptop SSD ( if I can find one that fits), again if ever required.


PS Point taken about my usb HDD partition naming, which will now be ToshBckupBckups - it's for my Toshiba laptop.

Time to start the backing up...
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Can Foxclone Clone Bigger to Smaller Drive?

Post by Kendoori »

I have a 943 GB SSD on which I did a fresh install. This time around it's all ext4 (no LVM). I have a limited amount of local media/document as I'm mounting OneDrive and Google Drive and use those for ongoing storage (Google Drive is backed up via a paid service called Spanning). I have everything set up per my liking, and would love to clone the whole system onto another bootable drive. I have an external enclosure with a SSD of the same size, but seems like a waste, given that my new install and config is taking up 34 GB.

Is there a way of using Foxclone or similar to go large-->smaller disk? I have a 120GB flash drive.

I've used Clonezilla plenty in my past, also Macrium. Here's what my disk looks like now.

Image
Last edited by Kendoori on Sat Nov 21, 2020 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by racer-x »

You can always do a temporary resize to shrink the partition before you make the image, then resize it back up afterward. same goes for restoring it, only in reverse. That's how I would tackle that.

Or better yet, make two partitions, one for OS and one for data.
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by Kendoori »

racer-x wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:47 pm
You can always do a temporary resize to shrink the partition before you make the image, then resize it back up afterward. same goes for restoring it, only in reverse. That's how I would tackle that.

Or better yet, make two partitions, one for OS and one for data.
Actually, now that I'm back on ext4 that sounds easy and practical :-)
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Re: Can Foxclone Clone Bigger to Smaller Drive?

Post by AZgl1500 »

Kendoori wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:33 pm
I have a limited amount of local media/document as I'm mounting OneDrive and Google Drive and use those for ongoing storage (Google Drive is backed up via a paid service called Spanning)
I don't understand folks who use off site, cloud backups.
It is expensive and for those of us with a 3kBps upload limit, totally impossible to do.

Far better to have a local Monster USB backup drive. No ongoing costs that way.
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Re: Can Foxclone Clone Bigger to Smaller Drive?

Post by Kendoori »

AZgl1500 wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:15 pm
Kendoori wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:33 pm
I have a limited amount of local media/document as I'm mounting OneDrive and Google Drive and use those for ongoing storage (Google Drive is backed up via a paid service called Spanning)
I don't understand folks who use off site, cloud backups.
It is expensive and for those of us with a 3kBps upload limit, totally impossible to do.

Far better to have a local Monster USB backup drive. No ongoing costs that way.
I actually am not backing up the cloud, I am working in the cloud and have enough bandwidth where it feels like it's local. I mount my cloud drives as though they are local. This allows me to work off of any device and have access to anything I need without a specic computer or physical location. It has substantially reduced my local storage requirements. Backups happen cloud to 3rd party cloud.
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Re: Can Foxclone Clone Bigger to Smaller Drive?

Post by AZgl1500 »

Kendoori wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:53 pm
AZgl1500 wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:15 pm
Kendoori wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:33 pm
I have a limited amount of local media/document as I'm mounting OneDrive and Google Drive and use those for ongoing storage (Google Drive is backed up via a paid service called Spanning)
I don't understand folks who use off site, cloud backups.
It is expensive and for those of us with a 3kBps upload limit, totally impossible to do.

Far better to have a local Monster USB backup drive. No ongoing costs that way.
I actually am not backing up the cloud, I am working in the cloud and have enough bandwidth where it feels like it's local. I mount my cloud drives as though they are local. This allows me to work off of any device and have access to anything I need without a specic computer or physical location. It has substantially reduced my local storage requirements. Backups happen cloud to 3rd party cloud.
That is a Luxury that I will never see in my Lifetime.
in the cattle country, we have to use cell towers as our pipeline to the internet.
and 40Mbps is like a Race Horse, only that is rare too, the usual speed is 8Mbps down,
and Uploads are ALWAYS RESTRICTED TO 10 PERCENT of the downloads.
just not fair at all, AT&T is the one doing this...

T-Mobile does not restrict uploads, but they do not have any service in my area.
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by Kendoori »

racer-x wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:47 pm
You can always do a temporary resize to shrink the partition before you make the image, then resize it back up afterward. same goes for restoring it, only in reverse. That's how I would tackle that.

Or better yet, make two partitions, one for OS and one for data.
I booted into FoxClone, fired up gParted and shrunk my SSD and then successfully did a clone. For whatever reason, I can't boot from it. I suspect that this has something to do with UEFI and/or GRUB. On my Thinkpad T480 I couldn't find a way to disable my onboard SSD and don't want to crack it open.
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Re: Can Foxclone Clone Bigger to Smaller Drive?

Post by Kendoori »

AZgl1500 wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:28 pm
Kendoori wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:53 pm
AZgl1500 wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:15 pm


I don't understand folks who use off site, cloud backups.
It is expensive and for those of us with a 3kBps upload limit, totally impossible to do.

Far better to have a local Monster USB backup drive. No ongoing costs that way.
I actually am not backing up the cloud, I am working in the cloud and have enough bandwidth where it feels like it's local. I mount my cloud drives as though they are local. This allows me to work off of any device and have access to anything I need without a specic computer or physical location. It has substantially reduced my local storage requirements. Backups happen cloud to 3rd party cloud.
That is a Luxury that I will never see in my Lifetime.
in the cattle country, we have to use cell towers as our pipeline to the internet.
and 40Mbps is like a Race Horse, only that is rare too, the usual speed is 8Mbps down,
and Uploads are ALWAYS RESTRICTED TO 10 PERCENT of the downloads.
just not fair at all, AT&T is the one doing this...

T-Mobile does not restrict uploads, but they do not have any service in my area.
Apologies for being broadband spoiled. We had cable go down because of high winds a few weeks ago and was out for 3 days, forced to tether the house off of my phone and I got to experience life at a throttled speed.

Have you been watching the SpaceX Starlink developments? Is this a good option for you: https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... impressed/
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Re: Can Foxclone Clone Bigger to Smaller Drive?

Post by AZgl1500 »

Kendoori wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:34 pm
Have you been watching the SpaceX Starlink developments? Is this a good option for you: https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... impressed/
oh yes,
but that wont happen in my Life Time either, we are in Oklahoma and not considered to be deprived.....

no matter where you live, if you are 30 plus miles from a major metro area, you do NOT have Fibre cable service at all.

18 miles east of me is Cox Cable, 13 miles south of me is fibre, but none of the providers will leave a major town/city for the rural outback.

we are screwed like the pooch.

we have a six acre patch of grass and trees, love it and won't leave it.
but, IF, we were to ever move again and not likely for me at 78 years of age, can't afford it....

Fibre Cable access would be the #1 Priority for a new living space....
Service less than 100Mbps, and I would not consider it.
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Re: Can Foxclone Clone Bigger to Smaller Drive?

Post by Kendoori »

AZgl1500 wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:39 pm
Kendoori wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:34 pm
Have you been watching the SpaceX Starlink developments? Is this a good option for you: https://arstechnica.com/information-tec ... impressed/
oh yes,
but that wont happen in my Life Time either, we are in Oklahoma and not considered to be deprived.....

no matter where you live, if you are 30 plus miles from a major metro area, you do NOT have Fibre cable service at all.

18 miles east of me is Cox Cable, 13 miles south of me is fibre, but none of the providers will leave a major town/city for the rural outback.

we are screwed like the pooch.

we have a six acre patch of grass and trees, love it and won't leave it.
but, IF, we were to ever move again and not likely for me at 78 years of age, can't afford it....

Fibre Cable access would be the #1 Priority for a new living space....
Service less than 100Mbps, and I would not consider it.
I think the satellite thing will be more pervasive sooner than you think.
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by AndyMH »

Kendoori wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:31 pm
I booted into FoxClone, fired up gParted and shrunk my SSD and then successfully did a clone. For whatever reason, I can't boot from it. I suspect that this has something to do with UEFI and/or GRUB. On my Thinkpad T480 I couldn't find a way to disable my onboard SSD and don't want to crack it open.
Was this UEFI boot?
Can you remove the source drive and replace with the cloned drive.

If UEFI, suspect this is something to do with the boot manager. Can you go into the BIOS boot list and select the drive not the 'ubuntu' entry. I am not an expert with misbehaving UEFI boots but think you can fix it with efibootmgr.

Broadband - spoilt or lucky, also very rural, five years ago download was 100KB, benefited from the UK Gov's rural broadband scheme (with two years hard work lobbying by our local parish council). BT ran fibre from the exchange to a cabinet in the next door village, speed increased to 25MB (that was when I switched to mint - could download stuff), now the village has its own cabinet and a month ago changed provider and now get 70MB. Bliss!
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by Kendoori »

AndyMH wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 7:03 am
Kendoori wrote:
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:31 pm
I booted into FoxClone, fired up gParted and shrunk my SSD and then successfully did a clone. For whatever reason, I can't boot from it. I suspect that this has something to do with UEFI and/or GRUB. On my Thinkpad T480 I couldn't find a way to disable my onboard SSD and don't want to crack it open.
Was this UEFI boot?
Can you remove the source drive and replace with the cloned drive.

If UEFI, suspect this is something to do with the boot manager. Can you go into the BIOS boot list and select the drive not the 'ubuntu' entry. I am not an expert with misbehaving UEFI boots but think you can fix it with efibootmgr.

Broadband - spoilt or lucky, also very rural, five years ago download was 100KB, benefited from the UK Gov's rural broadband scheme (with two years hard work lobbying by our local parish council). BT ran fibre from the exchange to a cabinet in the next door village, speed increased to 25MB (that was when I switched to mint - could download stuff), now the village has its own cabinet and a month ago changed provider and now get 70MB. Bliss!
New fangled laptops are a PITA to open, so am not going to do this. RE: efibootmgr, feels like a bit of rat's nest (but the add entry option described here would likely fix this: https://www.linuxbabe.com/command-line/ ... r-examples ). I may try doing the whole thing all over again.. and just for grins may tray a different method (Clonezilla or Macrium).

RE: fast Broadband is easy to get hooked on once you have it (I recognize that this is a privilege). I live on an island, but the cable TV infrastructure is reasonably solid hence fast internet at relatively low cost (albeit asymmetrical). Hard for us old-schoolers to trust this, but wireless is the eventual solution. Musk and Bezos (and others) are on a fast-track to get the Internet everywhere.

Since I've had weather-related outages back in New England and now in the southeast US, I've been looking at using an LTE backup and Google FI (assuming you have coverage from them) is a reasonable option cost-wise. One of my routers has a USB port on it, and I can just plug my phone into it and broadcast through my home network.
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by racer-x »

Kendoori wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:43 am
New fangled laptops are a PITA to open, so am not going to do this. RE: efibootmgr, feels like a bit of rat's nest
Try switching to Legacy boot mode in the BIOS. That's what I do, even on my brand new laptop.
Kendoori wrote:
Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:43 am
Since I've had weather-related outages back in New England and now in the southeast US, I've been looking at using an LTE backup and Google FI (assuming you have coverage from them) is a reasonable option cost-wise. One of my routers has a USB port on it, and I can just plug my phone into it and broadcast through my home network.
That's a cool Idea I my try whenever I loose my FIOS.
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Re: Foxclone - linux image backup, restore & clone

Post by AndyMH »

I may try doing the whole thing all over again.. and just for grins may tray a different method (Clonezilla or Macrium).
I would be surprised if the outcome was different, think it's UEFI boot. If you were booting legacy you wouldn't have this problem, you'd just point BIOS at the cloned drive and it would boot. I know because I've done that. I've got some playing to do with cloning a UEFI dual boot (someone else reporting a problem) and will see what happens, and if a problem, can I fix it.

Also got a usb port on the router, but no good, we have no mobile signal at home. They only way we get a signal is from a box plugged into the internet, no internet = no mobile. What you get from being rural and living in a valley.
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