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I have a bootable USB Linux thumb that I want to backup to have a safety copy. The thumb is a UEFI 64GB drive with several partitions; 1) FAT32 2) ext4 (boot) 3) linux-swap 4) FAT32. I bought another 64GB USB thumb to use as the backup.

Original is 57.33GB formatted, and the new one is slightly smaller 57.30 formatted. I was going to copy 1-to-the-other, but both an app as well as DD complain that the target drive is smaller and abort. I made an IMG of the original, and then tried to use Balena Etcher to flash the IMG to the target, but again the complaint. Making an IMG of each partition and then flashing only results in the whole target becoming that partition only. Shrinking a partition only leaves an unallocated gap, and no progress. Is there a solution to my dilemma that I haven't thought of?

There's more... With a bootable Linux USB thumb that has multiple partitions like this, what tells the OS the mount points to use? Thanks.

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  • Welcome to Stack Exchange! Could you please open a separate question for the mount point part? That way we can focus on the backup part here. This will also make it more likely that you'll get an answer to both of your questions. May 17 '20 at 1:30
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You can use clonezilla. It will clone to a smaller disk, provided the partitions fit.

First try to clone without additional options. If that fails, then:

  • shrink one of the partitions by some amount, so that the sum of the partitions will fit the destination disk.

  • run clonezilla and enter the expert mode, there you will have to choose -icds to skip checking and -k1 to create a proportional partition table.

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