Modern hard drives are an amazing thing. They’re super fast, quiet and have more storage than we know what to do with. Since these drives are so big, people are starting to store more and more important bits of data onto them.
Having only one hard drive holding all of your personal documents, pictures, videos and music files can be dangerous. This is why backing up your hard drive is essential. There are many ways you can do this on Linux, but the easiest, most straightforward way is by using the Gnome disk utility.
If you’re a Gnome user, chances are you already have this program installed. If not, using your Linux distributions package manager, search for the
gnome-disk-utility package and install it.
Preparing to back up
Before you decide to back up your hard drive, you have to understand something. Hard drives are big. If you have a 500 GB drive, and you want to back it up, the image that you generate with the tool will be a 500GB .IMG file.
It’s probably a good idea to go out and buy a 1TB (or larger) external hard drive if you don’t already have one. You’ll need somewhere to store the hard drive image if you need to restore it to a new one.
Back up your hard drive
Backing up a hard drive is a simple but long process. Here’s what you need to do. Launch the Gnome Disk Utility tool. Once it’s open, select the hard drive you want to back up, click on the hamburger menu and then click the “Create Disk Image” option.
The tool will ask you for your password. Enter it. After that, you’ll be asked what you want to name the .IMG file as well as where you want to save the backup.
Note: it’s probably a good idea to name your hard drive backup image something you can identify easily.
The backup process will then start. You’ll need to be patient; this part takes a while. Gnome Disk Utility is making a complete image of your hard drive – Bootloader (Grub), swap partitions, home and root partitions too.
Just sit back and relax. This might take a while.
When the backup is done, take the .IMG file and move it to your external hard drive that can handle the size. After that, just put your external into a safe place. Don’t forget where it is!
Restore your hard drive
Restoring your hard drive can be a bit tricky. You’ll need to make a Linux USB live disk so that you can launch the disk Utility. Not sure how to do that? Head over to this guide and make yourself an Ubuntu live disk.
Once you’ve booted into your live disk, open up a terminal and install the gnome-disk-utility package (assuming you are using a Ubuntu-based Live USB disk).
sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility
After that, just launch Gnome Disk Utility. Then, plug in your external drive and mount it with the file manager.
Inside Gnome Disk Utility, click on the menu and find the option to “Restore Disk Image.” This will open up a menu. Navigate through it towards your external hard drive and select the hard drive image you created earlier.
After you’ve selected it, the program will start the restoration process.
Note: since you’re restoring from an external over USB, this will take a while. Be patient, and it will be done soon enough.
Once your drive has been restored, just shut off your Ubuntu live disk and reboot! That’s it!
There are lots of ways to back up your hard drive, but none, in my opinion, are as simple and easy to understand as the Gnome Disk Utility. It’s foolproof! I hope with the help of this guide you, too, will be able to easily back up your hard drive and restore it as well.