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Montala Montala is offline
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Default Ubunto Recovery Disk? - 08-26-2009, 08:42 AM

Hi,

I am currently waiting for my 10v to be 'produced', and was wondering what the position is regarding a recovery disk, or CD/DVD for this particular model.

Bearing in mind that my model will have 16 Gb SSD and be running Ubuntu, I would like to have the facility to easily restore it to 'factory status' should I manage to mess things up!

I will happily use an external DVD drive, and I believe I read somewhere on here that Dell do actually include a 'Recovery disk' with the 10v, however I assume that this is generic, rather than individual model specific.

Is there any easy way (bearing in mind it is Ubuntu!) to copy the contents on the SSD onto (say) an external USB pen drive immediately I receive my 10v which I could then use to put everything back, should the occasion arise!

Please bear in mind that you are talking to a Linux 'newbie' here, who is more used to dealing with Windows etc!

Thanks.
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reflex reflex is offline
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Default 08-26-2009, 11:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montala View Post
Is there any easy way (bearing in mind it is Ubuntu!) to copy the contents on the SSD onto (say) an external USB pen drive immediately I receive my 10v which I could then use to put everything back, should the occasion arise!
Generating a drive image on a Unix-style OS is almost as simple as copying a file.

When I generated an image of my Mini's default install, I began by booting off a Linux flash drive, so that I knew the SSD wasn't being written to. Then I plugged in a USB hard drive to hold the image. Finally, I ran a command similar to "sudo dd if=/dev/sda of=/media/usbharddrive/ssd.img". Done.

Here's my explanation of the command: Regular users typically aren't allowed raw drive access, so "sudo" runs the command as super-user/root. "dd" is a common, simple tool for moving data. "if=/dev/sda" means the input file is "/dev/sda", typically the first "hard" drive. "of=/media/usbharddrive/ssd.img" means the output file is ... (I'm assuming that the USB hard drive is mounted at "/media/usbharddrive" )

Be aware that you'll need 16GB of space to store an uncompressed 16GB drive image. To save space, you can compress the image as it's generated, but I found the Atom's compression speed disappointing. If I recall correctly, when I tried to generate a compressed image, the speed was about 8MBps. At that speed, a 16GB drive would take the better part of an hour.

If you're patient, a command like "sudo dd if=/dev/sda | gzip --fast > /media/usbharddrive/ssd.img.gz" will send the drive image through gzip (with the --fast option), before saving it to disk.

If you're interested in a smarter drive/partition imager, you could look into "partimage". Personally, I like the simple tools, like "dd".


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Montala Montala is offline
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Default 08-26-2009, 05:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by reflex View Post
If you're interested in a smarter drive/partition imager, you could look into "partimage". Personally, I like the simple tools, like "dd".
Thank you for your very comprehensive reply.

One advantage I can see in using a program such as "Partimage" (or something similar) is that any free blocks are not written to the image file. This is, of course, unlike the 'dd' command, which also copies empty blocks, and would therefore take much longer to copy the complete drive, two thirds or so of which is probably empty anyway!

Do you know if Dell only uses one partition on its SSD drives... I am assuming here that they can be partioned, in much the same way as a 'mechanical' hard drive can?

As I said before I am looking to make a bootable copy of the entire drive before I start to install additional programs etc, and I would probably find it easier to use something which is 'Menu driven', rather than having to rely on me managing to enter the correct syntax into a command line!
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reflex reflex is offline
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Default 08-26-2009, 06:35 PM

On a drive/partition with a lot of free space, smart image software can/should be faster and save space over a naive solution, like dd. But my factory image didn't have much free space (4GB SSD ).

As for partitions, if I recall correctly, my Ubuntu Mini 9 came with two partitions: a small utility partition and the main system partition. I don't know if your 10v will be similar. And normal partitioning software should work normally on a SSD.


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Montala Montala is offline
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Default 08-27-2009, 09:18 AM

Thanks again 'reflex'.... I think I will probably try your simple 'dd' method first, and see how it goes.

Just a further couple of quick questions, if I may: Firstly, I assume I can find instructions for creating a Linux flash drive on here somewhere, as I am not sure what needs to be included?

Secondly, can the external USB hard drive (to receive the backup) be one which has already been used under Windows, providing of course it has enough free space, or is it necessary to start with an 'empty', or clean drive?

Cheers!
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Default 08-27-2009, 12:37 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montala View Post
Just a further couple of quick questions, if I may: Firstly, I assume I can find instructions for creating a Linux flash drive on here somewhere, as I am not sure what needs to be included?
UNetbootin is a popular utility for creating bootable USB drives from Linux CD ISOs. Any Linux LiveCD will have standard utilities, like dd and gzip. If you want to try "partimage", I'd probably use the SystemRescueCD ISO, instead of a regular LiveCD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montala View Post
Secondly, can the external USB hard drive (to receive the backup) be one which has already been used under Windows, providing of course it has enough free space, or is it necessary to start with an 'empty', or clean drive?
I just saved the SSD image to a file.

So, you just need a filesystem that Linux can write to (both common Windows filesystems, FAT32 and NTFS, should work). And enough free space to hold the file. But be aware that FAT32 has a 4GiB filesize limit. I expect the default install will be under 4GiB compressed, but I can't be sure.



To fit large files on FAT32 filesystems, you could split the image after compression with a command like:
Code:
sudo dd if=/dev/sda | gzip --fast | split -b 700M -d /media/usbharddrive/ssd.img.gz.
That command splits the image into 700MiB pieces, which are named "/media/usbharddrive/ssd.img.gz.00", "ssd.img.gz.01" ...


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