Disk imaging utilities

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AndyMH
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Disk imaging utilities

Post by AndyMH » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:59 pm

WARNING - only read if geek inclined.

Since I first came to mint in 2016, I’ve been a fan of redo. Compared to alternatives like clonezilla, it is a simple program to use, especially for a newbie, but:
  • It hasn’t been updated since 2012.
  • The redo website, redobackup.org, has disappeared - the domain is available to buy if you want :)
  • The iso is based on ubuntu 12.04 and running a 3.13 kernel so a long way out of date.
  • Looking under the hood, it sort of doesn’t understand GPT. MBR = 512 bytes at the start of a disk, GPT = 33x512 bytes at the start and copied at the end of the disk. Redo uses dd to copy the first 64x512 bytes, so okay but it misses the copy at the end.
So not something with a future. I also struggled, but did succeed, to get it to boot with my latest desktop (i5-8400) and boot from USB.

Time to look at alternatives, or since I’m retired, maybe redo redo.
  • Clonezilla - I’m not a fan, clunky UI and confusing, especially for a newbie.
  • Fsarchiver - a CLI utility, there are GUIs for it, I tried installing from ppa dieterbaum/qt-fsarchiver, it complained it wanted v0.8.5-8 for fsarchiver, the version from the repos is v0.8.4. Then ran, but woudn’t show any drives/partitions. Think there is a python front end but not tried. Also not impressed that NTFS support is still stated to be ‘experimental’.
  • Mondo Rescue - a CLI UI and doesn’t save images.
  • Partimage - CLI with a GUI, but no ext4 support.
  • Doclone - I want an iso image not a tar.gz to build.
  • Partclone - CLI, it’s what redo and clonezilla are based on.
There are probably other FOSS that I’ve missed, the only other one I’ve looked at (from comments on the forum) is Macrium Reflect (UK software - yes!! and I am biased), there is a free version:
  • It is windows based, I have an instinctive aversion to this
  • It out-performs redo on speed, but under-performs on image size (test - 45G used NTFS GPT drive on SSD to 5400rpm HDD, macrium reflect 8:48mins/20.8G image file, redo 13:54mins/18.4G)
  • It is very slow to boot (USB3), macrium = 1:31mins, redo = 22 secs.
  • Reasonably simple to use - I’d argue that redo is simpler.
This led to me looking ‘under the hood’ at redo:
  • It is a front end for partclone.
  • It is a perl script.
  • It uses glade to generate the GUI (I’d never heard of it).
  • It uses gzip to compress the output from partclone - no choices on compression level, set at 3.
  • Output then ‘split’ into 2048M files - to meet the 2TB limit on legacy filesystems - no choices.
And then, doing some tests with partclone replacing gzip compression with pigz to take advantage of multi-core/thread modern CPUs. Done on an i5-3210 (2 cores = 4 threads) from a sata3 SSD NTFS partition to a msata2 ext4 partition for the image file:
Workspace 1_004.png
Workspace 1_004.png (16.31 KiB) Viewed 357 times
Uncompressed results in a 19.4G file, the time is about 4mins, gzip is terrible at over 8mins and explains redo’s performance relative to macrium reflect. Pigz with a compression level of 3 is quicker than the uncompressed backup. Different levels of compression increase time but don’t significantly reduce image size. There is a trade here - backing up to an HDD rather than SSD will take longer so a higher compression level is likely to be better - suggesting that any ‘update’ to redo should have the ability to change the compression level.

Moving forward, it would seem that any priorities for an updated redo should be:
  • Replace gzip with pigz
  • Move to a modern, small distro as the base - it would be nice to be able to boot from CD. Open to suggestions here, but I’d like it to be debian/ubuntu based (apt). antiX????
For a rewrite of redo, perl would be at the bottom of the list (I’ve bought a book), in order of decreasing competence my skills are:
  • Pascal (lazarus - reasonably easy to implement a GUI), ~ 20k lines of code.
  • C++ (arduino), but I'd have to marry that with a GUI (glade/qt5 designer? = zero experience), ~ 2k lines of code.
  • Python, < 500 lines of code.
Suggestions on the way forward?

View this as the equivalent of Catweazel’s aims to produce something akin to synctoy for linux - a project with no defined end date (at least for me - ‘her indoors’ has a long list of things to do in the house and garden) . :(
Homebrew i5-8400+GTX1080 Cinnamon 19.0, 3 x Thinkpad T430 Cinnamon 19.0, i7-3632 , i5-3320, i5-3210, Thinkpad T60 19.0 Mate

Kendoori
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Re: Disk imaging utilities

Post by Kendoori » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:58 pm

Andy, I'm not a programmer, so I can't really help. That said, power to you, and I've subscribed to this thread to see where it goes.

I agree that Clonezilla is confusing, and make sure I read and reread all the prompts when I use it so that I don't do something I regret. That said, it does work well and is very reliable.

I have used the free version of Macrium a ton over the years, and it works really really well. To have something like it that was FOSS, would be amazing. I have also successfully used DriveImage XML (also a Windows program): https://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm

Good luck!

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vansloneker
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Re: Disk imaging utilities

Post by vansloneker » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:07 pm

Not to be unkind but you understand Linux, you understand harddisks, but you don't understand Clonezilla?

If you are good with Linux, why not use DD?
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AndyMH
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Re: Disk imaging utilities

Post by AndyMH » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:58 am

I don't like it, the UI is clunky and for a newbie confusing.
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catweazel
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Re: Disk imaging utilities

Post by catweazel » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:06 am

AndyMH wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:58 am
I don't like it, the UI is clunky and for a newbie confusing.
Quite a few people swear by Macrium Reflect free. I like Clonezilla because it's quick and simple to use.
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Pierre
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Re: Disk imaging utilities

Post by Pierre » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:28 am

most folks will say to use Macrium Reflect,
as CloneZilla is too clunky... both do work, well.
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vansloneker
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Re: Disk imaging utilities

Post by vansloneker » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:07 pm

HD Clone wasn't yet mentioned. Free version is limited, but a very powerful tool.
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AndyMH
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Re: Disk imaging utilities

Post by AndyMH » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:44 pm

Like macrium, windows based. Bit stuffed if you don't have a PC running windows. I've just downloaded and will have a look at it, thanks.
Homebrew i5-8400+GTX1080 Cinnamon 19.0, 3 x Thinkpad T430 Cinnamon 19.0, i7-3632 , i5-3320, i5-3210, Thinkpad T60 19.0 Mate

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AndyMH
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Re: Disk imaging utilities

Post by AndyMH » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:30 pm

Had a look at HD clone, or at least the free version.

It won't:
  • Backup individual partitions, you can only backup a complete drive
  • Backup to an ext4 partition, you can only backup to an NTFS (and probably FAT32) partition
  • Compress the backup image, so takes lots of disk space
Some of these constraints can be removed by paying for their range of different versions, basic €20, standard €40 or professional €100, but suspect that none of these will backup to an ext4 partition.

So a big thumbs down from me.
Homebrew i5-8400+GTX1080 Cinnamon 19.0, 3 x Thinkpad T430 Cinnamon 19.0, i7-3632 , i5-3320, i5-3210, Thinkpad T60 19.0 Mate

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