[techtalk] Disk imaging software

Kir Kolyshkin kir at sgp.sever.ru
Wed Jan 5 09:29:42 EST 2000

jennyw at griffon.personic.com wrote:

> One thing that I've seen a lot of in the Windows world is imaging products
> like Ghost and ImageCast -- basically, the make an image of a hard disk and
> put it in a file.  You can then use this file to re-image other computers.
> When you have a complex installation, and you have a lot of identical
> installations to do, this can be a great time saver (probably not a big deal
> for home users, but it's a lifesaver for those 20+ computer installations).
> Is there something like this that includes support for Linux, too, which

Well, concerning the issue I can say that there's absolutely no need for such a
software, as its functionality is "build-in" into the system. If you look into
/dev directory, there are files like /dev/hda, /dev/hda1, /dev/hda2 etc. (If
you use SCSI instead of IDE, you should change "hd" to "sd" in these examples).
These special files represents disks.... for example /dev/hda is a first
physical IDE drive available in the system...a whole drive...it is divided into
partitions (e.g. logical disk drives), partitions are /dev/hda1..../dev/hdaN.
You can look to

$ mount

output to determine what partitions are used and there.

And to the point: to transfer image from one disk to another you can just use
cat command. Well, a better way is to use dd.

Well, if you installed one box and have to install absolutely the same another
one, just take the disk from it and install into the first (installed) box. For
example, if I have only one IDE disk and no CD-ROM drive my only drive will be
/dev/hda. If I install another one, it'll most probably be /dev/hdb (you can
see it by issuing dmesg command after booting). If both drives are the same
geometry, you can just type

# cat /dev/hda > /dev/hdb

and that's all done. This is the easiest way...

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