Create an image of a partition or hard disk with clonezilla and restore it

15.05.2018 by Stefan

In this tutorial we will describe how to create an image of a hard disk or a. You can create an image of a partition with the free software CloneZilla and restore it later.

An image is a copy of an existing hard disk or partition. It is used to save the current state of a computer to be able to restore it in case of a hardware defect or z.B. a virus attack to restore the computer to the state at the time of the creation of the image. It is a possibility to create a complete backup of a computer. However, you cannot restore single files from this backup, but only the complete harddisk or. Partition.

The advantage of an image is that it is created independent of the operating system and also independent of the partition or hard disk. Partition located file system is. This allows you to back up any hard drive or partition, no matter what operating system is installed on it.

Required software

CloneZilla (download) is a free image software, but it can’t backup online partitions. Online partitions are partitions that are actively in use, e.g., a partition that is not in use.b. if an operating system like Windows 10 is running on this partition. Therefore CloneZilla boots before the operating system into its own mini-Linux environment, in which the hard disk(s) of the computer are not mounted.

CloneZilla can either be copied to a USB stick or burned to a CD/DVD. We describe here the use of CloneZilla on a USB stick. CloneZilla is available as image or ZIP file as free download. For use on a USB stick we need the ZIP variant.

In addition, you can choose between a 32 and a 64-bit variant. The variant depends on the system on which CloneZilla is to be run. If the 64-bit support of a system is unclear, you can simply use the 32-bit version, which is only slightly slower and can run on almost any system.

Now we need a software that writes the ZIP file to the USB stick and makes it bootable. We use the free tool tuxboot (download), which is recommended by CloneZilla and is very easy to use.

Create boot USB stick

First you have to prepare the USB stick itself. It should be an empty USB stick with the FAT32 file system and a capacity of at least 1 GB should be used. Now we start the software tuxboot, which copies CloneZilla to the USB stick and makes the stick bootable. The stick will be bootable via legacy as well as UEFI afterwards. This is important, because new hardware can sometimes only boot via UEFI and still some Linux boot media do not support UEFI.

Create and restore an image of a partition or hard disk with CloneZilla

boot a PC with a CloneZilla USB stick

Now we can plug the CloneZilla USB stick into the PC on which we want to create an image of a partition or hard disk. To do this, we boot once from the boot menu of the computer, not from the main hard drive, but from our USB stick. You can get to the boot menu depending on the model of your computer by pressing the key F10, F11, F12, F2 or ENTF Presses. This depends on the model of the computer, if necessary you have to try out the keys. Boot here in any case in the more modern UEFI mode, if your computer supports this and/or. offers the boot option UEFI.

Create an image of a PC

If the booting of the CloneZilla USB-Stick worked, you can see the GRUB bootloader of CloneZilla. Here you can choose what kind of CloneZilla you want to run. We used the CloneZilla Live Default (1024×768) here. A small and visually not really appealing wizard will start now, which helps you to set the language and keyboard layout. In the third step of the wizard we can start CloneZilla.

Create an image of a partition or hard disk with CloneZilla and restore it

Create and restore an image of a partition or hard disk with CloneZilla

Besides creating images, CloneZilla also supports copying from disk to disk and backing up over the network. Since we want to create a simple image here, we select the option device-image from.

We can now choose where we want to store the image. Here you can choose from a wide range of options:

  • Save the image on a local hard disk or a local USB media
  • Save the image on a SSH server
  • Backup image to a SMB (Samba) share
  • Backing up an image to an NFS share
  • Backup image to a WebDAV server
  • Backing Up an Image to an Amazon AWS S3 Server
  • Backing up an image on an OpenStack Swift server

For this purpose, another wizard will ask you for all the necessary information. It is recommended to assign an IP address to the computer running CloneZilla using DHCP, if your network supports it. This should be possible in most private networks. We use here the standard options to backup the image, in addition we backup the complete hard disk of the local computer, so that we can restore the complete system in case of a hard disk failure. Afterwards we have to enter a name for the image or the partition. save the image files (CloneZilla stores several files in this folder).

Now CloneZilla would like to know which hard disk of the computer should be backed up. In our example the Samsung EVO 960 is the only hard disk of the computer anyway. In addition, CloneZilla can perform a check for certain file systems (unfortunately, the NTFS file system used by Windows 10 is not one of them) beforehand.

Additionally you have the choice if you want to check the image created by CloneZilla if it is free of errors. This is recommended in any case, because an image that does not work correctly, is of course useless in the end. Encryption of the image with eCryptfs is also possible. In our case we backup the image of the test computer unencrypted. For images of computers with confidential content, encryption is useful and may also be required for privacy reasons.

Create and restore an image of a partition or harddisk with CloneZilla

Create and restore an image of a partition or hard disk with CloneZilla

Create and restore an image of a partition or hard disk with CloneZilla

Once you’ve waded through the wizard, you’re finally ready to go: CloneZilla creates an image of our hard drive and places it on a remote server / NAS on an SMB share in our example. If you don’t have a NAS yet, you should try one of our NAS Basic or NAS Restore. NAS Advanced guides recommended, in which we describe two DIY NAS systems. These can then be z.B. run with the free NAS operating system OpenMediaVault, which is based on a current Debian Linux and is quite easy to configure, even for beginners.

CloneZilla uses the program Partclone to create the image, d.h. for each partition of the harddisk (on a Windows 10 computer there are z.B. at least 4 partitions available) a run of Partclone is started. If you store the image on a server, besides the speed of the local computer of course also the speed of the server resp. the network is decisive for how long it takes to create the image. Depending on the hard disk size or. Depending on the occupancy of the hard disk, the creation can take between 10 minutes and several hours.

Create and restore an image of a partition or hard disk with CloneZilla

Checking the image in the storage path

After the process is finished, it is recommended to check the path where the image was saved. We have connected to our NAS via an FTP client and navigate to the previously specified storage directory. Of course, in our case you could also mount the SMB share on the local computer.

Creating and restoring an image of a partition or hard disk with CloneZilla

Restore the image

If the hard disk of our local computer would fail now or z.B. unusable due to a virus, we can use our previously created image to restore the computer to the state it was in when the image was created. To do this, we boot the computer again with our CloneZilla USB stick and start CloneZilla. To restore an image, we first follow the same procedure as we used to create the image. In our example we choose again the device-image mode from CloneZilla, followed by the selection samba_server, because our image to restore is on a SMB share.

But now we choose restoredisk as an option. After entering the credentials CloneZilla connects to our NAS, on which the SMB share is located or. on which our image is located. If there are several images (e.g.B. different backup times), we now have the choice which image we want to restore. In addition, CloneZilla needs to know to which hard disk we want to restore the image.

The hard disk must have at least the same capacity. If the hard disk is larger than the one saved in the image, this is also possible. The image can also be checked here for errors before restoring.

Create and restore an image of a partition or hard disk with CloneZilla

After the wizard, the 4 partitions of our hard disk will be restored and the computer will be back to its original state.

Creating and restoring an image of a partition or hard disk with CloneZilla


The creation of an image with CloneZilla is relatively simple and requires only little computer knowledge. Advanced users can also create images with CloneZilla from the command line without the wizard. restore.

CloneZilla offers a wide range of backup options and is a good alternative for paid backup software. It should be mentioned, however, that with an image backup always only the entire partition / hard disk can be restored, individual files can not be restored from an image.

Comments (16)


I have worked with Acronis for years and had only good experiences..
until I now have installed an ASUS Prime Z490-A motherboard.
My configuration: Windows 10 Pro*, version 20H2, BIOS: RAID ON
Port 0+1 = 2x 1TB SSD in Raid 0
Port 2+3 = 2x 1TB SSD in Raid 0
Port 4+5= 2x 10 TB HDD in Raid 1
If I now boot from a current version (2021er) from the USB-Acronis stick,
then I see nothing except the USB partition… that’s why I landed here now.

My question now:
Can I use CloneZilla to create an image of my first raid 0?

Problem is:
The boat raid has a 2. Partition that should NOT be backed up as well.
(System Partition / C-Partition / D-Partition)

Stefan (Team)
Lothar Peters

Sorry – since I have little idea:

The info: Windows 10 –) NTFS is not supported –) tells me WHAT ?

The whole thing WILL be done under NTFS – so WHAT does this info mean? ?


I generated an image from a CF card to a USB stick as you described and then installed it to another CF card, restarted the computer and very quickly got an error message (black screen, Windows Boot Manager "Windows failed to start. A recent Hardware or Software Change might be the cause . ")

Does anyone have an idea what I could have done wrong when generating or installing the image ?

Stefan (Team)

there is another alternative?
Acronis does not boot on the target PC, and Clonezilla does not recognize the Extrene USB disk on the source PC…

Stefan (team)
Stefan (Team)

Unfortunately I have the problem that I only have the selection to start Clonezilla, that is "CloneZilla Live Default (1024×768)" or others available there, on the following page with the selection of the keyboard layout is already finished. When I arrive at this screen, no selection by mouse or keyboard works any more and I don’t get any further.

Do you have any idea what the problem may be, have already tried various versions of Clonezilla and unfortunately everywhere the same problem:
– clonezilla-live-2.6.0-37-amd64
– clonezilla-live-20190108-cosmic-amd64
– clonezilla-live-20180329-artful-amd64

I would be glad about a tip.

With kind regards

Stefan (Team)

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