How to backup your system using Clonezilla

Some of you might have experienced it, you tinkered with your system and now it's broken. If only you had an exact backup of your system that you could copy back to your disk. If only you had made that Clonezilla backup that restores everything exactly the way it was!

So that's what this tutorial will teach you. How to make a backup of your system using Clonezilla, an exact copy that can be easily restored.

The advantage of Clonezilla is that it makes an exactly cloned backup copy of your system. This means that if you restore your system from such a backup, that you will retain all your files, configuration settings and installed packages.

So here it goes.

Note before you start: To navigate through option menus in Clonezilla, you can use the arrow keys on your keyboard and to confirm your selected option you can press enter. To select an option that has a checkbox, you can use the spacebar on your keyboard. To navigate to specific options like confirmation buttons like "OK" or "Cancel", you can use the tab-key.

Backup

1. Boot into Manjaro's live CD (or usb-stick)

2. Download and install the Clonezilla package using your package manager (like pacman, Pamac or Octopi)

3. To start Clonezilla, open a terminal and type: sudo clonezilla

4. Choose: device-image . This will make a backup of your disk (device) and stores it as an image file, which you can save anywhere you want and then later restore at any time.

5. Choose: Use local device

6. Now choose the disk where you want to store the backup image of your system.

7. Choose the directory/folder on the disk where you want to save the image file. Note that this directory needs to be located in the root of the disk! Clonezilla will only allow you to save backup images in the top directory of a device. So if your disk doesn't have a top directory placed on it, then create one. You can name the folder 'MyBackups' for example.

8. Choose: Beginner mode

9. Choose: Save local disk as an image

10. Enter the name that you want to call your image file

11. Choose the disk that you want to backup. Use the spacebar to select it and use the tab-key to navigate to the OK-button.

12. Skip checking the file system. Choose the Skip checking/repairing file system.

13. Choose: Yes, check the saved image (to check if it's restorable)

14: Choose: Not to encrypt the image

Done, Clonezilla will now make a backup of your system and store it in an image file located on the disk that you selected.

To save time in the future, you can choose not to check if the image is restorable. This will save you half the time. However it's recommended that you only do this after you've backed up your system and restored it at least once, so that you are confident that Clonezilla is able to make restorable images of your computer.

Restore

To restore your system, do the following:

1. Boot into Manjaro's live CD (or usb-stick)

2. Download and install the Clonezilla package using your package manager (like pacman, Pamac or Octopi)

3. To start Clonezilla, open a terminal and type: sudo clonezilla

4. Choose: device-image .

5. Choose: Use local device

6. Now choose the disk where you've stored the backup image of your system.

7. Choose the directory/folder on the disk where your backup image is stored.

8. Choose: Expert mode

9. Choose: Restore an image to local disk

10. Choose the image file of the backup image that you want to restore.

11. Select the target disk where you want the backup image to be restored to.

12. Uncheck Reinstall Grub using the spacebar and hit the tab-key to navigate to the OK-button. Then hit enter.

13. Your backup image will now be restored to your disk. However, once the restoration process is done, you will find that Manjaro will not boot. The reason is that Grub needs to be updated. Use this tutorial to learn how to do that: How to repair Manjaro/Grub after it has been restored from a Clonezilla backup image

That's it. Enjoy!

You will now be able to tinker with your system and install updates without worrying about breaking your system, because you'll always be able to restore it using an exact cloned backup copy!

Tip: Backup your system every time before installing Manjaro updates. This way, if an update breaks your system or causes issues, then you can simply restore your system from a stable backed up image and wait until the next update cycle to see if issues in those updates have been fixed.

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WARNING on Cloning Disks or Partitions

  1. ALL cloning Partitions or Disk will do the same size , for example
    cloning 500Go disk for backup on initial size 1To will give 500Go disk size , 500Go not used

  2. BE VERY CAREFUL ON NEXT :
    Cloning partitions is cloning UUID , after any backup done UNMOUNT BACKUP DISKS
    why ?
    on next reboot 2 disks from same UUID , you will not UNDERSTAND WHICH ONE is write OK ( writes appears on BOTH Disks , you start too loose actives disks AND Backup ... )

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When i first installed Manjaro on my system i used a program called Acronis True image, this only clones the whole hard disk in its entirety i believe. So i went ahead and did that and did a restore just to see how it all went. From my experience the system restored became slower and had some unusual bugs, like when you press a button H, it would keep the H button down and write it forever. So i then proceeded to wipe my disk clean using a method that took over 8 hours, then re installed manjaro. I have not backed up my system since and instead i use external hard disks for sensitive material and Grysnc to back them to the external drive. I may give Clonezilla a try in the future, so thankyou for posting this information.

A word on Grsync, what a great little program, uses what transfer speed you have to the fullest!

For me wanted something easier without cryptic commands so settled on simpler easier Redo Backup.
Works for me same under the hood engine as Clonezilla. Also has additional tools in the 250mb LiveCD

So nice to see the tutorial of Clonezilla here for others helping them use it.

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Sorry, if I missed the obvious, but does this procedure above, clone the whole hard disk or just a drive partition.
I have Manjaro and Mint on separate partitions and want to backup the Manjaro partition.
Thanks..

Thanks for the guide.

A general Dual-Boot-(Win10/Linux)-UEFI/GPT youtube version of this guide, somewhat, since I had to replace my old 2TB Hardrive, with a cheap new/same (2TB HD) one, recently.
https://youtu.be/jO6DXmV4X4M
There's a text description above, with some Prerequisites, and Summary points, ..., to take note of.
And it can apply to manjaro as well.
(But the main one is, make sure you pre-DISABLE SecureBoot/RESTRICTED-BOOT, ..., -for obvious reasons}. :wink:

Also if, in Manjaro, or for some reason, you end of with a weird boot-labeled uefi, (depending on MB), within a simple grub2, then simply boot into any bootable uefi Linux, that has "efibootmgr", and once there, run(if need be):

#efibootmgr -b 0000 -B     #(this will clear the corrupted labels?)

#efibootmgr --create --disk /dev/sda --part 2 --loader /EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi --label "Win10"
and/or
#efibootmgr --create --disk /dev/sda --part 2 --loader /EFI/boot/grubx64.efi --label "Arch-Anywhere"
and/or
#efibootmgr --create --disk /dev/sda --part 2 --loader /EFI/ubuntu/shimx64.efi --label "ubuntu"
and/or
#efibootmgr --create --disk /dev/sda --part 2 --loader /EFI/Manjaro/grubx64.efi --label "Manjaro"
...

"savedisk" was about 7 minutes, whereas "Restoredisk", from compressed images, was only a couple minutes, -which is not bad at all. :slight_smile:

Hi,
My restored Manjaro booted just fine, I did not have to restore Grub.

Which version of Clonezilla did you use ? The sable alternative, or the testing alternative one ?

The stable one.

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Maybe you skipped this or just checked it?

And I did not choose this..

Just the beginners mode.

Can the image be restored to a different size drive and manufacturer?

Yes, but only if the size is equal or bigger than the source.

I have read there are tricks you can do to install a clonzilla image to a smaller hard drive. Search the net and you will find the instructions on how to do this. I have not personally tried the procedure to perform the restore to a smaller drive.

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I have tried that after I split a RAID1 of 2 NVMe drives into no RAID of 2 separate NVME drives and it works just fine.

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