Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have seen many pages showing different ways to backup my HDD but I want to create an ISO of my current HDD and move it to my external HDD all in one step. I used this code:

dd if=/dev/sda of=~/disk1.img

But instead it created the ISO in my internal HDD not my external one. Is there a way to do this ?

if i type ls -l /media i get

drwxr-x--- 2 root root 4096 Jan 24 17:37 apt
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root 4096 Jan 24 20:04 chris
share|improve this question


  • of means output file.
  • The ~ in front of /disk1.img puts it into your home direcory.

Change the command to ...

dd if=/dev/sda of=/media/{mountpoint}/disk1.img

where {mountpoint} needs to be change to the name you gave the external disc and disc sda1 will be copied to your external disc into 1 file called disk1.img.

If you want someone to tell you what the mountpoint is then please add into your question the result of ls -l /media if a disc is shown on your desktop and/or include the results of more /etc/fstab if the disc is mounted by the system.

share|improve this answer
sorry im a bit of a noob but by mountpoint do you mean sbd – xXxbooneyxXx Jan 24 '13 at 20:06
my external HDD acts as a device. but when i use gparted it refers to it as sbd – xXxbooneyxXx Jan 24 '13 at 20:18
sorry i mean sdb1 and the comand dosent work i get dd: opening `/media/{sdb1}/disk1.img': No such file or directory – xXxbooneyxXx Jan 24 '13 at 20:21
thanxs for the fix but know i get dd: opening `/dev/sdb1/disk1.img': Not a directory – xXxbooneyxXx Jan 24 '13 at 20:26
Please read this :) :) I am starting to mess my commands up due to being tired. Sorry sdb1 is not correct(only works when copying blocks) – Rinzwind Jan 24 '13 at 20:34

May I suggest that you have a look at RedoBackup and CloneZilla?

RedoBackup is by far the more user-friendly. However, it is really designed for exactly one thing: back up (and restore) the entire drive including the MBR.

CloneZilla needs a little more understanding than RedoBackup, but it is more flexible. You can back up the entire drive or only selected partitions, and when you restore you can decide what to restore. This is useful if you have (say) an encrypted swap area, or you do not wish to restore the MBR.

My personal experience is that CloneZilla is extremely reliable. I cannot comment on RedoBackup, as I have used it only experimentally.

The biggest advantages of RedoBackup and CloneZilla are (1) they back up only what needs to be backed up, and compress the data at the same time; and (2) they are easier to use than dd commmands.

Note that they do not back up into a single .img file, but instead into a folder (chosen by you). You use that folder when restoring.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.