Creating and restoring image backups

Fred Roller froller at
Wed Sep 23 12:32:28 UTC 2009

J Bickhard wrote:
> Okay, I went into the teminal and typed in
> sudo dd if=/media/disk-1 of=/media/disk/disk.img
> It said
> dd: reading `/media/disk-1': Is a directory
> 0+0 records in
> 0+0 records out
> 0 bytes (0 B) copied, 0.00120255 s, 0.0 kB/s
> Then I was back at the prompt, I tried to close the window, but it
> said that the windows was running a process, so I figured it was
> running in the background. 12 hours later, I come back to find
> disk.img on my external drive, but it has a size of 0. Nothing. Zippo.
> What did I do wrong THIS time?
> Jake (dats me)
> On Tue, Sep 22, 2009 at 7:03 PM, Fred Roller <froller at> wrote:
>> J Bickhard wrote:
>>> I couldn't figure out the command-line option, so I just copied all of
>>> the files with the file browser. It said it would take 5 hours to
>>> finish. Why so slow?
>>> Jake (dats me)
>> Could be any number of reasons.  I know when I had bad blocks the copy
>> process was painful.  Also, if you are coping from within XP then the
>> time is usually wrong.  Has been for me on more than one occasion.  If
>> you are coping from a Ubuntu then the transfer rate should be on the
>> progress window if it's low then odds are that the system is negotiating
>> some bottle neck.
>> --
>> Fred
>> "Life is like linux, simple.  If you are fighting it you are doing something wrong."
>> --
>> ubuntu-users mailing list
>> ubuntu-users at
>> Modify settings or unsubscribe at:
OK step by step:

boot with the live CD and open a terminal


Make sure your current HDD is /NOT/ mounted

    df -h

which should yeild something like:

froller at metis:~$ df -h
Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1              19G  4.8G   13G  28% /                         <- #1
                [cut for clarity]
/dev/sdb1             459G  131G  305G  31% /Crypt               <- #2
                [cut for clarity]
/dev/sdc1             2.0G  3.9M  1.9G   1% /media/disk           <- #3

Unless you have an IDE hardrive (fat ribbon cable plugged in mobo) you 
should see similar set up.  IDE would be HDA instead of SDA.

#1 Would presumably be the 80 Gb hdd you are trying to calculate.  If it 
is /NOT/ listed then it is not mounted.  If it /IS/ listed then you need 
to unmount it.
       Right-click the icon that should be on the Live CD desktop.  In 
the drop down menu it should say "mount/unmount".  If is says unmount 
then click.

Once SDA is unmounted then run your dd command.

    sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=/media/disk/disk.img

please bare in mind that the device listed for your /media/disk-1 may be 
something other than SDA which is why we run the df command.  If 
/media/disk-1 is in an external case and is listed with the df command 
you could simply run:

    sudo umount /media/disk-1

Just make sure you note the device "/dev/sd[a,b,c,...]" before you do.

dd needs the device to be unmounted.


1. Make sure the [source] data is /unmounted/ from the files system.
2. You know the device /dev/sd[a-z] or for IDE /dev/hd[a-d].
3. Run "dd if=/dev/sd[a-z] of=/media/disk/disk.img

Be patient, you will get it.


"Life is like linux, simple.  If you are fighting it you are doing something wrong."

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