A laptop and disaster recovery

Over the last couple of years I have had several severe laptop failures, which have at least put me back a couple of weeks not to mention the hassle of re-installing the operating system and all the applications, which for me is in the 70s.

This time I took some action and looked into backing up all my data on a daily basis from my data partition and creating an image of my c partition on every major changes. (once a week or once every other week.)

Being able to boot my laptop with a CD or USB flash drive and plugin by FreeAgent Seagate to easily create an image was the goal. The gold standard in cloning drives is Symantec Ghost, which would not see my NTFS FreeAgent Seagate external usb drive no matter how much I tried. Several other commercial products including Acronis True Image, ImageCenter and Partition Saving and none of the above were up to the task.

Enter open source. SystemRescueCD is Linux system on a bootable CD-ROM for repairing your system and recovering your data after a crash.

Going a little bit further I was able to put SystemRescueCD which comes with a great number of drivers that will recognize literally anything on a flash drive.

After booting from the usb flash drive with SystemRescueCD, I started an Xwindows session by typing startx at the prompt.

Then the time came to mounting my external usb drive and imaging the C partition.

  • lsusb (to list all USB devices)
  • dmesg | grep -i “SCSI” (which would give you a list of devices attached to the laptop, in my case the Freeagent Seagate usb external drive – in my case sdb1)
  • mkdir /seagate (create a mount point for the usb external drive)
  • mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /seagate (mount the ntfs external usb drive with read/write permissions)
  • partimage (this launches the cloning application which allow you to create an image of the C partition)
  • umount -f /seagate (unmounting the external drive or any other drive for that matter in a linux/unix environment is extremelly important before unplugging)

Now to schedule my data backups on a daily basis with SyncBack.