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Try this for testing those backup images

Backups – those wonderful things that come to the rescue when things go wrong.  They are very easy to take (if you decide to take them) but how often do you check them.  Be honest with yourself here.


Anyway as part of my routine server maintenance I tend to take system images.  This means that if something goes wrong, like for example a faulty hard drive, I can quickly recover the system.  Every tech will have their own personal choice on what software to use for taking images and I am no different.  My software of choice is Clonezilla and there are multiple reasons for this, mainly I love opensource software and that it is bloody good software.  I have written an earlier tutorial for anyone who wants to learn how to use Clonezilla.

Once I have the backed up image what is the best way to check them? Again everyone will have their own way of doing this and mine? Turn it into a virtual machine!!

The theory goes something like this. If the system image can be booted up as a virtual machine then it is not corrupt and should also boot up on the original hardware and also similar hardware. This has been tested using Oracle Virtualbox on numerous occasions and I can vouch that it works.

The steps are:

1. Take your image using Clonezilla and save to an external hard drive

2. Create a virtual machine using Oracle Virtualbox (this should also work with VMWare Workstation) and make sure that the hard drive size is exactly the same as the original.

3. Restore the cloned system to the virtual hard drive.

I am not saying this is the best way to check your images but rather a different way that has served me well in the past.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

How to set up RAID 1 on an existing Linux system


Recently I did a tutorial on how to set up RAID 1 on a new Linux system.  Today I will show you how to set up RAID 1 on an existing system.  Why I hear you ask on an existing system? It is true that, if possible, you should set up RAID on a server during installation however there are times that you can’t (only one hard disk present or the person installing didn’t know the correct procedure so chose not too instead).

The method I am going to show you involves using a piece of software called Clonezilla, which is opensource cloning software, so you will need to get your hands on it. You can download it from the Clonezilla website.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using Ubuntu 12.04 installed on a 500 Gb hard drive.  I will clone the installation using Clonezilla and then set up a RAID 1 array on two new 1 Tb hard drives.  Once the RAID 1 array has been set up I will then copy the Ubuntu image onto it.

Lets get started.  First thing to do is to BACKUP ALL YOUR DATA.  Even though you are effectively backing up your data when you image it I always recommend you backup your data using a different method just incase something happens.

Now onto imaging your system.  I have already written a tutorial which covers the required steps so rather than repeat myself please refer to the Clonezilla Tutorial for the method.

Once you have imaged your system connect your two new 1 Tb hard drives and disconnect the old 500 Gb one and again reboot the system using the Clonezilla Live CD.  Go through the menus the same as before until you get to the screenshot below.

Clonezilla1

 

This time instead of choosing Start_Clonezilla choose Enter_Shell.  Once at the shell we need to check our two new disks so type:

sudo fdisk -l

Write down the designations of the two disks (e.g /dev/sda) as we are going to need these later.

Now we need to create partitions and filesystems on the two disks and we do this by using fdisk.  The steps required to accomplish this are covered in How to format a hard drive on Ubuntu 12.04 using fdisk.

Now we need to install a package called mdadm which we shall use to set up the RAID 1 array so type:

sudo apt-get install mdadm

Once installed we can go about setting up the array.  In your terminal type the following:

sudo mdadm –create –verbose /dev/md0 –level=1 –raid-devices=2 /dev/sda /dev/sdb

NOTE: There are two dashes infront of create, verbose, level and raid

In the above command:

level=1 is the raid level (in this case Mirror)

raid-devices=2 is the number of hard disks in the array

/dev/sda and /dev/sdb are the disks to be used (obtained earlier using fdisk)

If successful then you should get mdadm: array /dev/md0 started

Now we just to check the array so in your terminal type:

mdadm –detail –scan (again using two dashes)

This command should return details of the array we have just set up.

All that is left to do is to exit the shell and resume Clonezilla so in your terminal type:

exit

which should return you to the screenshot we had earlier.  This time choose Start_Clonezilla.

Follow the wizard to install your saved image onto the new RAID 1 array.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

 

 

 

 

How to increase the size of your hard drive without losing any data


Finally got round to it.  I have managed to increase the size of my hard drive without losing any data.  This was accomplished by using Clonezilla and a newer 160Gb hard drive to replace my old 40Gb hard drive (remember those).  The way my system is set up is that the operating system (Linux Mint 12) sits on a nice little 40 Gb hard drive while all my files are located on a second 500 Gb hard drive.

The Plan

1. Change hard drives over to the bigger 160 Gb drive.

2. Do not lose any settings or programs (All my files are on the second hard drive and are safe)

3. Repartition the new drive to take into account the bigger size.

What happened?

1. I connected up the new 160 Gb hard drive while leaving the old one in place (it will be removed later).

2. The best tool I have come across to take an image is Clonezilla so I decided to use it. The existing Linux Mint 12 image on the 40 Gb hard drive was caught and saved on the 500 Gb drive (10 mins to image a 40Gb hard drive).  You can use this tutorial on how to use Clonezilla to take a system image.

3. I booted the system with the Clonzilla Live CD and restored the Linux Mint 12 image onto the new 160 Gb hard drive.  I then restarted the system and voila everything is there.  All my programs and settings have been copied across to the new hard drive.

4.  All that is left to do is use a Linux Mint Live CD to boot the system and use GParted to  repartition the new drive taking into account the extra space.  Now I had to delete the swap partition (remember the size) resize the system file partition and then recreate the swap partition again.

5. I now have my Linux Mint 12 operating system , with all my programs and settings, running on the new 160 Gb hard drive.  Lovely!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

Clonezilla Tutorial


Today we are going to take a look at how you would clone a system and deploy it on another computer. To do this we will use the open source software Clonezilla. I have been using Clonezilla for a couple of years and found it to be a very versitile piece of software and ideal when cloning systems (and its free!!).  For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using Windows 7 and Clonezilla running from a live cd.

Before you use Clonezilla (only use this section if you intend to deploy to new systems otherwise skip to live CD)

You have to prepare your Windows system before you can clone it.  The first thing to do is to add all the applications you want on the new system.  Once you have done that we need to remove all the unique identifiers (e.g passwords, activation codes etc).  For that we need sysprep.

Go to:

Start – Computer – Local Disk (C:) – Windows – System32 – sysprep – sysprep

Once you start sysprep you should get the screenshot  below.

Make sure that you set the System Cleanup Action to OOBE and that the generalize box is ticked.  You should also set Shutdown Options to Shutdown.  Once configured click ok. This will start the sysprep tool and once complete will shut down the system.

Starting Clonezilla

It is time to boot the system from the Clonezilla live cd.  On the startup screen leave the default and press return.

On the next screen you will be asked to pick your language.  Press return when you have chosen.

On the next screen you will be asked for your keymap configuration.  Unless you know what you are doing I would recommend you don’t touch this and use the Don’t touch keymap option.

You will now be asked if you would like to start the Clonezilla software or enter a shell (for those so inclined).  For the purpose of this tutorial chose Start Clonezilla.

We will now be asked where we would like to save the cloned system image file. Clonezilla gives you several options of where to store the file.  For the purpose of this tutorial I will store it on a local device (ie my 16Gb usb penstick).  When you have decided where to store the image press return and Clonezilla will mount the device.

On the following page you need to configure a device as /home/partimag.  Chose the same device that you mounted to store your image on so in my case it will be sdb1 as this is my 16Gb usb penstick.

The next option you will have to configure is where on your device do you want to store your image.  As you can see from the screenshot below I have a lot of files and folders on the usb penstick.  If you don’t want the image stored in a specific folder then pick / and press return.

After deciding where to store the image file Clonezilla lets you configure advanced features and options by means of a wizard.  You will need to decide if you want the Beginner or Expert wizard.  Chose Beginner unless you have some specific options that you want to configure as this is sufficient for most peoples needs.

On the next page of the wizard you want to choose savedisk as this saves the local disk as an image for you to deploy later.

When presented with the next screen you have to enter a name for your image as shown below.

Clonezilla will now ask you to pick the source disk that should be imaged.  If your computer only has one disk then Clonezilla will highlight it for you.  If you have multiple disks then you will have to choose which one you want to image.

To make sure your image is restorable choose Yes check the saved image as shown below.

Now we come to the final screen shown below.  Check that you are happy with the choices shown and when ready press Enter.  Your hard disk will now be imaged and saved in the location you specified earlier.  You will need to be patient as this can take some time depending on the size of your hard drive.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

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