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User Journal

Journal Journal: Backups to CD-R

Another great post about backing up using an alternative to Norton Ghost:

You need another HDD or a fileserver (with network).

Assuming you want to backup first ata hdd on target system.

Boot Knoppix on system to be backed up- Use: knoppix 2 noswap or knoppix noswap (latter if you have enough ram + cpu and you still want to browse the web etc whilst backing up ;) ).

Then mount the drive/share you want to put the backups to.
e.g. mount -t smbfs -o username=blah //fileserver/backup /mnt/test

or mount /dev/hdc /mnt/test (if have another hdd).

mkdir /mnt/test/20041010

dd if=/dev/hda bs=131072 | lzop -c | split -b 650m - /mnt/test/20041010/machinename-hda-lzo-

This creates files that are 650MB in size. You can burn these to CD-Rs. I prefer to leave a bit of unused space at the CD-R's edge (some seem to peel off there).

Note: that there are reports that dd in linux in some cases doesn't copy the last byte.

Also you may have to manually turn on DMA access on the HDD using hdparm, for speed.

To restore you do a similar thing - boot knoppix. then mount the restore drive/fileserver (readonly if paranoid).

cat /mnt/test/20041010/machinename-hda-lzo-* | lzop -d > /dev/hda

I'm not 100% sure of the command-line parameters. But that's the general principle. I have successfully backed up and restored a number of images this way.

I use lzop because it is faster than gzip - with lzop I can get an average of 30MB/sec with an Athlon 2000XP - not far from max HDD transfer rate, for not much worse compression ratio. gzip is 2 to 3 times slower. Unfortunately lzop seems to be giving me an error in Knoppix 3.6 when I try to decompress. I'm mainly using Knoppix 3.3 though.

Don't forget: CD-Rs can be flaky backup media. Assuming a 40GB HDD compresses to 15-20GB, you'll need about 25 CD-Rs. If any of these don't work you can't restore successfully. So you may need to double the number for redundancy. That is a lot of trouble.

I actually suggest buying a few spare big HDDs and backup to them.

Per GB they're not much more expensive than CD-Rs.

100-200GB drives are about twice the price per GB compared to CD-Rs, and probably less flaky, problematic and troublesome for long term storage (plus take up less space than 150-300 CD-Rs). Just don't drop them and keep them in a safe dry + cool place (packed with dehumidifiers), e.g. data-grade fireproof safe. Buy multiple different brands of HDDs if you're paranoid.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Making ghost images

This great post plus the discussion which followed can be found at:

Your comments desired.
Making ghost images
by Alioth (221270) on Monday August 16, @11:48AM (#9981204)

You don't need any stinking non-Free software to make ghost images.

Here's how you do it:

0. Set up a recipient (either a second hard disk, a machine on the network - whatever - I do it over the network)
1. Boot Knoppix on the machine you want to ghost.
2. Mount the destination.
3. dd if=/dev/hda bs=128K | gzip > /path/to/image.gz

To restore:
0. Set up the source.
1. Boot Knoppix on the machine you want to install.
3. Mount the source.
4. gzip -dc /path/to/image.gz | dd of=/dev/hda bs=128K

Tips: Overwrite any free space on the machine you want to ghost with a huge file filled with 0x00, then delete the file. The disk image will compress much better as you've scrubbed the deleted files.

I use a system like this to ghost many machines at a time (an image server can easily deal out 30+ images at once). It'd cost a fortune to license many copies of ghosting software - with Knoppix and a very small shell script, I've got an automated system which will do many machines at once. (A typical 40GB fresh WinXP install with our apps compresses to under 1GB with gzip).
If you're doing WinXP, remember to either make a Sysprep build or use something like System Internals free (open source but not truly free) tool to change the SID and hostname of the machine when it's booted the first time. (This is the approach we use due to the limitations of sysprep).


Journal Journal: Scandal at 1

Scandal at
Wednesday July 14, @02:08PM Rejected

On July 5th an angry f8paul wrote a lengthy missive and posted it to gmailswap (a site set up in mid April for those with Gmail invitations to swap them for various and sundry offers) accusing Shivam Parikh of scamming gmailswappers of of dozens of Gmail invitations, and threatening retribution.

A week later, Shivam posted this response to, explaining that he was first hacked and then came under scrutiny at RegisterFly, which suspended all the domains he had registered as part of his many swaps. Mike, a gmailswap mod, posted a link to Shivam's response on the gmailswap site in an unusual thread (for gmailswap, which normally eliminates all threads which are not directly concerning a swap offer) which has carried all Shivam's most recent communication.

The latest from Shivam: "You will get your domain control back free and full as before." No word yet on whether the domains have been restored to the gmailswappers.

Your comments desired.

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