I wanted to make a backup of my Ubuntu (12.04) partition before upgrading to 13.04, but I've come up against a snag. None of the tools I can find can make an image of the currently-mounted drive - and, for obvious reasons, it's not possible to unmount the drive which is currently used as /. The Ubuntu partition is the only one in my system that doesn't use NTFS, and all of the boot-from-cd options I've found warn against trying to save to NTFS from a livecd.

My system is a dual-boot with Windows 7, so I figured it might be possible to use that to make the image, thereby getting around both of the problems (not having the Linux partition mounted and safely saving to NTFS) - but my Google-fu is coming up short and all I can seem to find is a) tools for imaging an NTFS partition from within Linux (the opposite to my problem) or b) tools for just reading individual files from ext (not the most helpful, as they don't give any write capabilities for restoring).

Is there any way of doing this?

  • If you want to upgrade to a newer verion of Ubuntu, is not necessary to backup the entire parititon and create an image for it. Just backup (even with copy-paste) only your personal files. All other files and programs will be (and must be) deleted if you are willing to upgrade to a newer version. Also remember that we are not a Windows support forum here :)
    – NickTux
    May 2, 2013 at 13:15
  • Possible duplicate: askubuntu.com/questions/5401/…
    – user68186
    May 2, 2013 at 13:17
  • @NikTh The reason behind making an image was so that I can restore back to 12.04 if the newer distro somehow causes issues with e.g. my graphics drivers, rather than for fear of losing any personal files (most of these I keep on a separate partition anyway). I get that this isn't a Windows forum, but as it is a question of backing up Ubuntu I figured it kind of straddles the line.
    – Jez W
    May 2, 2013 at 14:01
  • @user68186 The solutions given there have only "experimental" or "beta" support for saving to NTFS; I need something safe, and specifically need NTFS support. Though, I grant that it is a relatively similar request.
    – Jez W
    May 2, 2013 at 14:03
  • It is not clear if you want this to be an automated backup or an occasional manual maneuver. AFAIK there is no automated windows backup solution that can clone a EXT4 partition. For a manual one-time clone, consider booting from a Live USB/DVD and clone to a file. The destination file can be in an internal or external NTFS partition/disk. In this case your question is a duplicate of the one I mentioned above.
    – user68186
    May 2, 2013 at 14:53

2 Answers 2


If I understand correctly what you were trying to do - i.e. make a disk image of Ubuntu from a booted version of Windows - you could have used a utility such as Macrium Reflect Free Edition (http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx). This program will make an image of an entire hard disk - or one or more individual partitions. It includes a backup of the Master Boot Record (MBR) so that, for example, restoring the Ubuntu partition of a dual-boot hard disk also "refreshes" grub. Clonezilla would also work (in a live-CD or bootable-USB version) under Linux but, in my opinion, is less user-friendly than Macrium Reflect's GUI.


I am not sure if it will help you. I was also using 1204 and upgraded to 1304 without taking any backup (As no important data was there in my single partitioned drive). After the upgrade all of my data was lying there as it was never touched.

  • I went ahead without a backup in the end... The potential issue wasn't my personal data (which is kept on a separate partition to the OS), it was so that I could have a way of restoring the operating system to its previous state if 13.04 didn't play nice with my hardware setup.
    – Jez W
    Jul 16, 2013 at 12:17

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