How to Use Clonezilla – Tutorial –

How to Use Clonezilla – Tutorial

In past I have written articles describing differences between Clonezilla SE and CLonezilla Live and¬† how to setup a Clonezilla server. However, many people kept asking me for instructions on how to use Clonezilla. That is why I decided to write this tutorial. For those of you not familiar with Clonezilla, it is a free disk cloning utility that will let you image hard drives via a USB or Ethernet connection. In this tutorial we are going to be using Clonezilla Live to clone a computer’s internal hard drive to a USB external drive. The instructions, however,0 should be pretty much the same for Clonezilla Server Edition. As opposite to other Clonezilla tutorials on the web, I have tried to make this tutorial as detailed as possible, including instructions for “saving” as well as “restoring” the image. Do not be scared by the length of the article; this is actually a walkthrough, so it should be very easy for everybody to understand.

Download Clonezilla Live, burn the iso image (you can use the free Imgburn for this) and boot the computer from the CD. As I previously stated, for those of you using Clonezilla Server the instructions should be pretty much the same, except that instead of booting from a LiveCD, you will be booting from the network connecting to a Clonezilla server which will store your image. The server will provide the Clonezilla wizard via the network connection.

Most of the items in this tutorial are self explanatory, but I will go through all of them in case of doubts in any particular step.

Saving the Image

Insert the liveCD in you CD-ROM and boot from it.

1) At the first screen just click enter.

2) Next, choose your language.

3) Choose the way your keyboard is laid out. If you are in North America just click enter. If you are not in North America your keyboard most likely has a different layout than the default chosen by Clonezilla. Choose the one that pertains to your country.

4) If your “destination” drive is already partitioned and formated in a filesystem Linux understands (e.g. Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, Fat32, etc.), choose “Start_Clonezilla“. If it is not, then click “Enter_shell” and format it. Make sure you identify the drive properly before formatting it, otherwise you can format the wrong one and lose your data. When done, type “ocs-live” to return to the Clonezilla wizard.

5) For this tutorial we are going to make an “image“. Images are compressed files not designed to be accessible, they are meant to be stored away for later use. So, we are going to choose “device-image“. The next option “device-device” as its name indicates, is used when you want to clone two hard drives in one step without creating an image.

6) Select the destination location. This is where you are going to save your image to. For this tutorial, we are going to be choosing the first option “local_dev“. However, if you do not have a USB drive available, notice that you can also save the image to a wide variety of shared drives on your network.

7) Next, Clonezilla will try to detect your USB drive. Connect the USB drive when Clonezilla asks you to do so, then wait a few seconds to give Linux time to recognize the drive and click enter to continue.

8) Select the destination drive. This is the drive you are going to be saving your image to. If your USB hard drive did not get detected on the previous step and it is not appearing on the list, appears intermittently or just won’t format at all, read the section “Problematic Drives” in my article: How to Format a USB External Hard Drive for Linux.

9) Next, Clonezilla will ask you for a directory in your destination drive, where you would like to save your image to. If your destination drive is empty (like the one in the picture below), just choose “Top_directory_in_the_local_device“.

10) To shorten the steps needed to finish, choose¬† “Beginner“. If you have limited space on your destination drive and want to choose a more suitable compression method, other than the default chosen by Clonezilla, choose “Expert”. Expert mode also lets you modify other settings which are useful whenever you have trouble during the cloning process.

11) For this tutorial choose “savedisk“. This will make an image of the entire “source” hard drive. If you wish to make an image of only one partition, choose “saveparts“.

12) Type the name you wish to have for your image; I usually make it the model of the computer and the date, for example: toshiba-satellite-02-27-11, but this is entirely up to you.

13) Choose the “source” drive. This is the hard drive you wish to clone. Move up and down the list using the arrows on your keyboard to the desired drive and then click on the space bar to select it.

14) Make sure everything looks good and click “enter” to continue.

15) Again make sure everything looks good, type “y” and click “enter” to start the imaging process.


Restoring the Image

To restore the image, follow steps 1 through 10 on the previous section of this tutorial.

11) Choose “restore_disk“. If you previously backed up a partition instead of an entire drive, choose “restoreparts”.

12) Choose the image you would like to restore.

13) Choose the “destination“. This is the drive where you will be extracting the image to. Make sure it is empty, since all its contents will be erased.

14) Finally, Clonezilla will ask you twice if you would like to start the process. If you are sure the destination drive is empty, choose yes to start the process.


Final thoughts

Clonezilla is a proven imaging solution; a solution which is powerful, reliable, versatile and free. It is certainly my favorite disk cloning utility. I hope this Clonezilla Live tutorial has been useful to you. If you have any questions about Clonezilla Live or Clonezilla Server, feel free to ask.


  1. Lisa, 28. December 2015, 10:45

    I can’t get clonezilla off my boot? Maybe I did this on the hard drive? Everytime I reboot clonezilla is the startup page instead of windows? I am not computer savey at all, but at this point I just want my computer to boot normally so I can use it.. the clonezilla image covers the whole comp. I’m sooooo stuck pls help new computer

  2. sleepypeepy, 14. August 2011, 14:37

    Thank you for the guidance. I have just installed Sabayon 6 KDE which with the 846! updates took 4 hours. Clonezilla backup to USB expansion drive took no time in comparison – and I now have a security blanket!

    Thumbs Up!

  3. Gavin Groom, 14. August 2011, 9:11

    Great tutorial. Nicely laid out and easy to follow. Who needs shareware?!

  4. Pablo Garcia, 26. July 2011, 9:32

    You imaged a Windows 7 64bit to a USB flash drive? how big is your USB hard drive? Remember you need to use two additional hard drives, one to image store your image and one to dump your image to.

  5. Pablo Garcia, 26. July 2011, 9:24
  6., 25. July 2011, 1:19

    I hope that you can do about how to use Clonezilla CE as like how to intall Clonezilla.
    I thank you very much!

  7. Tom, 22. July 2011, 21:04

    I have setup all accordingly and the image has been saved according to clonezilla. however, i can not see anything on the usb stick? neither in any windows or apple or in the ubuntu mount? Any special format? How do i get that image (which is not to be seen) into the server? any special commands for this?

    Imaging a Win7 x64 to an USB.

    Thank you very much.

  8., 22. July 2011, 3:32

    Thank you for your installation guide! I have installed DRBL in my PC-Linux,and also run it.
    But I choice the Clonezilla CE for my cloning job, you have written about how to use Clonezilla Live.
    I can not use guide, I hope that you can write how to use Clonezilla CE as like how to install Clonezilla.
    I am looking forward to your docoument about how to use Clonezilla CE step by step!!!!!!

  9. Pablo Garcia, 11. July 2011, 8:07

    Matt, try cleaning the partition a little and then do a CHKDSK so it is in optimal condition before using GParted. GParted can be a little tricky specially with Microsoft partitions like, NTFS and FAT32.

  10. Matt, 11. July 2011, 0:57

    Pablo, I discovered that after I opened my trap here…lol. So far I’ve not had any luck with reconfiguring the partitions with gparted….there’s always tomorrow.

  11. Pablo Garcia, 10. July 2011, 23:45

    Hi Matt
    The mere fact that you cloned your partition using Clonezilla to a bigger drive is not going to give you more space. You need to now expand that partition to occupy the full 32gb, otherwise your partition will remain at 4gb. To do this, do a search in Google for the GParted live CD, and use it to expand that partition. Its pretty easy to use.

  12. Matt, 10. July 2011, 21:14

    Your tutorial was very helpful. I’m trying to get a little more life out of a eeepc 900a for my father in law. It’s 4gb ssd was full so I installed a 32gb after making a backup with your help. After restoring the backup to the new drive I now have a full 32gb drive……any ideas?

    I know nothing about Linux or it’s derivatives….

  13. Pablo Garcia, 4. July 2011, 11:36

    Hi Darryl
    To restore the partition you have to use “retore parts”, there is nothing more to it, it is fairly simple. If it is failing it must be another issue. How do you have the hard drives connected? Do you have them connected by USB or straight to the SATA or IDE controller on the computer. USB can cause a lot of issues. If the cloning finished without any issues and you ended the process properly I doubt that the image is corrupted. Also, Clonezilla does some operations at the very end of the process; sometimes people disconnect the drive without finishing the process completely. You should always wait sill you see the options to “Shutdown”, “Restart”, etc.

  14. Darryl, 4. July 2011, 9:43

    i saved my partition instead of the whole disk. I tried to restore the partition and get “Failed to restore partition image file /home/partimag/2011-07-04-19-img/sda1* to /dev/sda1! Maybe this image is corrupt or there is no /home/partimag/2011-07-04-19-img/sda1*! If you are restoring the image of partition to different partition, check the FAQ on Clonezilla website for how to make it. Press “Enter” to continue…”

    I searched FAQ’s and couldn’t find anything. Any help would be appreciated. I’m think it may be because my saved partition was a logical drive in the extended partition and not a primary partition. I’m using a re-formatted drive with one 1 single NTFS partition to restore to, but get this error

  15. Pablo Garcia, 1. July 2011, 12:24

    Hi Keyman,

    Where are you getting stuck?

  16., 30. June 2011, 2:27


    I would love to set the clonezilla(DRBL) server up in the Ubuntu 9.04.But when I have done this,it can not set up.

    Please tell me about clonezilla server install ubuntu server 9.04.

    Thank you for your time and great effort!
    Thank you very much!

  17. Tempert, 18. June 2011, 15:42

    First of all I’m a completely new to Linux. I tried to install Clonezilla using you setup guide.
    When i network boot my win7 system i get the following error:

    /bin/sh: can’t access tty; job control turned off

    Does anyone knows how i could solve this problem? I tried to Google it but wasn’t able to find something.

  18. Chris, 8. June 2011, 11:04

    I would love to set this up using my Ubuntu 11.04 Server as a main backup point for my three Windows boxes, and have it all be totally automatic. I have scripts to wake the PC’s up and shut them back down, and setting them to PXE boot is trivial. I follow on how to set up the PXE server on my Linux box, setting up DRBL, etc, but every tutorial I read on how to actually BACK UP the client has things like “Press Enter”, select this, click that. I see that there is a command line option for CloneZilla and after you go through the process of selecting everything, I see it gives you command line output of what to put in next time.

    I suppose my question is, as I am a bit of a newbie here, how would one go about setting up a totally, utterly, completely unattended bare metal backup of three machines with multiple hard drives every single night? I know how to set up cron jobs and I have seen many articles on backup rotation and it shouldn’t be too hard to modify a script to change the filenames of the backups, but how (is it possible) to configure something on the client end to do all of the above?

    Thank you all ever so much for writing such great articles.


  19. Pablo Garcia, 24. May 2011, 19:13

    Ubuntu is Debian-Based. Ubuntu is basically a drastically modified version of Debian. As it says on the Ubuntu Page, Debian is “The rock upon which Ubuntu was built”.

  20. Richard Heath, 23. May 2011, 7:23

    Hey, thanks for this great tutorial it really helped me. Can i ask, whats the difference between debian and ubuntu clonezilla? Which is faster and which works on more hardware?


  21. sgt_deacon, 8. May 2011, 21:08

    Really helpful, thanks

  22. Steven, 1. May 2011, 21:51

    This is the BEST Clonezilla tutorial I have ever seen.
    Thank you for your time and great effort!
    Thank you very much.


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