I have been having serious problems over the last 12 months backing up partitions and contents of partitions, using my preferred solution of Ubuntu and partition manager, particularly with NTFS partitions. It would either error, or not complete. And as partition manager uses NTFSClone for this  process, there is no progress bar or count showing what is going on. As I am always working on a client’s computer under some pressure to complete the job, I tend to find alternative solutions or take shortcuts, and never tried to sort it out.

Recently, I had a slightly less rushed job, and during it managed to burn out my external hard drive, by plugging a 19.2volt supply into my 12volt external hard drive socket. Why Acer and possibly other makers insist on using a 12volt type plug for higher voltage supplies I don’t know, but I know I am not the first to do this to an external hard drive.

Anyway, while sorting out all the attendant problems with the job and the stuffed hard drive, and while getting a selection of cables and adapters to work,so that I could plug the IDE notebook drive into my desktop, and backup onto my desktops hard drive, I realised that the now defunct 640GB Western Digital Caviar Blue drive had been my problem, for some reason it was getting into some sort of disk thrashing that was causing any transfers to just stop working.

Back to Clonezilla, which I had tried previously, but again due to the faulty external drive and pressures of delivery dates I had never really explored. I now spent a couple of hours or so getting used to what it can do and I am really quite impressed. I have a live disk version of it in my CD case, and I boot into Clonezilla as I would into Ubuntu. As well as working directly with partitions and disks, which is really good for copying from an old disk to a new, it also works with images, which creates an image of a partition or a disk, which is saved onto any other file system as  a directory, from where it can be restored. Both work great, and in either mode gives a progress which is incredibly useful when dealing with large NTFS partition. It seems quite quick too, even on a slow machine taking just 50 minutes to copy a 40GB hard drive.


Dave Glover is a director of Signs of Success Ltd. married to Lynn (the other director of SOS) with 3 grown up kids. We live in Whitby, in New Zealand. After 30+ years in IT as everything from Trainee Programmer to Project Manager, Dave now runs a Computer Maintenance and Sign Making shop near his home.

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