Partimage: Free Norton Ghost / DriveImage Alternative

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Monday, September 3, 2007

Partimage is a Linux utility which saves partitions having a supported filesystems (see below) to an image file. It is a free and open source alternative to the popular software Norton Ghost or DriveImage. Most Linux and Windows filesystems are supported. The partition image file can be compressed with the gzip / bzip2 programs to save disk space, and can be split into multiple files to easily copy them on CDs / DVDs. Partitions can also be saved across the network using the partimage network support, or using Samba / NFS. If you don’t want to install Partimage or you don’t have a running Linux installation then you can download and burn SystemRescue CD. It is a live cd, like Bart’s Rescue CD, that allows to use Partimage immediately even if your computer has no operating system installed (useful to restore an image), and it also allows to save an image on a DVD on the fly.

It supports Ext2FS, Ext3FS, Reiser FS, FAT16/32, HPFS, JFS, XFS, UFS and HFS. NTFS support is still experimental but works fine with not too much fragmented partitions.

Partimage, like Partition Magic, will only copy data from the used portions of the partition. For speed and efficiency, free blocks are not written to the image file. This is unlike the unix ‘dd’ command, which also copies empty blocks. Partimage also works for large, very full partitions. For example, a full 1 GB partition can be compressed with gzip down to 400MB only.

Partimage can be used to easily copy full OS installation along with relevant files and data to rapidly deploy across multiple machines with identical or near identical hardware. In Linux, based on our experience, it doesn’t matter if the hardware isn’t identical; only the hard disk size should be same and preferably from the same manufacturer. On windows it is better to have nearly identical hardware.

You can download Partimage here.

will not be displayed