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I've jut got a new laptop with a 500GB SSD. The first thing that I've wanted to do is cloning the hard drive because I want to have an original copy of the entire system as is.

In order to do that I've flashed a USB pendrive with Clonezilla and tried to make an image using device-image option and beginner mode.

I was expecting to have an image (something like an .img.zp file) with the same size of the source SSD, however I ended up with a folder with several files inside that takes only 14GB of space and it only took 10 min. the whole process.

Is this normal or have I messed up something along the way?

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That's expected, Clonezilla does (by default) two things that make images smaller (and often faster) than you'd expect:

  • it does not copy free space, at least on filesystems it knows about. A new laptop hopefully has most of the space free (this saves a lot of time, not just space).
  • it compresses the image (saves space, may speed up or slow down, depending on output device I/O speed vs. CPU speed)

Clonezilla images are not, by default, raw disk images. You'll need to use Clonezilla (or the tools it uses) to restore them. You can't, e.g., directly mount them with the loopback device.

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    So, that means that, even if the resulting image is not the same size as the SSD, when I restore that image, the SSD will be just exactly as it was originally (same partitions scheme,...)? – potato Dec 5 '19 at 18:47
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    @potato it should be exactly the same (unless you ask Clonezilla to restore to a larger disk), except the contents of free space isn't preserved. (Which typically isn't a problem, since its free space — it doesn't have any useful contents). – derobert Dec 5 '19 at 18:59
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    thank you so much for your answer. – potato Dec 5 '19 at 19:15

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