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dd is a handy tool for backing up a whole drive or filesystem in some situations. Now I am thinking about what if I use the tool for backing up Windows file-systems / drives (Windows 2003/2008) which is mounted as second hard disk within Linux?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

dd is not a backup tool. It is a binary file manipulation tool. cat works just as well. The magic is in the block devices (/dev/sdz99 and the like). See dd vs cat -- is dd still relevant these days?

If you do a whole-partition backup, it doesn't matter what filesystem (if any) is on the partition. You just copy the whole thing.

Specialized backup tools such as Partimage do a better job of backing up a whole filesystem. In particular, Partimage doesn't back up the unused part of the filesystem. This applies to any filesystem that Partimage supports, including FAT and NTFS, so it doesn't matter that you're backing up Windows partitions.

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+1 for mentioning cat, I forgot to do that. –  Secko Aug 2 '12 at 1:16

dd is a binary disk data reading tool, which has nothing to do with underlying filesystem.

But for a file-based backup, partimage works for me with Windows XP SP3 + NTFS

Both of them doesn't require the partition to be mounted.

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dd is not a raw disk reading tool. It's a binary file manipulation tool. The magic is in /dev/*. –  Gilles Aug 1 '12 at 22:50

It doesn't matter what fs it is or where it is. In Linux, backing up a hdd partition is similar to backing up a whole hdd. The reason for this is that the device names (/dev/sdaX) are used both to represent the whole drives and partitions.

You have used it before, it's the same with any type of partition or drive.

Just find out your drives/partitions device name and use this command (ex. /dev/sda1):

dd if=/dev/sda1 of=~/winhdd.img

You could also compress it with gzip or bzip:

gzip  winhdd.img
bzip2 winhdd.img
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