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My objective:

create imaging resource on bootable USB drive (256 GB) which will contain finalized laptop configuration. This is to say, I want to boot from the flash drive and use the same flash drive to store the image created by clonezilla and as needed, to restore the image at a later date.

My understanding

Limited. I've used bootable optical media for both clonezilla and gparted, as well as bootable Linux Live CD media, but I'm not a qualified *nix operator. My capabilities are akin to a code kitty(?) / kiddie in that I copy others' work in order to accomplish my occasional *nix objectives, often using Ubuntu.

What I've searched and found

A number of sites providing tutorials/guidance to create dual (or multi-) boot USB drives using Windows utilities (my choice at this stage). I've also found the source .ISO files for both clonezilla and gparted. I've found this answer, which appeared when I created the subject line but it doesn't appear to solve the objective.

Restrictions

One of the laptops does not have an optical drive. I'd prefer to have both machines to use a bootable flash drive for ease of storage. I'm aiming for a minimum *nix install on the flash drive, to allow greater storage for the created image file. The image file will be of the entire drive, all partitions, as the laptops contain multiple partitions which support manufacturer's nuances (Dell Alienware).

I'd like to avoid having to boot from one flash drive and store the image file to a second flash drive, simply to avoid the creation of three drives (one boot, two image), but as a last resort, that's acceptable. It is also the route that I can travel without additional support from SE, but the challenge of learning something new vanishes.

Miscellaneous thoughts

If such a solution involves a bootable drive that contains both clonezilla and gparted, I'd find that acceptable, especially as it would provide greater capacity remaining for the image file. My current approach of creating a multi-boot flash drive would eat up twice as much as I'd expect would be necessary.

I'm not averse to creating a Live boot drive that can be stripped down to a minimum of the two utilities with no GUI if a tutorial could be found to facilitate such a creation.

What I don't know

When creating the configurations suggested above, will the process use a minimum partition size on the drive, allowing the remaining space for image storage? Adjunct to that, will I have to manually create the unused space for that purpose?

Finally, is this a practical approach?

Adjusted objective

Let's say that I can do without the gparted aspect of this project. This means that I can use the canned utilities for Windows to create a bootable USB for clonezilla. I'm comfortable using that program.

Now the focus is how to ensure that I can use the minimum flash drive space for this bootable portion and to have the maximum space for the image file.

What options do I have now?

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  • Welcome, if I understad you want to create a USB wich boots clonezilla and gparted, and also stores the clonezilla image. Is that correct? Commented May 29, 2022 at 21:21
  • You can boot as many ISO as you can fit on a drive, with grub2's loopmount. If only a few ISO then you can have addition partition(s) for data. I typically have a full install, several ISOs and rest of flash drive as data. help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/ISOBoot & help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2/ISOBoot/Examples small flash drives I would just install grub to drive & create my own grub.cfg to boot ISO. I now only use gpt partitioning, and UEFI boot , but have to have ESP on flash drive.
    – oldfred
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 21:42
  • @schrodingerscatcuriosity, yes, that's my hope.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 22:02
  • @oldfred, it appears that the links you've provided are directed toward competent linux users. I'm not one of those, hence my reference to using Windows utilities to create the boot drives. I understood only a limited amount from the sites linked and also have the uncertainty that such a solution provides the minimum use of space for the boot OS and maximum space for the image file.
    – fred_dot_u
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 22:04
  • @fred_dot_u I'm afraid that to achieve your goal there are some complex procedures involving terminal and commands. If you are up to that, I can provide an answer for you, not immediately but soon. Commented May 29, 2022 at 22:11

1 Answer 1

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I think I might have fallen into the x/y question trap. Based on the comments, I realized that my objective was poorly founded. I accomplished my objective with a different approach than the dual boot.

By creating the flash drive on another (ubuntu) machine, which I realize now could have been a LiveCD boot but was not, I was able to also use gparted to resize and format a second partition on the clonezilla boot USB drive.

The boot went without problems and the cloning also created the necessary image files on the second partition. I discovered that the high compression option creates a process which lasts about eight hours!

Mission accomplished.

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