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Best Way to Make Fedora System Image?

asked 2014-08-26 22:30:32 -0500

cgonz31 gravatar image

updated 2014-11-03 13:51:00 -0500

I have a Toshiba laptop with Fedora 20 (64-bit) that I have been customizing and tweaking for quite some time. I have an HP laptop that I would like to transfer my entire system to. Not just personal files but the entire OS, software, and settings.

On the Toshiba laptop I have a 1 TB GPT disk with five partitions and no unallocated space. The total occupied size of the disk is about 200 GB. Fedora 20 was installed in UEFI booting. Secure Boot is not enabled.

On the HP laptop I have a blank 500 GB disk. The HP laptop supports UEFI booting and 64-bit OSs.

Is this even possible? If so, what is the best way to do it?


I just found out I have a bigger problem with the HP laptop. It is not powering on. I'm pretty sure is the hardware as I can't even see BIOS page before it shuts down. Anyway, I'll have to accept your answer now as I won't be able to repair the HP anytime soon. Thanks for your answers. They were very complete. I'll give it a try when I repair the PC.

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answered 2014-08-27 23:41:05 -0500

  • Make a list of packages in a format you can put in a kickstart file. The installer will accept snippets, or portions of a kickstart, so you can pass this for the package set and use the GUI for partitioning. A netinstall or DVD installation will be required here, a live image install won't work with kickstart.

    show-installed -f kickstart

  • Back up your system configuration with etckeeper. It creates and updates a git repository for the files in /etc. Make sure you configure it with a remote repo to push updates, so there's a backup! Then any system you want to replicate this configuration can clone that repo.

    yum install etckeeper

  • Use rsync to copy files from your old home directory to the new one. Check the manpage for options you might need, but usually something simple will do.

    rsync -vrP /home/user/ new-machine:/home/user/

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I'm not much a coder to do the kickstart file. What if I make a list of the packages I have installed on the Toshiba and then install them on the HP after a clean OS install? Use etckeeper to keep my configuration and finally copy my personal files.

Will this work?

Another method that I thought about is to manually partition the HP HDD with the same number of partitions (but smaller to fit in 500 GB) as the Toshiba HDD. Copy the files to the equivalent partitions in the HP HDD. I would probably need to update /etc/fstab to match the new GUIDs. What do you think?

cgonz31 gravatar imagecgonz31 ( 2014-08-28 08:49:11 -0500 )edit

You don't have to be a coder - the command I cited produces output in a kickstart format. I also said that you don't have to create a whole kickstart file, you can do a portion - ie the package list generated by the command. If you aren't comfortable with that, show-installed can also output in a format that yum can digest.

Manually copying all of the system files and updating the configuration is another possible solution, but it's different enough to merit a dedicated answer with a complete set of instructions. It wouldn't be my preferred method, so I posted something different.

randomuser gravatar imagerandomuser ( 2014-08-28 11:05:26 -0500 )edit

Since it is a clean OS install, there is no harm in trying your method. I'll post the results I get.

cgonz31 gravatar imagecgonz31 ( 2014-08-29 07:24:49 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-08-27 23:22:19 -0500

mether gravatar image

I would suggest . It does a full image copy and I use it regularly in production.

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I will give this a try and see what happens.

cgonz31 gravatar imagecgonz31 ( 2014-08-28 08:50:30 -0500 )edit

I tried clonezilla and it worked fine! Thanks for the suggestion.

odilontalk gravatar imageodilontalk ( 2017-01-07 20:52:25 -0500 )edit

answered 2014-08-26 23:39:09 -0500

FranciscoD_ gravatar image

I think the simplest way would be to backup all your user files and configuration files to a newly installed Fedora system. This will take some time, but if you know what changes you've made, you can easily write a couple of shell scripts that will do them for you.

What you're asking will most simply be possible with dd, which copies the filesystem byte for byte. However, since your two disks aren't exactly identical, dd may not work here. Please search the internet before attempting to use dd.

Can you not just switch hard disks?

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I know that the simplest option would be to do a clean install and then copy my files as you suggested. But I want to see if anyone here has more options to backup the entire system.

I cannot switch hard drives because I want both computers operational.

cgonz31 gravatar imagecgonz31 ( 2014-08-27 07:28:07 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2014-08-26 22:30:32 -0500

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Last updated: Nov 03 '14