What is the best way of creating a raw copy of a failing hard drive for recovery purposes ?

I would prefer a solution using either ubunutu or trinity.

asked 14 Apr '10, 00:34

JWorkman's gravatar image

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edited 06 Jan '12, 09:50

Ron's gravatar image

Ron ♦

I am assuming you can still work with the failing hard drive.

Connect the "copy to" drive to the computer.

To use the "dd" command to make a byte-for-byte copy of the failing hard drive, we need to identify which is the "copy from" and "copy to" drives.

GParted or the "df -H" command can help.

Read through some documentation on "dd" to make sure you understand it. Because if you mix something up, you could end up with a blank hard drive.




:~$ df -H
Filesystem             Size   Used  Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1              628G   288G   308G  49% /
udev                   3.2G   312k   3.2G   1% /dev
none                   3.2G   660k   3.2G   1% /dev/shm
none                   3.2G   213k   3.2G   1% /var/run
none                   3.2G      0   3.2G   0% /var/lock
none                   3.2G      0   3.2G   0% /lib/init/rw
/dev/sdf1              500G   183M   500G   1% /media/External

I see that my "copy to" drive is "sdf" and my "copy from" drive is "sda".

I use the command:

dd if=/dev/sda of=/media/External/backup.img

to raw copy the entire "sda" hard drive to an image on a partition on the "sdf" drive. We can reach this partition, because it is mounted under "/media/External".


answered 14 Apr '10, 00:52

Sky.Crawler's gravatar image

accept rate: 50%

edited 14 Apr '10, 14:24

When you go to restore this partition does it need to go back on the same size partition ?

(12 May '10, 15:14) JWorkman

I have in the past used Clonezilla. It uses dd but asks questions that those not so friendly with the command line and sets up the command for you.


answered 14 Apr '10, 12:05

Vermontgeek's gravatar image

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To copy raw data, you can use 'dd' util. There is a brilliant guide on how to use dd command @ LQ forum: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-newbie-8/learn-the-dd-command-362506/


answered 14 Apr '10, 00:54

Web31337's gravatar image

accept rate: 11%

ddrescue is like dd on steroids. It has similar syntax to dd but is designed for rescuing failing disks.


answered 28 Dec '11, 16:37

spock's gravatar image

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I would use Clonezilla, as already mentioned above; but I want to add a few thingsn ot yet mentioned:

1) Copy the original hard drive to second hard drive, then do your data recovery from that second hard drive to yet another (now third) hard drive. The reason being is that

a) you may only get one shot at grabbing data from the original hard drive.

b) By working off of the second hard drive and recovering to the third, you minimize risk of data loss on the original (and failing) hard drive.


answered 03 Jan '12, 10:06

Ron's gravatar image

Ron ♦
accept rate: 13%

I have a question about Clonezilla: How can I make a raw copy with clonezilla? I need to copy 4 HD's that are being used in a CCTV-DVR. To copy the first HD it is no problem, and that goes good with clonezilla. But to copy the 2nd, 3rd en 4th harddrive it won't work. The first HD has the partition information for all 4 disks, the 3 other disks are just storage space, i think..... in the past i used Norton ghost and then with commandline -ir ( image raw) it will copy also the other disks. Now, when i try to do raw copy in Clonezilla, all the time i get messege that the partitiontabel of the destination is not correct. ????? i dont understand because i want to write it over with the partitiontable of the source disk. and the other messege tells me that the destination-disk will be to small .... (the source and destination are the same type of HD's. the destination is totaly blank, without partition, i know from the past with norton ghost that any kind of partition can have the effect that it looks to small for the source, so i use destination disks without partition) because of these 2 messeges, the copy doesnt start. Is there a commandline for rawcopy? i tried all the options in "advanced" , but i cant find the right setting. i only wants the setting: Dont look at anything, just copy bytes. ( like raw copy should do, i think) As u read, im not an expert, pls can somebody help me?


answered 04 Jan '12, 08:13

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Asked: 14 Apr '10, 00:34

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Last updated: 06 Jan '12, 09:50

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