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Cloning your Windows XP System using CloneZilla Live

A few days ago, I reformatted my notebook and re-installed it with, among other things, the same operating system – Windows XP Professional. It had been showing signs of exhaustion as a result of countless system changes over several months – registry changes, new Windows services, hard-disk encryption, and etc.

The whole process of system restoration took a few hours to complete:  regular disk formatting, operating system installation, driver installations,  software application installations (e.g., Notepad++), and Windows Updates which did not work until a while.

Moments later, something occurred to me. Is there an efficient way to restore the notebook to a state where Windows XP, together with all the critical Updates, is freshly installed? There is. Using CloneZilla Live.

In a nutshell, CloneZilla creates an image of your hard-disk and uses it to restore your system to whatever state it was in during the creation of the image.

So, I fired up Clonezilla Live from a USB device, created an image of my hard-disk, and restored my system (in less than an hour) using the image. I was amazed.

Clonezilla is a free disaster recovery, disk cloning, disk imaging and deployment solution[1].

There are two types of Clonezilla application: Clonezilla Live and Clonezilla Server.

‘Clonezilla Live’ enables a user to clone a single computer’s storage media, or a single partition on the media, to a separate medium device. The cloned data can be saved as an image-file or as a duplicated copy of the data. The data can be saved to locally attached storage device, a SSH server, Samba Server or a NFS file-share. The clone file can then be used to restore the original when needed [2].

Clonezilla Server is used to clone many computers simultaneously across a network. This is done using a DRBL server and computer workstations that can boot from a network. The Clonezilla application can be run from a USB-flash-drive, a CD-ROM, or a DVD-ROM. Clonezilla requires no modification to the computer; the software runs in its own booted environment [3].

On the same token, Clonezilla is a perfect tool to enable me to hold on to my licensed copy for as long as I could beyond 8/4/2014 or until my notebook’s demise.  Windows XP Professional’s Extended Support is concluding in a little over three years from now. I will have  restored my notebook with all the critical Windows updates a number for times.

Life is short. Install once, clone once, and restore anytime.