7 Best Open Source “Disk Cloning/Backup” Tools for Linux Servers

Disk cloning is the process of copying data from a hard disk to another one, in fact, you can do this process by copy & paste but you won’t be able to copy the hidden files and folders or the in-use files, that’s why you need a cloning software to do the job, also you may need the cloning process to save a backup image from your files and folders.

Basically, the cloning software job is to take all disk data, convert them into a single .img file and give it to you, so you can copy it to another hard drive, and here we have the best 7 Open Source Cloning software to do the job for you.

1. Clonezilla

Clonezilla is a Live CD based on Ubuntu & Debian to clone all your hard drive data or to take a backup, licensed under GPL 3, it is similar to Norton Ghost on Windows but more effective.


  1. Support for many filesystems like ext2, ext3, ext4, btrfs, xfs, and many other filesystems.
  2. Support for BIOS and UEFI.
  3. Support for MPR and GPT partitions.
  4. Ability to reinstall grub 1 and 2 on any attached hard drive.
  5. Works on weak computers ( 200 MB of RAM is needed only).
  6. Many other features.
Clonezilla for Linux
Clonezilla for Linux

Suggested Read: How to Clone or Backup Linux Disk Using Clonezilla

2. Mondo Rescue

Unlike other cloning software, Mondo Rescue doesn’t convert your hard drivers into an .img file, but it will convert them into an .iso image, you can also create a custom Live CD with Mondo using “mindi” which is a special tool developed by Mondo Rescue to clone your data from the Live CD.

It supports most Linux distributions, it also supports FreeBSD, and it is licensed under GPL, You can install Mondo Rescue by using the following link.

MondoRescue for Linux

3. Partimage

Partimage is an open-source software backup, by default it works under Linux system and available to install from the package manager for most Linux distributions, if you don’t have a Linux system installed by default you can use “SystemRescueCd” which is a Live CD that include Partimage by default to do the cloning process that you want.

Partimage is very fast in cloning hard drivers, but the problem is that it doesn’t support ext4 or btrfs partitions, although that you can use it to clone other filesystems like ext3 and NTFS.

Partimage for Linux

4. FSArchiver

FSArchiver is a continuation of Partimage, also a good tool to clone hard disks, it supports cloning Ext4 partitions and NTFS partitions, here’s a list of features:


  1. Support for basic file attributes like owner, permissions, etc.
  2. Support for extended attributes like those used by SELinux.
  3. Support the basic file­system attributes (label, UUID, block­size) for all Linux file­systems.
  4. Support for NTFS partitions of Windows and Ext of Linux and Unix­Like.
  5. Support for checksums which enables you to check for data corruption.
  6. Ability to restore corrupted archives by just skipping the corrupted file.
  7. Ability to have more than one filesystem in an archive.
  8. Ability to compress the archive in many formats like lzo, gzip, bzip2, lzma/xz.
  9. Ability to split big files in size to a smaller one.

You can download FSArchiver and install it on your system, or you can download SystemRescueCD which also contains FSArchiver.

FSArchiver for Linux

5. Partclone

Partclone is a free tool to clone & restore partitions, written in C in first appeared in 2007, it supports many filesystems like ext2, ext3, ext4, xfs, nfs, reiserfs, reiser4, hfs+, btrfs and it is very simple to use.

Licensed under GPL, it is available as a tool in Clonezilla as well, you can download it as a package.

Partclone for Linux

6. G4L

G4L is a free Live CD system to clone hard disk easily, it’s the main feature is that you can compress the filesystem, send it via FTP or CIFS or SSHFS or NFS to any location you want, it also supports GPT partitions since version 0.41, it is licensed under BSD license and available to download for free.

G4L for Linux

7. doClone

doClone is also a free software project that is developed to clone Linux system partitions easily, written in C++, it supports up to 12 different filesystems, it can perform Grub bootloader restoration and can transform the clone image to other computers via LAN, it also supports live cloning which means that you can create a clone from the system even when it is up and running, doClone.

doClone for Linux

There are many other tools to clone your Linux hard disks, Have you used any cloning software from the above list to backup your hard drivers? Which one is best for you? and also tell us if any other tool if you know, which is not listed here.

If you read this far, tweet to the author to show them you care. Tweet a thanks
Hanny Helal
A Linux & Foss user since 2010, working on many projects in the field of Free Software.

Each tutorial at TecMint is created by a team of experienced Linux system administrators so that it meets our high-quality standards.

Join the TecMint Weekly Newsletter (More Than 156,129 Linux Enthusiasts Have Subscribed)
Was this article helpful? Please add a comment or buy me a coffee to show your appreciation.

29 thoughts on “7 Best Open Source “Disk Cloning/Backup” Tools for Linux Servers”

  1. I was trying to mount clonezilla from a zip file and noticed that Etcher has an option to “clone disk“; I had a look to see if it would clone the system I was using and it did (which I’m using now), so that seems the easiest way to move from a smaller to a larger drive though no option for moving single partitions…

  2. I had great hopes for DoClone, but it hasn’t been updated since 2015, and it won’t compile on my Elementary 5.1 box, so I’d take it off the list.

  3. A simple task, such as cloning a larger drive to a smaller one, will probably throw most of these wonderful tools for a loop. So far, the only way I’ve found to do this is to:

    1. Boot from a Linux Live USB.
    2. Resize the larger partition down to the size (or smaller) of the smaller disk you will be copied to.
    3. Copy this resized partition to the smaller disk (The swap partition needs to be set up manually).
    4. Copying the partition won’t copy the boot info (MBR in this case), so now you need to repair that. I’m going to try Rescatux, and hope for the best. I’m still not sure it will work because of the UUID that is assigned to each disk, and should not be duplicated, but we will see.

    Would be nice if one of these tools could do all those steps automatically.

  4. G4L will also do an exact bit-by-bit clone as long as the destination drive is at least as big as the drive to be cloned. I tried cloning a boot hard drive with Clonezilla years ago when I was working on somebody’s Windows computer, but when I installed it, it wouldn’t boot. I looked for something else, found G4L and it has always worked perfectly. After starting again with G4L, the clone of the original drive booted fine.

    • I should point out that this is a direct clone of the entire drive to another entire drive with no compression or anything else of the sort. It takes a little longer but always works.

  5. I don’t know Linux or centos. I have remote server. I want to backup my centos 7 server – remote server to my laptop. So in future whenever in need I can reinstall the system and run again. Kindly guide or help to get the exact command to excess through SSH and can be able to take server Image or full back without missing even single file as is condition.

  6. Hi, I am a newbie, but have had a Ubuntu 14.04 install on a laptop for

    I do NOT want to have to try and set the whole thing up again, that was four years ago I don’t remember anything about it. I can’t get any of this to work. All I get is error messages in terminal PLS.

    There has to be a way to do this. I have a new Dell gaming laptop. I don’t even want to fool around with trying to partition the hard drive (SSD) I would rather just run it in a virtual box. Vmware converter is not available for Ubuntu WTF!

    As with trying to do anything with Linux I have been reading and reading boards and articles. I even tried the Ubuntu forums (ask Ubuntu) they ask you why are you so stupid and don’t know anything. It’s so exasperating! I tried systembak and can’t shrink the file size down to make it less than 4 GB and besides the new laptop has no DVD player. !!! Sorry but it’s really frustrating.

  7. Is there Mac software I can use to easily create an exact duplicate backup of an external hard drive? Basically, I put all my photos from jobs on an external hard drive for archiving that I keep in my office next to my computer.

    Then I have a duplicate external I keep in a fireproof box at another location. I only copy everything over to my duplicate drive every month or so. But sometimes I’ve changed files on my main archive drive within folders I’ve already on the backup duplicate drive.

    Usually, I end up rewriting the entire drive overnight, which is a pain and takes forever. So my question is if there is a software I could use that would recognize the changes I’ve made to the archive drive and then apply just those changes to the backup drive so they match exactly? Thanks! *side note* I can’t use cloud or an online backup b/c it’s too many files and they are too large to upload

  8. Hello friends,

    I am looking for backup solution for my LAN users, software should take first all documents (doc, xls, pdf, etc) of all users PCs/LAPTOPs in storage (we have storage here), and second time this software will update only change image. anybody know better software please let me.

    I looking for solution in Linux. I hope this software will help lot.

    Thanks guys in advance.
    Anand Mane.


Got something to say? Join the discussion.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. We appreciate your decision to leave a comment and value your contribution to the discussion. It's important to note that we moderate all comments in accordance with our comment policy to ensure a respectful and constructive conversation.

Rest assured that your email address will remain private and will not be published or shared with anyone. We prioritize the privacy and security of our users.