using dd for cloning

Dan Farrell dan at
Sat Feb 9 21:21:08 UTC 2008

On Sat, 09 Feb 2008 10:38:18 -0500
elmo <elmo at> wrote:

> I have just about given up with using various cloning programs in
> ubuntu and have just tried using the ' dd'
> command to copy partition to partition

1) don't do this on a busy partition.  I recommend going into runlevel
1, if ubunto supplies such a thing, or else turning off X and ALL your

2) refer to my  The document
	discusses moving XP, but the same method applies to linux 
	(after writing the document I've used the method sucessfully
	for both, just not cross-bus for windows (won't boot). note
	that the disks must have the same cylinder size.  

> My UBUNTU is on partition sda2 and I'd like to clone it to sdc1 , a
> ext3 formatted partition on an external hard drive.
> I tried  running:    dd if=/dev/sda2  of=/dev/sdc1 bs=512

hm, looks ok to me. but ymmv.  bs defaults to 512, in my recollection.
you'd probably do better to set the default block size of the d

> I couldn't see any action except a constantly blinking mark.  I
> waited for a minute or so and there was no change, just a blinking
> mark. I wasn't sure if this indicated that data was being transferred
> or not.

did you catch what this was showing you?

      $ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/null& pid=$!
      $ kill -USR1 $pid; sleep 1; kill $pid

it sends a USR1 signal to dd to tell dd to output progress.  

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