Windows Hard Drive Image Backup using Linux Knoppix(5 or 4) and dd


Note: This page is for use with an older Knoppix such as versions 5 or 4. If you are using a more up-to-date version such as Knoppix 6, then use the updated How-To.

Note: To reduce duplication, this page skips the Intro and Quick summary.


WHAT TO DO - A DETAILED STEP BY STEP GUIDE

  1. Burn a Knoppix CDrom Disk.

    Why Knoppix? There are other tools such as Recovery Is Possible! RIP, but Knoppix is easy to find, easy to use, has a nice graphical user interface and a lot of other useful applications squeezed onto one CD.

    This is the latest website location where you can find Knoppix. If you do not understand the default language, click the appropriate flag for the language of your choice since Knoppix CDroms come in several languages.

    What you will want to do is go to the download section and select an appropriate FTP website where you can download a CDrom ISO. Some FTP websites are more up to date than others and some will download faster than others so you may wish to look at a few FTP websites before downloading.

    If you are selecting an English CD ISO it will likely have EN in the title such as KNOPPIX_V5.1.1CD-2007-01-04-EN.iso so look around.

    The CDrom ISO files are about 690MB in size (with about 2G of compressed files and programs) while the DVD ISO files are about 4.7GB in size (and contain over 8G of compressed files and programs). These ISO files are large and will take some time to download even if you have a fast Internet connection.

    If your CD burner program has a method to verify checksums, you may also want to download the md5 or sha1 ASCII text files which are about 300 bytes in size. These are text checksum files which you can read using a plain notepad or text editor type of program and you can verify the checksum against what your CD burner program calculates as a checksum before you burn a CDrom, this way, you know you downloaded the ISO file without errors and then you can verify that the CDrom you burn is also without errors.

  2. Cleanup your Windows Computer Hard Drive.

    Basically, setup your computer the best you can so that if you need to restore this copy in future, it is a reasonably clean copy to install. For example, if you downloaded the Knoppix ISO mentioned above, deleting the file from your hard drive after creating the CDrom Disk will save you an extra CDrom disk while making backups.

    You will want to delete unwanted files, such as temporary files and clean-out the recycle bin, clean-out caches (check your "restore points" since this may be significant in size and some programs hold temp files in subdirectories too) and you may want to defragment the hard drive so that it is reasonably clean if you need to do a future re-install. In summary, you clean up once - now, instead of twice or more - later.

    Next, install the Knoppix CDrom in the CD drive and restart your computer to bootup from the CDrom.

  3. Start up the Knoppix CDrom.

    Once the Knoppix CDrom boots up, look along the left side of the screen and you will notice hard drive icon links to locations on your hard drive such as "hda1", "hda2", "hda3", etc. If you want to click on them, go ahead and look. You won't be using these during backup, but it is a good indicator that the Knoppix CDrom recognized your physical hard drive okay.

    If you are recovering from a previous disaster, this is a good time to copy your Documents and Data information to another location before wiping the drive clean with a previously existing "good" copy because once that is done, all previous information is completely gone.

    You may be interested in knowing the entire hard drive is "hda", where "hd" is for hard drive and "a" is for the 1st primary hard drive (and "b", "c", "d" for following secondary hard drives), then the following numbers are divisions or partitions on the hard drive such as 1, 2, 3.
    Some computer setups may have "sda" for SATA hard drives instead of "hda" for IDE type hard drives.

    In the center of the screen you will have an open Konqueror Web Browser window which may point to "file:/cdrom/index.html" or some other file located on the CDrom itself. Before going any further, you should see if you can access the network. One quick easy check if your computer has Internet access is to type in an Internet location such as www.JoesCat.com and see if it appears in the browser window, if yes, you are ready to go to the next step since you have a network connection.

  4. Create a Folder Path

    If you hover the mouse near the bottom of the screen over the black-box icon it should say something like "Terminal Program". Click on the "Terminal Program" to bring up a command-line shell.

    Next, you want to create a folder which you will link between this computer and the network computer so type in the appropriate commands below:

    knoppix@1[knoppix]# cd /mnt
    knoppix@1[mnt]$ su
    root@1[mnt]# mkdir backup
    root@1[mnt]# chmod 777 backup
    root@1[mnt]# ls -l
    total 5
    drwxr-xr-x 2 root root    0 Feb 20 11:55 auto
    drwxrwxrwx 2 root root 1024 Feb 20 12:00 backup
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   15 Feb 20 11:55 cdrom -> /mnt/auto/cdrom
    lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root   16 Feb 20 11:55 floppy -> /mnt/auto/floppy                   
    drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 1024 Feb 20 11:55 hda2
    drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 1024 Feb 20 11:55 hda5
    drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 1024 Feb 20 11:55 hda6
    drwxr-xr-x 2 root root 1024 Feb 20 11:55 hda7
    root@1[mnt]#

    Here is an explanation of the commands you just did above:

    In the example shown above, you may note "hda2", "hda5", "hda6", "hda7". Those are the partitions (divisions) on this particular computer hard drive (your computer may show different values). Knoppix did not mount these yet since you already have a graphical version you can select with the mouse on the left side of the screen for now. Your computer may have one or more partitions depending on how it was built but that won't matter since you will be copying everything from "hda" to the network backup drive.

    Right now, you should have a "/mnt/backup" directory, but it is not linked yet, that comes next.

  5. Create The SMB Network Link.

    Now create the SMB link by using Knoppix's mount command. Check the details below before you begin since you need to substitute your server's raw address location for "server" (for example network address 192.168.0.100), it's correct "share" name, your "username", and your "password" to access the server. It is shown the way it is now so that it all fits on one line.

    root@1[mnt]# mount -t smbfs -o username=name,password=secret //server/share backup
    root@1[mnt]# ls -a -l backup
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root     1024 Jan  1 12:00 ./
    drwxr-xr-x 7 root root     1024 Feb 28 12:17 ../
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  5971432 Jan  5 17:15 Firefox Setup 2.0.0.1.exe
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 98554909 Jan  5 17:12 OOo_2.1.0_Win32Intel_install_en-US.exe   
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  6342512 Jan  5 17:16 Thunderbird Setup 1.5.0.9.exe
    root@1[mnt]#

    These are the commands you did above:

  6. Backup The Windows Hard Drive To The Network Computer.

    Skip this step if you are restoring the hard drive from a backup image.

    After much searching around and finding some rather long scripts and programs, the hunt for a solution came up with the rather simple formula shown below. If you were expecting more, nothing else is needed. Making a backup over a network may take some time to complete but most of the work and compression is done before the data is sent to the network machine.

    Additionally, due to using a "chmod" command earlier, you can view the directory using any of the Knoppix graphical browsers as work progresses. You may need to refresh the display occasionally to see progress.

    You may note that information is piped "|" from the output of one program to the input of the next program and that there are three programs that run consecutively one after the next.

    Follow the steps below if you want to make a backup image of the hard drive (Alternatively, there are other programs and tools you can use, but this long command is quite simple and straightforward).

    Before following the steps below, you may want to consider a way to make the backup go very fast. Check this other page for additional steps for a fast image backup using option bs.

    root@1[mnt]# dd if=/dev/hda | gzip -c | split -b 638m - /mnt/backup/backup.img.gz.
    root@1[mnt]# ls -a -l backup
    drwxr-xr-x 1 root root      1024 Jan  1 12:00 ./
    drwxr-xr-x 7 root root      1024 Feb 28 12:17 ../
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 668991488 Feb 28 14:42 backup.img.gz.aa
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 668991488 Feb 28 15:41 backup.img.gz.ab
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 668991488 Feb 28 16:37 backup.img.gz.ac
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 101479364 Feb 28 17:11 backup.img.gz.ad
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root   5971432 Jan  5 17:15 Firefox Setup 2.0.0.1.exe
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  98554909 Jan  5 17:12 OOo_2.1.0_Win32Intel_install_en-US.exe  
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root   6342512 Jan  5 17:16 Thunderbird Setup 1.5.0.9.exe
    root@1[mnt]#

    These are the steps you have done above:

    Note that, except for copying the files to the server, that all the work of compression and splitting files is done on the computer running Knoppix so that you do not load-down the server computer with extra work. Also note, that the work of backing up the hard drive will take a long period of time depending on the CPU speed of the computer running Knoppix, the size of the hard drive to backup, the network connection speed, and the speed of the server computer to accept the backup data files.

  7. To Restore The Windows Hard Drive From The Network Computer.

    Skip this step if you are only doing a backup.

    Instead of sending data to the network drive, use the commands below to restore the image back to the hard drive. Again, it all comes down to a one line command, but make sure your data is seen (using ls) before proceeding with the one-line command.

    Before following the steps below, you may want to consider a way to make the restore go very fast. Check this other page for additional steps for a fast image restore using option bs.

    root@1[mnt]# ls -l /mnt/backup
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 668991488 Feb 28 14:42 backup.img.gz.aa
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 668991488 Feb 28 15:41 backup.img.gz.ab
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 668991488 Feb 28 16:37 backup.img.gz.ac
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 101479364 Feb 28 17:11 backup.img.gz.ad
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root   5971432 Jan  5 17:15 Firefox Setup 2.0.0.1.exe
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root  98554909 Jan  5 17:12 OOo_2.1.0_Win32Intel_install_en-US.exe  
    -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root   6342512 Jan  5 17:16 Thunderbird Setup 1.5.0.9.exe
    root@1[mnt]# cat /mnt/backup/backup.img.gz.* | gzip -dc | dd of=/dev/hda
    root@1[mnt]#

    Here is an explanation of the steps you just did above:

    Note that, except for copying the files from the server, that all the work of merging and decompressing files is done on the computer running Knoppix so that you do not load-down the server computer with extra work. Note, that the work of restoring the hard drive will take a long period of time depending on the CPU speed of the computer running Knoppix, the size of the hard drive to backup, the network connection speed, and the speed of the server computer to send the backup data files.

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Image With Knoppix 6+ Top Of Page Detailed Steps

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