Clonezilla Kicks Ghost’s Ass!

Back in ’93 I found a great little utility called Ghost, which could quickly and easily clone DOS or Windows (3.1, 95, NT) computers.  I used to teach week-long IT training classes and had to set a dozen or so computers back to default settings in order for each class to start fresh.  Ghost.exe was awesome & did the job easily and quickly.  I wish I could remember the name of the developer – he was a nice fellow from down under, New Zealand if I remember correctly. I spoke with him a few times about using Ghost & gave him some feedback from my perspective.  I used it for several years and it was great!

Then along came Symantec who bought Ghost (I think Norton actually bought Ghost, then Symantec bought them).  No matter.  They screwed it up royally.  Just like they do with about everything they buy.  Oh, they don’t have the corner on screwing things up – Microsoft, CA and myriad others do the same thing.

Anyway, Clonezilla is a fresh new product that gets back to the basics of cloning.  Here’s a little from the Clonezilla site:

Clonezilla, based on DRBL, Partclone and udpcast, allows you to do bare metal backup and recovery. Two types of Clonezilla are available, Clonezilla live and Clonezilla SE (server edition). Clonezilla live is suitable for single machine backup and restore. While Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment, it can clone many (40 plus!) computers simultaneously. Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the harddisk. This increases the clone efficiency. At the NCHC’s Classroom C, Clonezilla SE was used to clone 41 computers simultaneously. It took only about 10 minutes to clone a 5.6 GBytes system image to all 41 computers via multicasting!

Features of Clonezilla

  • Free (GPL) Software.
  • Filesystem supported: (1) ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs, reiser4, xfs, jfs of GNU/Linux, (2) FAT, NTFS of MS Windows, (3) HFS+ of Mac OS, (4) UFS of FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD, and (5) VMFS of VMWare ESX. Therefore you can clone GNU/Linux, MS windows, Intel-based Mac OS, and FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD, no matter it’s 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x86-64) OS. For these file systems, only used blocks in partition are saved and restored. For unsupported file system, sector-to-sector copy is done by dd in Clonezilla.
  • LVM2 (LVM version 1 is not) under GNU/Linux is supported.
  • Grub (version 1 and version 2) is supported.
  • Multicast is supported in Clonezilla SE, which is suitable for massively clone. You can also remotely use it to save or restore a bunch of computers if PXE and Wake-on-LAN are supported in your clients.
  • Based on Partclone (default), Partimage (optional), ntfsclone (optional), or dd to image or clone a partition. However, Clonezilla, containing some other programs, can save and restore not only partitions, but also a whole disk.
  • By using another free software drbl-winroll, which is also developed by us, the hostname, group, and SID of cloned MS windows machine can be automatically changed. 

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