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While I'm new to Ubuntu, I'm not quite new to Linux.

I've been using Android phones since 2010 and I've been loving them. A great feature in Android phones is that you can install custom recoveries.

Like xRecovery, CWM recovery or TWRP recovery and using them you can make nandroid backups which backup the whole system files, data, cache and dalvik cache, so in case something goes wrong like applying an incompatible or buggy mod you can restore the backup without losing anything.

Now my question is: Is there such a thing available for Ubuntu?

It took me hours to find and install proper drivers, mods, apps, etc for Ubuntu and I'm really scared of what may happen if I do something wrong.

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now my question is: is such a thing available for ubuntu? - A custom recovery? No, PC's aren't Android devices. I don't know if it's still included by default but Deja-dup serves that purpose - perform back-ups - there's also other ways of backing-up the whole system, for example as an ISO image. –  Uri Herrera May 12 '13 at 22:52
what a waste! although PCs are not phone im %100 sure it's possible to make the same recoveries for PCs. anyway, if i make an iso backup image, can i restore by copy-pasting the files to the linux partitions in windows? –  Amir A May 12 '13 at 23:27
Sure everything is possible but I guess it's not necessary to have them, anyways here are other questions that might help you: Make recovery disk for customers, How can I make an Ubuntu recovery image. –  Uri Herrera May 12 '13 at 23:30
Yes. It's called piping dd into gzip or bzip2... –  haneefmubarak May 12 '13 at 23:32
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marked as duplicate by psusi, Eric Carvalho, belacqua, Kevin Bowen, bcbc May 13 '13 at 3:48

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1 Answer

What you really want is a backup application that will make everything just work after you bork it. Now that does exist, but it's not a custom firmware image.

I recommend Back In time (sudo apt-get install backintime-gnome) It is easy to setup and use. Keep in mind ubuntu comes with Deje Dupe, I just like Back in time.

Install back in time, plug in an external drive, format it, and finally run Back in Time.

You will want to backup your home directory, and your etc directory. If you ever loose your files or bork your install you can just restore them and everything will go back to normal. Back in time uses rsync so you can back up quite frequently. I backup once an hour on my personal computer and I use it on a server of mine to back up once every 10 mins. It's quick safe and works well if your using a laptop (it won't backup it will just warn you that it can't find the drive)

Back in time is the anti-bork protection that your looking for.

An Idea

I suppose you could use a completely diffident physical disk and install a bootable recovery OS like (knoppix)[http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html] then use the BIOS to choose if you want to boot to the first disk (with ubuntu) and the second disk (with knoppix). Inside knoppix you could run all kinds of recovery stuff against the first disk including byte for byte backups. However I still think Back in time or similar is a better option, and more like what your trying to do.

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The android recovery system is just an alternative initrd that contains a backup utility and the boot loader uses it when you hold down the right key. It is not at all like changing the bios. –  psusi May 13 '13 at 0:53
see comment about horrid analogy. In PC land there nothing that comes between firmware and boot loader except BIOS (or EFI) So you would need to be replacing something on that level. It's a bad statement but without going into a horrid discussion about boot process differences between hardware platforms etc, etc, etc, it seemed like a simple analogy. Something to happen pre-boot. A closer analogy may have been at the boot loader level,but again were not even in apples to apples land anymore. –  coteyr May 13 '13 at 1:03
Here for clarification, see This link Using a custom recovery image usually requires replacement/modification of #2 and sometimes #1. However in PC land, in order to make an "un borker" we would need something to capture Bootloader code and all. The closes thing I can think to this in the real world is something like dd or ghost. However implementing that pre-bootloader on every boot would take modification of lower level stuffs (BIOS). A frequent way is booting to another disk to make backups. Again horrid analogy. –  coteyr May 13 '13 at 1:12
Removed the bit on BIOS it really was a horrid translation. –  coteyr May 13 '13 at 1:21
bios is firmware. #1 can't be tampered with, and #2 almost never is. #1+#2 is a good equivalent to the bios. Changing the recovery is directly equivalent to writing a new /boot/initrd.xxx file so you run a special init instead of the regular one. You could do the same thing on a PC, and configure grub to load it instead of the normal initrd based on a key being held down, but there's no reason to since you can just boot from a cd or flash drive to run your backup/restore. –  psusi May 13 '13 at 1:54
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