If a system won’t boot to use the tools built into Windows or you are moving to different non-compatible versions we recommend using the open source tool PartedMagic. PartedMagic is a linux livecd designed for data recovery and contains various recovery tools. Two tools in particular will offer us different options depending on the type of backup required.
Full System Image
To create a full system image you can use CloneZilla either standalone or included in the extras menu on bootup of PartedMagic. Simply select ConeZilla and follow the Wizard Mode, selecting the whole disk or just individual partitions to backup. This will allow you to clone the system to a new drive, however it does not allow direct access to the data as it creates an image of the drive. Otherwise a full image backup can be made via dd or preferably ddrescue. Check out our posts on data recovery to learn more about full system or forensic backups.
File System Backup
This is the most common and popular way of backing up data from an older machine or with a system that won’t boot. Simply let PartedMagic boot into the GUI (for boot issues see troubleshooting below). There are two ways to backup data, using the file manager, select your source hard drive and copy via drag and drop to the external drive. Be aware there is no resume or verification using this method.
The second method is using the terminal, make sure you know your source and destination patch (ex /media/Windows /media/extusb) by using the rsync command we can transfer the data and even run a file count if we want to verfy the data transfered.
Open up terminal
# rsync -avuP /media/source/ /media/destination
Note about using the trailing forward slash, if you say /media/source/images it will copy the image folder and all subfolders to the destination. If you use the command /media/source/images/ it will copy all the subfolders and files in images but not the images folder itself.