Casey Bralla on 28 Sep 2008 16:28:22 -0700

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[PLUG] Need Advice on Cloning A Disk Drive

I'm trying to migrate my existing Gentoo system to a larger hard drive.  (I've 
maxed out my 80 GByte drive, but have a 200 GByte lying around.)

I'm having trouble cloning my drive to the new drive and would like some 
advice from the list.

Complicating my problem, is that I'm changing from ReiserFS on the old drive 
to ext3 on the new drive.  

(ReiserFS has been good to me, but now that it has been established that Hans 
Reiser is not simply an uber-geek with no social skills, but a true 
sociopathic murderer, I doubt if ReiserFS development will continue on any 
meaningful way.)

If both disks were the exact same size and used the same file system, I could 
simply "dd" the old disk onto the new disk.  Also, since they are different 
file systems, I can't use partition tools like Partition Magic and its 

Here's what I've been trying to do (and where it has failed).

1.  Install the new disk as a slave drive
2.  Boot to Knoppix.
3.  Mount both the old drive and the new drive under Knoppix
4.  Copy the entire old drive onto the new drive
5.  Reboot to the old drive and old system.
6.  Run grub on the new drive to set the MBR on the new drive.
7.  Swap the old and new drives so that the BIOS boots to the new drive
8.  Enjoy my new disk with extra breathing room!

This technique has failed during the process of copying Character or Block 
Devices.   Knoppix was not able to write the block devices to the new disk.   
I'm not knowledgeable about these types of devices to create them separately.

I was able to boot to the new disk, but the system failed when it could not 
establish a "session" (I think it said).  I presume this is because my new 
disk did not have any tty's created.

My questions for the list:

1.  Is there a way to copy block and character devices?
2.  How else could I (easily) create them on the new drive?
3.  is there any other simple way to duplicate a linux disk?


Casey Bralla
Chief Nerd in Residence
The NerdWorld Organisation
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