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I thought I could clone a running CentOS 7.7 installation by replicating the contents of the /, /boot, /boot/efi partitions on the target disk and then modifying the /etc/fstab and the grub.cfg files to allow for the UUID changes. Evidently there is something I am missing since the cloned disk boots up OK except for login processing. The tigerVNC server has been successfully cloned and I can remotely login to the cloned installation. The symptoms are I don’t get the usual login prompt on the main console, and when I try to login with ssh, I am prompted for the user id and then the password, but when I enter the password I get the response back “/bin/bash: Permission denied.” Similarly, when I boot to run level 3, after entering the password it loops back to the login: prompt. So, most everything is working except for password authentication. Relevant output from journalctl are:

systemd-logind[681]: Failed to start user slice user-42.slice, ignoring: Access denied (org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.AccessDenied)

systemd-logind[681]: Failed to start session scope session-c1.scope: Access denied

gdm-launch-environment][1499]: pam_systemd(gdm-launch-environment:session): Failed to create session: Access denied

gdm-launch-environment][1499]: pam_unix(gdm-launch-environment:session): session opened for user gdm by (uid=0)

Querying systemd-logind status returns “active (running)” and also says “Started Login Service”

I will appreciate any idea on what it is that I have overlooked.

2 Answers 2

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Clonezilla is capable of cloning the whole disk to another disk. I think that's what you need in this case.

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  • I appreciate your answer. On the other hand, I want to understand what it is that I have missed. One other thing I discovered since I asked my question is, if I disable selinux in /etc/selinux/config, then all the login issues go away. I would like to understand why though. I had used the tar utility's --selinux option to make a copy of the root filesystem to be cloned (the root filesystem that tar ran against was not the booted root filesystem; it was mounted only fro the tar to run).
    – ORAY
    Commented Jan 27 at 19:30
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Even though I entered the --selinux option of the tar command while I was creating the tar file of the root filesystem to be cloned, I had failed to enter the --selinux option while I was un-tarring onto the target disk.

Fixing this resulted in successfully cloning the disk.

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