open source hard drive cloning

This is more of a "what are your thoughts" rather than a technical issue.  I have a need to clone my laptop hard drive from time to time.  Ghost works perfectly for this.  But it costs money.  I have used HDClone (paid version) with great success.

My question is, what would YOU use that is open source free software and why?

I've used gparted to resize my partitions after cloning my hard drive.  Do you have a solution that will let me clone my drive AND resize my partition without using more than 1 or 2 programs?  It must be non-windows programs - (ie. linux or live cd's).

Points will be awarded to the best (in my opinion) logical solution based on the following basic requirements:

*Open Source
*Non-Windows based
*External USB compliant
*SATA/IDE Compliant (SCSI or SAS even better, but optional)
*Ability to resize all partions, not just the last partition
*GUI preferred, but optional
Who is Participating?
CallandorConnect With a Mentor Commented:
There's HDClone and Clonezilla, as well as other free utilities on the Ultimate Boot CD.
Are you looking to create bootable images of your hard drive?
EricSimonsAuthor Commented:
I played around with UBCD and found it quite usable.  In fact, I keep several different versions of UBCD on hand.  I'm a linux guy with some next level Solaris experience so I can figure out how to use the UBCD and make it work.

However, I'm specifically looking for the best "no brains required" solution.  I often get questions like "I bought a new hard drive, how do I get my old stuff on it" from people who can use a computer but can't work on one.  I would like to be able to say "get this and you're done".

Callandor, I had not heard of Clonezilla before.  I did check it out after reading your post.  Thank you.  It looks like something I may have a need for in my consulting business.
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EricSimonsAuthor Commented:

Prime example:  My laptop has a 120 GB hard drive with 2 partitions (O/S and HP recovery).  I buy a new 320 GB hard drive for my laptop.  I need to clone both partitions over to the new drive and then resize the 100 GB OS partition to 310 GB and shrink the 20 GB (10 GB in use) recovery partition to 10 GB.

These are rounded numbers for ease of thinking about it.  And yes, I know a 320 GB hard drive has less than 320 usable GB.
torimarConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You may want to check out "G4L" - which is a short form for "Ghost for Linux":

You will find the most recent version on the Parted Magic Live CD: - together with a lot of other useful tools.
In fact, the makers of the UBCD are so impressed with Parted Magic that they integrated it into the new UBCD 5, which is currently in last beta stage.
askbConnect With a Mentor Commented:
1. Use GParted for resizing the harddisk on old hdd
2. Use GParted for creating new partitions same as the old hdd on the new hdd
3. On linux you could use cmd "dd" for backing up partitions to a new HDD. As as follows, this worked like a charm for me. Full hard disk copy

1. Run these comands:
"dd if=/dev/hdx of=/dev/hdy" -> copying from one partition to the other which may be on diff hdd's.

"dd if=/dev/hdx of=/path/to/image" -> if you want to create a image on an existing FS


"dd if=/dev/hdx | gzip > /path/to/image.gz" -> or if you want to create a image on an existing FS + some tar balling

Hdx could be hda, hdb etc. In the second example gzip is used to compress the image if it is really just a backup.

2. Restore Backup of hard disk copy

dd if=/path/to/image of=/dev/hdx
gzip -dc /path/to/image.gz | dd of=/dev/hdx

3. MBR backup (Always do this aswell when you are backing up bootable partition on to diff hdd)

In order to backup only the first few bytes containing the MBR and the partition table you can use dd as well.

dd if=/dev/hdx of=/path/to/image count=1 bs=512

4. MBR restore

dd if=/path/to/image of=/dev/hdx

Add "count=1 bs=446" to exclude the partition table from being written to disk. You can manually restore the table.

5. After doing a DD sometimes you may need to set the MBR on your system. Here are the steps:

reboot -> Rescue System with Suse Linux 10.1 DVD
sudo mount /dev/hda3 /mnt
sudo mount -o bind /dev /mnt/dev
sudo mount -o bind /proc /mnt/proc
sudo chroot /mnt
grub-install /dev/hda
Using the above method i have also cloned non-linux (vfat, ntfs) and other propritery partiions.
EricSimonsAuthor Commented:

I appreciate your comment.  I have not personally tried it, but I feel it would do exactly what it should - clone a hard drive.  

However, it does require at least some knowledge of linux.  I'm wanting to give my users a complete hands off - click the button and it does it solution.
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