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How to make a recovery partition using Clonezilla

Posted on 2011-09-15
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Hi, I'm the typical unpaid IT support service for friends & family ... and am often having to reload crashed & corrupted hard discs. I discovered Clonezilla a while ago and started taking images of finished installations so that future reloads would be quicker - which they are, but still a pain because I have to use Clonezilla again to put the image back on which still means travelling out to do it.

So I'd like to be able to set up a recovery partition (like on most new computers) so that the users can do it themselves - but it has to be using freeware (like Clonezilla) because there is no budget for this at all!

Secondly, once fully installed with the recovery partition, does a follow up Clonezilla image then cover both partitions so that should the hard disc physically fail I've got a backup that can be put back on a new HDD and then automatically have the recovery partition in place?

thanks for any help.
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Question by:pauldownham
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by:Arman Khodabande
ID: 36541719
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by:pauldownham
ID: 36541791
OK, but its pretty harsh to charge your parents, siblings & kids ... and we're a big family!  :)
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by:Arman Khodabande
ID: 36542021
Not close relatives.! But not-so-close friends! Good luck!
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 36542222
There are a few ways to do this. I think the easiest one is to burn them a live cd of clonezilla and put the backup image on an external harddrive. I suggest to all those I help to have this external drive for two purposes: 1 clonezilla image. 2 I setup syncback or synctoy or something to copy their documents to the external daily.

You could do the second partition but it wouldn't protect you I the drive fails and you have no backups on an external. If that's fine with you, here is how to do it:
Install the os, programs, whatever. Create a second partition (gparted, or do it during windows setup if you do a clean install). Boot clonezilla, create the backup of the first partition on the second partition. When they need to restore they boot the cd, and restore just the first partition, not the whole disk.
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by:pauldownham
ID: 36542445
Hi, thanks - I'm not worried about them losing recent data as they are just using PCs for internet browsing and casual stuff, not for work - so a clean restore is fine.

The family are mostly very amateur on PCs (like it can take me 10 minutes trying to do a cut & paste over the phone!) - so dealing with the restore by booting from a disc (which would have got lost anyway!) and then running through Clonezilla over the phone would be too much - hence I was after a way of doing it like on a new PC, where they just have to press Alt-F10 or similar to reload the recovery partition.

If that worked, then my instructions for any problem would be (1) try a reboot, and if still a problem (2) Alt-F10  - job done!  (except any HDD failures, but then I'd have to go round anyway to fit the drive).
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Aaron Tomosky earned 500 total points
ID: 36542922
It's totally doable that way. Here are the instructions
http://clonezilla.org/livehd.php
Let me know if you need help with any of it. After you do this once, use clonezilla to back it up on your external. Then you can easily drop it on other relatives pcs.
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by:pauldownham
ID: 36543420
Hi, thanks for the link.  It seems to be written for Linux users (which I'm not!), but I'll have a work through it this evening and see if I can do it for Win XP.

On first look it seems like the objective is to put both the Win XP image (same as I've already done?) in the recovery partition along with a bootable copy of Clonezilla so that this Clonezilla can restore the image ... presumably there needs to be a script that runs that copy of Clonezilla silently so that the user doesn't see or have to answer the usual interactive Clonezilla session that I'm used to?  Then, how do you link that procedure to Alt-F10?   cheers.
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 36543453
So you can't use a whole drive image for this as it would overwrite itself. You have to make a second partition, let's call it p2, install clonezilla to p2, install grub bootloader (that's what will give you the choices on startup. I don't know what key combinations you can set but that's what it's for). Then you can boot clonezilla and backup p1 to a file on p2.
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by:pauldownham
ID: 36559535
OK, I've struggled along with this and made good progress - lots of little hiccups along the way (like sorting out the grub boot, menu.lst contents etc.), but now successfully got a FAT32 2nd partition, booted by grub, containing working clonezilla, and a menu at boot up (courtesy of grldr) that offers WIN XP or Recovery boots. The problem is that when I select the recovery boot and use the p2 clonezilla it runs OK through choosing sda2 (p2) as the target area for the image, but then crashes saying there are no unmounted drives (eg p1) to make an image from? Any ideas?
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by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 36559599
Wouldntthe target for the image be p1?
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by:pauldownham
ID: 36559706
Sorry, I wasn't very clear there!  Yes, when everything is finished, the idea is that users copy the stored image from P2 over the top of their damaged version in P1.  However, I haven't got that far yet ... I've got a vacant P2 (just with clonezilla in) and the good copy of Windows in P1. So at this stage I'm trying to make an image of P1 and save it in P2. Hence for now, P2 is the target and P1 the source.  
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by:pauldownham
ID: 36559968
HaHA!  Just discovered that I was using disk image when there's a partition image option. Currently now testing a three partition solution ... Big one for Windows, tiny one for clonezilla (that is bootable as the Recovery option) and small one to store the image of the big one. Will report back later to say if worked or not.
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Author Comment

by:pauldownham
ID: 36566546
Report Back: I think I'm pretty much there now. I'm using 3 partitions as above, using Grub4Dos/menu.lst  to give the boot options, and clonezilla in batch mode in order to avoid user intervention during the recovery. Just tidying up the scripting in menu.lst now to avoid unnecessary prompts arising.

So basically, the answer is YES, and points to aarontomosky for directing me towards the main link.
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Author Closing Comment

by:pauldownham
ID: 36566556
Thanks!
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by:rindi
ID: 36566573
Just for future reference, can you post the menu entries you made?
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Author Comment

by:pauldownham
ID: 36566708
rindi - I'm still struggling to get rid of the pesky promts! I might have to ask a specific question to clear them. So at the moment the menu.lst is still experimental and not ready for publishing.
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