I am looking for a partition imaging program, like Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image, that will run on the PC (not from live-cd or USB) and can save the image onto a separate partition. I am brand new to Linux/Ubuntu, so it must be with a GUI front-end.

I have been searching around and the only application I have been able to find to suit my needs is Partition Image (partimage), but it does not support the Ext4 file system.

Can you recommend an alternative that supports Ext4 or am I better off repartitioning my HDD for a fresh install with Ext3 (or one of the other file systems) to satisfy the partimage limitations?

I am having a lot of problems configuring Ubuntu (will get back to that later), but a working imaging software is an absolute must, so I can quickly restore the system when I screw something up and so I can learn from my mistakes. I am getting really tired of re-installing Ubuntu from scratch (6 times over the past three days) and I am slowly reaching the point where I consider using the install CD as a frisbee and going back to Windows :(

  • 1
    Anything that can "quickly restore" a system you completely mess up is almost always going to run from a LiveCD, etc. Perhaps you should try experimenting with Ubuntu in a virtual machine first until you get some experience -- they support "snapshots" which can restore you to any previous state, usually within seconds. – ish Aug 10 '12 at 10:13
  • Based on my history with Windows NT, 2000, XP, and 7: In 9 out of 10 screw-ups, I can just reload the image directly. If I have to reinstall the base OS and the imaging application once in a seldom while, that is not a problem. The hours spent installing drivers and applications, customizing their settings and tweaking the system after getting the OS up and running is the bigger issue. – Thomas S Aug 10 '12 at 12:15

Check here: Alternatives to Windows, Mac, Linux and online software - AlternativeTo.net

izx's point about virtual machines is a valid one. It is a great way to experiment and learn, and has built-in support to rollback any mistakes.

  • Thank you for your answer. It doesn't really answer my question, but the AlternativeTo site got me quite a bit further. It seems like FSArchiver has what I need, but without a GUI. But, I found qt4-fsarchiver mentioned on a German forum, which is a GUI for FSArchiver. Now I just need to see if I can get the two up and running together. My Ubuntu installation has its own dedicated HDD, physically separated (HW switch) from my SSD with Win7 for my business. I don't want to install Windows on the HDD, just to be able to run Ubuntu in a virtual machine. – Thomas S Aug 10 '12 at 21:03
  • You can configure a VM to live on any drive. My host OS (Kubuntu) runs off of one drive, but both my WinXP and Win7 VMs live on another drive. That can also be done the other way around (Linux VMs running in Windows.) There are even ways to migrate a physical OS to a VM, which means you don't lose your software, settings, or files. The process is called P-to-V (for physical-to-virtual.) – Tom Aug 11 '12 at 0:54
  • The FSArchiver and qt4-fsarchiver combo worked OK for saving the image (despite clumsy English in the GUI). However, it can create an image, but it is not able to restore the image without a live-CD either. I guess a bootable USB flash drive as live-CD is the least bad solution for me (I can leave it in the back panel of the PC without mounting it when I don't need it). Too bad it is necessary to run through so many hoops to do something as simple as cloning and restoring in Linux. – Thomas S Aug 11 '12 at 20:47

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