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Cloning Hard Drives w/ FreeBSD Linux Windows NetBSD OpenBSD Made Easy (no really)

OK that subject line is mostly for the googlers. Goodness knows I've googled similar and never found what I was looking for.

Off and on for months I've been looking for a way to clone hard drives on other platforms as effectively as we do on the Macintosh with Carbon Copy Cloner. Sadly I never could find software near as cool. Until today. Snippets from their website:

g4u ("ghost for unix") is a NetBSD-based bootfloppy/CD-ROM that allows easy cloning of PC harddisks to deploy a common setup on a number of PCs using FTP. The floppy/CD offers two functions. The first is to upload the compressed image of a local harddisk to a FTP server, the other is to restore that image via FTP, uncompress it and write it back to disk. [it also does local disk cloning -ed] ...

4.4 Copying a disk locally
If you just want to copy one local disk to another one with no network & server involved, the "copydisk" command is what you want. E.g. to copy the first IDE disk to the second IDE disk, use "copydisk wd0 wd1", to do the same for SCSI disks run "copydisk sd0 sd1".
Beware! All data on the target disk will be erased!
A list of disks as found during system startup can be found using the "disks" command.

5.1 Supported filesystems
One of the questions arising a lot is "what filesystems does g4u support". The answer is: "all of them". g4u reads the disk bit by bit, starting from byte #0 to the end. It includes any MBR, boot record, partition table and the partitions themselves without further investigating the structure of the data stored in these partitions.

5.2 Supported Operating Systems
The question on operating systems that can be deployed with g4u is the same as for the filesystems: any. Given the image-approach again, g4u is able to handle any operating system. Systems that were cloned successfully include NetBSD, Linux, Novell Netware 4.11 and 5.1, Solaris/x86, Windows NT, 2000 and XP.

This is not for your average end user but for anyone with even rudimentary tech skills this totally rocks. I need it for regular Windows and Unix stuff but I'm also going to try it instead of the TiVo software I've been using too. No reason why it won't work!

I have not used it yet but googled I up some positive reviews. I'll post a review in the next day or two.

For you old C64 crackers it's just like Copy Two Plus and Nibbler! LOL

Comments (8)

"I have not used it yet but... (Below threshold)

"I have not used it yet but googled I up some positive reviews."

One from Yoda, including.

Argh! I just went on a hunt... (Below threshold)

Argh! I just went on a hunt for that very thing one month ago, and didn't turn up anything so slick. In the end, I was saved by a legal installation of Norton Ghost that I found on one of our local systems that I was previously unaware. But an open solution like this completely rocks.

Of course, Ghost will dynamically resize the partitions for you while it copies, to fit a larger target disk, but you can't have everything, I guess.


For business purposes, I us... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

For business purposes, I use Ghost. I can create an image and store it to a "server" (it doesn't have to be a real server, it can be a workstation.) I can connect multiple clients at once using TCP/IP and image them all at the same time.

Ahhh, you've discovered g4u... (Below threshold)

Ahhh, you've discovered g4u - i.e., the Poor Man's Norton Ghost That Actually Works.

Ghost is nice, but heaven help you if you're working in a networked environment and Ghost doesn't support your NIC. Oh, the headaches we've encountered over that little twist...

Doug,Ghost doesn't... (Below threshold)


Ghost doesn't have to support your NIC, but your NIC manufacturer must support DOS (oh, the headaches I've had with THAT).

Ghost works great. The problem really is that the smaller, no-name manufacturerers who are selling NICs for $3 each, have no incentive to support non-Windows drivers.

Stick with Intel or Broadcom. Your head will thank you.

Ghost is the most comprehensive cloning product out there. It's SID walking and network-throttleable "Ghostcasting" features are indespensible.

I once deployed 100 workstations in Bangladesh. It took longer to get them unpacked, put together, plugged in and booted than it did to actually clone them.

Paul, great info, thanks fo... (Below threshold)

Paul, great info, thanks for sharing. I'll definitely check it out.

It just Works!!! ... (Below threshold)

It just Works!!!

Its kind of a lie as well ,... (Below threshold)

Its kind of a lie as well , you don't really need to host it on a unix machine anycase , only the bootup cd uses some or other bsd derivative






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