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8 Oct 2019

Cloning and Imaging Linux File Systems

The following applies identically to image backups and clones. For brevity, though cloning is discussed, what follows applies equally to both.

When cloning a Linux file system, there are some important factors that must be taken into account. In this blog post we will be discussing these factors in regard to cloning a disk, however, the same will apply when imaging and restoring Linux disks.

File Systems

Linux is often associated with the Extend File System (Ext), since it was created specifically for use with the Linux kernel. The Ext 2,3,4 file systems are supported by Macrium Reflect, meaning that an Intelligent Sector Copy can be performed. Other. less common, Linux file systems (XFS, JFS, BTRFS, etc) are not natively supported by Reflect. You will still be able to perform the clone, however, a Forensic Sector Copy will be performed. This will take more time due all sectors being copied, not just the in use sectors. When performing a backup, the resultant image may not be much larger than when performing an intelligent sector copy, due to long runs of 0s being very effectively compressed.

Note: Windows by default will not recognise the Ext file system, you will not be able to browse Ext file system included in an image without the use of an additional driver, the Knowledgebase article linked below contains further details:

Offline Disk

Macrium Reflect is a Windows application and as such only run on the Windows platform. The file systems previously discussed are mainly supported in consideration to dual boot systems, and people who want to backup their whole disk, secondary boot drives included. Since Macrium Reflect is a Windows application it cannot be installed on A Linux partition, these partitions must be cloned while in an offline state. You can clone these partitions from either your Windows OS or Rescue Media.

Partition Schemes

When cloning a Windows disk, the only partitioning schemes that must be considered are GUID Partition Table (GPT) and Master Boot Record (MBR). When cloning a Linux disk, a third-partitioning scheme must also be considered; Logical Volume Manager (LVM). LVM is not support by Macrium Reflect, meaning that the Linux disk will either have to be GPT or MBR to be cloned.

Disk Imaging and Cloning with Macrium Reflect

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