Cloning partitions


This is a quick article on different solutions I found to clone partitions so I can restore an OS in a few minutes. Pretty useful on test hosts.

Some are Linux-based, some are Windows-based; The latter means that, unless the application provides a bootable image, you might have to create your own Windows bootable USB keydrive with WinPE, BartPE, etc.


Does the application also store the MBR?

What steps, if any, must be made before cloning a Windows partition?

In case the target partition was deleted, will it recreate it?

What happens if the target partition was resized (moved or made bigger): Will the application restore the image or stop?

Is there a way to automate restoring images, to avoid going through multiple screens each time? Useful for test labs

How good are PE images for supporting devices (video, network, USB keyboards/mice)?


The only point I see in using Clonezilla is that it's open-source. Otherwise, it's just a pain to use: It's written in ncurses (ie. text mode, not GUI), and it takes several screens before you can save/restore a partition. The alternative is to save the command as a script and run this the next time you need to perform the same task, but I find Clonezilla not fun to use, and there's not much traffic in their forums/mailinglists to get help when you're stuck.

What does CloneZilla add that an X-based live distro + PartClone (+ Partimage + ntfsclone) doesn't have? Cloning a whole disk instead of just partitions? MBR?

Ghost for Unix (g4u)

Free Opensource Ghost (FOG)

FOG Server Install


Windows-based application

"2010 NORTON GHOST 15 on USB thumb drive How to make Tutorial Guide"

"How to Make a Norton Ghost Bootable USB"

Hiren's BootCD

Can boot a mini-XP (BartPE?), DOS (FreeDOS?), and Linux, to run a bunch of applications such as DriveImage XML. The list of applications is available in the ISO image in HBCDMenu.csv.
  1. Format the USB keydrive
  2. Unzip the ZIP file
  3. Open the ISO file and copy its contents to the USB keydrive
  4. Move grldr/menu.lst from \HBCD to the root

Once up and running, applications can be launched by double-clicking links in the \Programs folder on the keydrive (which actually use 7zip to unzip the files in RAM before running the application).

TeraByte for Linux

GUI based

Easy to use

What's the difference between "File (OS)" and "File File (Direct)"?

Doesn't prompt where to save file?

R-Drive Image

Windows-based application, but the Rescue disk is Linux-based and the interface looks like QuickBasic.

Acronis True Image

Over 200MB download just to create a bootable USB?

Tools and utilities > Protection tools > Rescue Media Builder

Installs a driver on the build host that prevents applications like Universal USB Installer -> must uninstall first.

Macrium Reflect Standard 5.0.4286 Trial

Create Rescue Media: WinPE or Linux. Windows PE is required to create a USB bootable rescue media. The purchased version of Macrium Reflect includes Windows PE and does not require download of the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK; 1.7GB).

Backup & Recovery 2012 Free

Even free version requires registration

Tools > Burn Recovery Media: Flash media displayed as "drive #2 (... MB)" and "drive #3 (... MB)". Not very informative

When tried to eject USB keydrive: "Problem Ejecting USB Mass Storage Device: The device 'Generic volume' cannot be stopped because a program is still accessing it.". Had to repeat to proceed.

Couldn't boot USB keydrive

"D:\Downloads\Backup & Recovery 2012 Free.msi"

EaseUS Todo Backup Free

In Tools > Create bootable disk: "Create WinPE bootable disk" and "Create bootable disk" (Linux?)

After choosing Create bootable disk, booted with USB key >Clone (Partition clone): Unable to 1) save partition into file 2) onto an ext2 partition?

Couldn't register in forum to ask pre-sale question as my "IP ... has been blocked because it is blacklisted."

No partition manager; Stuck when trying to save partition; MUST PRE-FORMAT!

DriveImage XML

Windows-based application, so requires building a PE (BartPE, etc.) for use with a USB keydrive before copying DriveImage XML there. Does not support Linux filesystems, so the partition where images are saved/restored should be NTFS.


Why does Windows7 create a 100MB partition?

"To ensure that all windows features work correctly, windows might create additional partitions for system files"

How to Prevent Windows 7 from Creating a Hidden /Recovery /System Reserved Partition during Installation

PE: Differences with BartPE, WinPE, etc.?

... and do they as well as Linux (drivers)?

"What is WinPE?

Microsoft's WinPE is a stripped down version of Windows XP capable of running from boot CD-ROMs. Its name stands for "Windows Preinstallation Environment". It is used as an installation platform for OEM/Enterprise customers.

WinPE does not require a hard drive to boot, it can run solely from a CD drive using the memory for dynamic data. This feature makes WinPE appealing for data recovery and system maintenance purposes. In fact, you can run our software from such a CD-ROM.

WinPE is not available for end user customers, but all files needed for WinPE to run are included in a retail Windows XP installation CD.

What is BartPE?

Bart Lagerweij's PE Builder is a utility that allows you to create your own bootable CD-ROM ("BartPE") by extracting the necessary files from your Windows XP installation CD.

PE Builder lets you add other applications by using "plugins". Below you can find plugins for most of our products.

Another extremely useful feature of BartPE is the ability to create a boot CD-ROM that provides network access. Yes, you can even surf the Internet from such a CD-ROM."

PeToUSB Last updated 2005-11-27

Is xPE a good alternative to Linux?

Linux usually comes with a lot more drivers than Windows, so it would seem to be a better option for recovery devices.

How do cloning applications handle MBR?