Image (clone) of hard drive using rsync

jw schultz jw at
Wed Sep 11 08:10:01 EST 2002

On Wed, Sep 11, 2002 at 07:35:04AM +0000, Theo van der Merwe wrote:
> Is it possible to make a complete image (or clone) of your hard drive (FAT 
> or NTFS) using rsync?

No.  rsync will copy the files and directory structure.  It
doesn't copy the filesystem/partition.  Further, rsync runs
under cygwin and is mostly restrained to POSIX semantics.
Not being FAT or an NT user i'm not sure all the differences
but i suspect that things like the system and hidden flags
will be lost.  I think there is a patch or a wrapper script
out to preserve ACLs.

> Is it possible to make incremental backups of the image (without having to 
> duplicate the source files)?

Read the documentation.  Rsync's purpose is to increment an
image to be the same as the source.  In that sense it is
incremental.  There is an option that allows you to create a
kind of decremental backup tree.

> When restored to a new hard drive it should be bootable again and should be 
> an exact copy or clone of the original hard drive(i.e. the program should 
> firstly copy the system file information necessary to boot).

This sounds like a job for dd.  rsync will not go anywhere
near the boot block or MBR.

> _________________________________________________________________
> MSN Photos is the easiest way to share and print your photos: 
Sure is.  Thanks to MS every cracker that wants them has access to
your hard drive.  [[couldn't resist]]

Mine is just a quick answer.  If you have further questions
i'm sure someone using rsync in cygwin will be glad to
illuminate.  Do read the various documents at to get a fuller picture.

	J.W. Schultz            Pegasystems Technologies
	email address:		jw at

		Remember Cernan and Schmitt

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