MicroSD Backups with Clonezilla

MicroSD Backups with Clonezilla

This topic will cover how to use Clonezilla to create fast, secure, and low storage backups of microSD media, which is the defacto for Raspberry Pi SoCs. It will require the following items.

  • USB to MicroSD adapter containing the MicroSD media
  • Bootable USB thumb drive with Clonezilla
  • External USB drive with a formatted partition to the store backup
  • Intel based system with USB ports, no working OS or drive required

The Clonezilla ISO can be downloaded here, https://clonezilla.org/downloads.php. The ISO can be burnt to the USB thumb drive using Disks in Linux or Rufus in Windows, https://rufus.ie/en/.

The Intel based system will need to have the Clonezilla USB thumb drive attached, followed with the selection of thumb drive in the bootup sequence. Systems vary on how to select which device to boot from, so you’ll need to do some digging to find that detail about your system.

When the Clonezilla OS loads it will provide several screens prompting for what option to select, refer to the online documentation for details, https://clonezilla.org/clonezilla-usage/clonezilla-live-usage.php.

Basically it will prompt for the following items.

  • Language
  • Keyboard Layout
  • Start Clonezilla
  • Device Image
  • Local Device

It’s at this point it will prompt to attach the external USB storage and MicroSD USB adapter. Attach them, wait a few seconds, and press enter. The following screen should show a list of devices shown as /dev/, if you’re unsure which one is which, repeat these steps again without the external USB or MicroSD adapter attached and note the details.

Once you have identified your storage devices, press Ctrl-C. The next screens will prompt for the following items.

  • Repository, where the backup image will be saved.
  • Path on the repo
  • Message displaying the amount of available space
  • Beginner Mode
  • Save Disk
  • Name of Backup
  • Source disk to backup
  • Encryption
  • Compression
  • Source check
  • Image check

The advantage of using Clonezilla over other methods is that it creates the backup of data used, versus the entire disk. Typical backups can take 1 minute per GB using USB 3.0. A restore will take longer because of MicroSD limitations, usually twice as long. This time savings reduces down time and promotes routine backups.

This should help lessen the sting should a MicroSD card fail. Happy cloning!

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