Partition Image Operation Steps

complete documentation at

See New Generation No activity since 2010 dedicated site no longer available

Partimage 0.6.8 is included on the SystemRescueCD
which includes remote file system support for Samba(CIFS, MS windows) and NFS (Network File Systems)
and defaults to requiring a login and SSL. Use --noSSL and --noLogin if desired.

no activity since 2010-07-25 V0.6.9

file-server mode

Using a linux system to store the image.
  1. At the file-server
    1. Prepare destination

      For backing up to a local MS Windows volume
      ( after booting a live CD like SystemRescueCD)

      1. Check the list of the partitions:
            fdisk /dev/hda
      2. Make a directory for a "mount point"
         mkdir /mnt/images
      3. mount the partition with the MS windows target volume on the "mount point"
         mount /dev/hda9 /mnt/images

    2. Check the available space on the volume
       df   /mnt/images
    3. Verify what is there is what you expect!
       ls -ltr /mnt/images  | more
    4. Make sure the volume is writable
       touch  /mnt/images/`date +%y-%m-%d_%H:%M`.laBerlin
    5. Establish authorization for saving user
       adduser partimage
    6. Verify that the user has write access to the volume for storage of the image
      su partimage 
      touch /images/0_partImages
    1. At the Client being saved
      1. mkdir /mnt/partimgVault
      2. prepare network connection to destination
          Using a remote MS windows system with a file share as the repository:
          mount -t cifs //fdSeville/images /mnt/partimgVault
          Continue with client


          Using a network file system server
          mount -t nfs fdSeville:images /mnt/partimgVault
          Continue with client

partimaged-server mode

(When server is not running MS windows, no share is available or NFS is not available)
  1. At the partimaged server computer
      If no user authorization will be used (--noLogin) skip to "Start the daemon"

      If using --login, or partimage was compiled requiring user authorizations:

    1. Establish authorizations
      for /etc/passwd
      Partimage authorization file
      Not needed with system Rescue CD since partimage
      is set to nologin
      1. Create server user partimgd
        1. sudo adduser --create-home /var/log/partimage partimaged
        2. sudo passwd partimaged
      1. Create partimage auth file
         (if using System Rescue CD skip to add clients)
        1. cat >
          mkdir          $1 
          touch          $1/partimagedusers 
          chmod 600      $1/partimagedusers
          chown partimgd $1/partimagedusers 

        2. sudo sh -x /etc/partimaged
      1. Create clients users
        1. cat >
          adduser --comment "partimageID" -M fdLondon
          passwd fdLondon
          adduser --comment "partimageID" -M ladMilan
          passwd ladMilan
          adduser --comment "partimageID" -M franckParis
          passwd franckParis

        2. sudo sh -x
      1. add clients

        1. cat >> /etc/partimaged/partimagedusers

        2. sudo sh -x

    2. check destination:
                touch /partImages/Seville/0_partionImage_images
    3. Start the daemon:

      Switch to an alternate console [Alt][F2]

      partimged -d /partImages/Seville [--nologin]

      Switch back to original console [Alt][F1]

      partimaged options:
      -d /dd/ddd
      destination directory
      server's port listening (default: 4025)
      start in daemon mode, not foreground
      show compilation options used
      -r dir
      --chroot dir
      use chroot to improve security
      set the debug level (default: 1)
      disable login from clients( See compilation options)
      dissable SSL
      show help
      show version

At the Client

  1. Display partitions

    sfdisk --list |more

    Disk /dev/sda: 4865 cylinders, 255 heads, 63 sectors/track
    Units = cylinders of 8225280 bytes, blocks of 1024 bytes, counting from 0
       Device Boot Start     End   #cyls    #blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1   *      0+    536-    537-   4305640+   c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
    /dev/sda2        536+   2382-   1847-  14832216    f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda3       2432    4865-   2434-  19543104    7  HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda4          0       -       0          0    0  Empty
    /dev/sda5        536+    791-    256-   2048728+   7  HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda6        791+   1047-    256-   2056288+   7  HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda7       1047+   1111-     64-    514048+   c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)
  2. Save partition table information to files

    1. sfdisk --dump > ladBerlin.partTable.`date +%y%m%d_%H%M`.dmp
    2. sfdisk --list > ladBerlin.partTable.`date +%y%m%d_%H%M`.txt 2> /dev/null

  3. Copy partition table information to server

  4. Begin backup

    The gui is nice but rather unforgiving as errors in last entry will abort and necessatate starting over.
    Maybe you might want to use the command line after all as you can use command line editor to correct command errors. (ed)

    1. start GUI
      partimage [--noLogin --noSSL]

      Additinal documentaion on GUI (character) usage is at:

      • use [tab] to advance fileds.
      • To save to a file server set up in step I,
        use /mnt/partimgVault for
        Image file to create/use and
        do not select [ ] Connect to server
      • to save to a partimaged running on the same system,
        use localhost for IP/name of the server

                          -- or --

    2. enter command, for example:

      partimage --compress=2 --batch --nodesc \
        --noLogin --noSSL --server=dgNYCvault \
        save \
        /dev/sda3 \

      partimage save \
        /dev/hda3 /mnt/partimgStore/franckParis_home_081231.pimg.gz

      partimage save \
        /dev/sda1 /mnt/partVault/fdLondon_root_081231.pimg.gz

  -------------------| save partition to image file |---------------
Partition to save: ........../dev/sda1
Size of the Partition .......9.77 GiB = 10487199744 bytes
Current iamge file:  ......../mnt/partimgStore/foxSDA1.000
Image file size:  ...........1.78 GiB¿
Available space for image ...4.43 GiB = 4756237312 bytes¿
Detected file ststem: .......ntfs
Compression level: ..........bzip2

Time elapsed: ................1m: 3Sec¿
Estimaged time remaining: ...21m:30sec¿
Speed: ......................151.98 MiB/min¿ 
Data copied: ................284.24 MiB / 3.40 GiB¿


¿ These fields change as the backup progresses

Performance sample: 2 GHz processor; backing up 10GB, MS windows, System only volume, which was 50% used
to a NTFS file server.
compression MiB rate/min net usageCPU usageelapsed time
file size
bzip2 15099% 1.847
gzip 50090% 7 1.871
none90010%15% 53.563 in 2 files (2.36 post compress via Windows)

Detailed options

partimage [imginfo|restmbr]image_file
  imginfoshow information about the image file
  restmbr a MBR of the image file to an hard disk
partimage [options] [save|restore] device_partition image_file

partimage save --nossl --noLogin --server /dev/sda2 /mnt/images/imageOfsad2.gz

device_partition partition to save/restore (example: /dev/hda1)
image_file name for image file (example: server.volume.yymmdd.gz
For restore, image_file can be stdin which allows for providing image files via a pipe.

partimaged server ip address or name
Examples: -s dgNYimages , --server=dgNYimages
partimaged server's listening port (default: 4025)
noLogin see partimaged server screen if ithis is permitted
username on server
 partition related
don't check the partition before saving
don't fail if the partition is mounted.
warning, contents will be changing !
ZERO empty blocks on restore
don't ask for description
 save destination related
Don't expect significant reduction if the partition being saved is a MS Windows volume with compression.
using gzip: fast and small image file (default)
using bzip2: very slow and very small image file.
using lz: fastest and smallest
don't compress: very fast but very big image file(not recommended)
overwrite the existing image file without confirmation
split image into multiple volumes files (when backup device fills up)
create volumes with a size of xxx MB
4000 is a good number as you can watch the server as segments are created.
wait for a confirmation after each volume change
don't create a backup of the MBR (Mast Boot Record) in the image file
Normally the MBR is saved with every partition.
However see forum regarding correct size of MBR! and destination.
 when completed partimage should:
halt (power off) the computer
reboot (restart the computer):
batch mode: the GUI won't wait for an user action
batch mode without GUI, resp is a challenge response string
"quest=answer" gui=no
don't synchronize the disks at the end of the operation (dangerous)
disable SSL in network mode
simulation of restoration mode. (verifies image file is valid)
automatic mount with opts options.
set the debug level to n
1(user), 2(developer) or 3(debugging), default 1
show help
show version
show compilation options used
Display from SysRescueCD:
* Version is 0.6.7 [4.2.4 (Gentoo 4.2.4 p1.0)].

*Supported file systems:
 - ext2fs,ext3fs,reiserfsi-3.5,reiserfs-3.6,reiserfs,fat,fat16,fat32,ntfs,
 - Ext2fs support: Internal code

 * Debug options:
   - PARTIMAGE_LOG=/var/log/partimage-debug.log
   - PARTIMAGED_LOG=/var/log/partimaged.log

 * Other options:
   - PARTIMAGED_USERS not used

Additional Examples:

partimage -z2 -o -d save \
partimage -a/dev/hda6#/mnt/partimg#vfat -V1440 save \
 /dev/hda12 \

partimage -m save \
/dev/hda9 /mnt/backup/franckZurich.SYS.WIN95-OSR2.081130.partimg.gz


  1. Check what you have:
    partimage imginfo /mnt/backup/francoisRome.home.081231.bz2

  2. If necessary, recover the master Boot Record
    partimage restmbr /mnt/backup/francoisRome.home.081231.bz2

  3. If necessary, restore the partition table
    sfdisk < /mnt/backup/francoisRome.home.081231.dmp

  4. Recover the partition
    partimage restore \
    /dev/hda13 /dev/hda12 /mnt/backup/francoisRome.home.081231.bz2


  1. Return Code 134 no space left(no error message!)
    Unknown error -47 no space left
    Cannot Create temp file No Space left on device return code 1
    return code 1 user canceled

    This occurs when the partimaged is expecting an SSL connection and partimage is not.
    start partimage with the -n

  2. cannot create file temp.[.] user partimg not created

Additional notes:

Unstable version 7.x.x supports lz compression for -z3 and encryption.

Saving a partition on x86 architecture cannot be restored on a powerpc nor on a x64
"...This seems to be an endianness/types issue which leads to the data not being recognised correctly on other arches than the originating one.
Details here ...

-V sss Does not always work correctly. details

No support for evms volumes details

Other utilities of interest: FOG, Altiris, and Ghostcast, Clonezilla (unicasting and multicasting)
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.
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.

DRBL Diskless Remote Boot in Linux,
ntfsclone and