YAST>Partitioner>Expert>Clone this disk questions?

I am getting ready to do a update moving from openSUSE 11.3 to 11.4. This is an update not a new install. In preparation for this I am wanting to clone my existing master drive as a failsafe.
In the YAST partition tool under the expert button I see clone this drive. Is this to clone to a bare drive or must you be able to magically make the partition sizes on a additional drive match exactly? / and /home are the partitions on the master drive. /swap lives on a different drive. Is the drive actually formatted before data is written to it or is it just quick formatted? It looks as if you must clone each partition separately is this the case?

If I can clone the existing master drive I’ll do the update on the clone and leave the original drive untouched as my back up in case something goes amiss.

This is not a complete anser! Especial beacuse I do not know what YaST exectly does (I would use dd to clone, but I do not say that you should do the same :wink: ).

Cloning of partitions means copying all and everything from the first to the last byte of the source partition to the target partition. That other partition better has to be of the same size (when it is to small you get an I/O error at the end and part of the cloning is not done, when it is to large, part of the new partition is unused, but do you know where to stop reding when you want to use that partition?).

Also creating any structure (like a file system) on that target partition (you call that “formatting” I guess) is useless because all and everything is written over. I hope this gives you a better background information about what cloning is.

I have a hard drive of the same make and model that I wish to clone to. I assume nothing. I know “quick formatting” isn’t so hot and I want to stay away from that if I can. I guess I am still looking for someone who knows how to use the partiitioner in YAST to do this.

I am not good at the CLI so I don’t know “dd”. I know YAST and it has a cloning tool in the partition tool but it looks like you have to clone each partition on the drive separately.

Pmagic has a cloning tool too but I have 6 drives in this machine if you include the drive I am going to be cloning to (I took one out to make room for this drive) mistakes happen I have made them before.

I have used the cloning tool in Pmajic to clone a Windows drive before and it was a bigger drive I was cloning to so I dragged the partition size out after I cloned the drive and it worked fine. I don’t think I’d try that with any EXT file system though.

The easiest way to clone a drive is to boot to a live environment and use a tool like dd or dd_rescue, which will clone all partitions, the boot loader, partition table, various file system types, etc. It is really very simple to do for any Live CD (it does not have to be a Suse Live CD, as nearly every live environment out there will have the dd and / or dd_rescue commands.)

Another option is CloneZilla, which is basically an Ubuntu Live CD with cloning tools and a menu driven system which you can boot directly too. You can then do drive to drive, partition to partition or even partition to image (local or remote via NFS, Samba, sshfs, etc.) It is an extremely handy tool, and as it is file system aware it is much, much faster than dd.


I am using the G4L (Ghost for Linux) from the Pmagic disk right now as I type this. I looked at Clonzilla which is included with Pmagic CD but the dialogs were somewhat confusing to me.

What I don’t know is if it copies the MBR? Doesn’t Grub keep something there that allows the Drive to boot? There is a utility for copying the MBR on Pmagic too.

Just to quickly add 7 hours estimated to copy byte for byte. It’s already at 25% so I am thinking that might be a bad estimation. :open_mouth:

Hey there,

The MBR should be copied using the tool you are using as it sounds like it’s doing a bitwise copy - almost certainly just using dd (or similar) behind the scenes.

The Clonezilla menus could be cleaned up a bit, but for disk to disk copies it’s pretty simple - and MUCH faster than bitwise copies as Clonezilla is file system aware, so you get much faster speeds (I would say about 10x’s faster than a block copy operation).

It wasn’t clear to me looking at the menu items what was going to happen to what based on the selections I was presented with in Clonzilla. For sheer ease of use G4L (Ghost for Linux) was fool proof. There was no guessing. It was plain what I was going to be doing to what. The user interface is a big deal. Both are present on the Pmajic disk.