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I know this isn't ubuntu specific but since it's linux I was hoping somebody here could answer this question, since I used the 6 questions a day limit on superuser.

Does gparted do a true partition copy to which it copies bit by bit including empty sectors so recovery of deleted data is possible on the copy of the partition or does it just ignore and leave empty sectors.

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Out of interest, why do you want to know this? Do you have a corrupted partition or deleted files that you want to get to? If so, then I wouldn't be moving the partition. Just want to know whether TRIM will work to mark the spare sectors as spare? Probably not. – thomasrutter Jan 25 '13 at 4:01
The deleted files that I want to try to restore. – user88311 Jan 26 '13 at 19:31

When moving, it does indeed do a bit by bit copy of the full partition (at least, as of writing this), including "empty" sectors. Therefore if your partition is only 5% full, it will still take as long as if it were completely full. To get a faster copy, you can shrink the partition before moving it.

When gparted resizes a partition, the empty sectors aren't necessarily preserved. If you didn't want this to occur and you specifically do want your empty sectors to be left alone, you'd have to make sure it's not resizing the partition, only moving.

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Thank you, I thought this was the case but I ran into a few skeptics over at super user so I had to make sure. – user88311 Jan 25 '13 at 3:10
I just did a copy of a partition with only 3 gigs of data and the rest empty to test, it took less then 2 minutes, which indicates to me, it does in fact not copy bit by bit the entire drive and just overlooks the empty sectors. – user88311 Jan 26 '13 at 19:11
I just realized I was using a slightly older version of gparted, I'm downloading the new version now, I hope that was just the case. – user88311 Jan 26 '13 at 19:30
Sorry, I answered about moving a partition, but now I realise that gparted also has a copy partition feature too and that you were actually referring to that. I haven't used the copy feature, and can't say if that behaves the same as moving a partition. Since it is done at a block level, I can't imagine it'd be different though - otherwise in order to tell what was unused space, it'd have to read and understand the file system. – thomasrutter Jan 29 '13 at 2:34
Yeah I just decided to use dd and copied the whole drive, took a bit longer but it worked. – user88311 Jan 29 '13 at 4:38

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