Imaging a System with Open Source Software

With the use of the System Rescue CD, gParted, and Partimage, it is possible to take an image of a system partition and to save it to another partition (for restoration or other purposes). Lifehacker had a complete description of how to do this (with screenshots); if you’re a system administrator, most of the steps should almost be self-explanatory (almost). The basic steps are these:

  • Resize the partition
  • Create a partition to store the image
  • Image the disk to a disk file on the secondary partition

There must, of course, be enough space on the secondary partition to store the image. Generally, since the image is a pristine environment, it should compress to a smaller size than the partition it is on. For example, a new Windows install on a 20G drive will not`certainly take 20G.

What the System Rescue CD does is make this much easier and place all of the programs together, and in a graphical form. The Rescue CD also contains network tools and other programs. The Rescue CD may be copied to a USB memory device and run from there if you have a system that will boot from a USB stick.

Although there is also a PowerPC version, it appears to be a version from 2003 which has not seen significant development since. Perhaps I will dip my fingers into it – I’ve wanted to get back into development again.

The System Rescue CD is also suitable for a small CDROM – that is, it is less than 150M in size. This can be quite handy, and means that a 256M USB memory device is just the right size – and that the download is not going to be huge. There are instructions on how to make your own customized CD, as well as instructions on how to create a bootable USB stick with the CD.

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