ntfsclone - Efficiently clone, image, restore or rescue an NTFS


   ntfsclone [OPTIONS] SOURCE
   ntfsclone --save-image [OPTIONS] SOURCE
   ntfsclone --restore-image [OPTIONS] SOURCE
   ntfsclone --metadata [OPTIONS] SOURCE


   ntfsclone  will  efficiently  clone  (copy,  save,  backup, restore) or
   rescue an NTFS filesystem to a sparse file, image,  device  (partition)
   or  standard output.  It works at disk sector level and copies only the
   used data. Unused disk space becomes zero  (cloning  to  sparse  file),
   encoded  with  control  codes  (saving  in  special image format), left
   unchanged (cloning to a disk/partition) or filled with  zeros  (cloning
   to standard output).

   ntfsclone  can  be useful to make backups, an exact snapshot of an NTFS
   filesystem and restore it later on, or  for  developers  to  test  NTFS
   read/write  functionality, troubleshoot/investigate users' issues using
   the clone without the risk of destroying the original filesystem.

   The clone, if not using the special image format, is an exact  copy  of
   the  original NTFS filesystem from sector to sector thus it can be also
   mounted just like the original NTFS filesystem.   For  example  if  you
   clone  to  a  file  and the kernel has loopback device and NTFS support
   then the file can be mounted as

          mount -t ntfs -o loop ntfsclone.img /mnt/ntfsclone

   Windows Cloning
   If you want to copy, move or restore a  system  or  boot  partition  to
   another computer, or to a different disk or partition (e.g. hda1->hda2,
   hda1->hdb1 or to a different disk sector offset) then you will need  to
   take extra care.

   Usually,  Windows  will  not  be able to boot, unless you copy, move or
   restore NTFS to the same partition which starts at the same  sector  on
   the  same  type of disk having the same BIOS legacy cylinder setting as
   the original partition and disk had.

   The ntfsclone utility guarantees to make an exact copy of NTFS  but  it
   won't  deal  with  booting  issues.  This  is by design: ntfsclone is a
   filesystem, not system utility. Its  aim  is  only  NTFS  cloning,  not
   Windows  cloning.  Hereby  ntfsclone  can  be  used  as a very fast and
   reliable build block for Windows cloning but itself it's not enough.

   Sparse Files
   A file is sparse if it has unallocated  blocks  (holes).  The  reported
   size  of  such  files are always higher than the disk space consumed by
   them.  The du command can tell the real disk space  used  by  a  sparse
   file.   The  holes are always read as zeros. All major Linux filesystem
   like, ext2, ext3, reiserfs, Reiser4, JFS and XFS, supports sparse files
   but for example the ISO 9600 CD-ROM filesystem doesn't.

   Handling Large Sparse Files
   As  of  today  Linux provides inadequate support for managing (tar, cp,
   gzip, gunzip, bzip2, bunzip2, cat, etc) large sparse files.   The  only
   main Linux filesystem having support for efficient sparse file handling
   is XFS by the XFS_IOC_GETBMAPX ioctl(2).  However none  of  the  common
   utilities supports it.  This means when you tar, cp, gzip, bzip2, etc a
   large sparse file they will always read the entire file,  even  if  you
   use the "sparse support" options.

   bzip2(1)  compresses large sparse files much better than gzip(1) but it
   does so also much slower. Moreover neither of them handles large sparse
   files  efficiently  during uncompression from disk space usage point of

   At present the most  efficient  way,  both  speed  and  space-wise,  to
   compress  and  uncompress  large  sparse files by common tools would be
   using tar(1) with the options -S (handle  sparse  files  "efficiently")
   and -j (filter the archive through bzip2). Although tar still reads and
   analyses the entire file, it doesn't pass  on  the  large  data  blocks
   having only zeros to filters and it also avoids writing large amount of
   zeros to the disk needlessly. But since tar  can't  create  an  archive
   from  the  standard  input,  you can't do this in-place by just reading
   ntfsclone standard output. Even more sadly, using the -S option results
   serious  data  loss  since  the end of 2004 and the GNU tar maintainers
   didn't release fixed versions until the present day.

   The Special Image Format
   It's  also  possible,  actually  it's  recommended,  to  save  an  NTFS
   filesystem   to  a  special  image  format.   Instead  of  representing
   unallocated blocks as holes, they  are  encoded  using  control  codes.
   Thus,  the image saves space without requiring sparse file support. The
   image format is ideal for streaming filesystem images over the  network
   and  similar,  and  can be used as a replacement for Ghost or Partition
   Image if it is combined with other tools.  The  downside  is  that  you
   can't mount the image directly, you need to restore it first.

   To  save  an  image  using  the special image format, use the -s or the
   --save-image  option.  To  restore  an  image,  use  the  -r   or   the
   --restore-image  option. Note that you can restore images from standard
   input by using '-' as the SOURCE file.

   Metadata-only Cloning
   One of the features of ntfsclone is that, it can  also  save  only  the
   NTFS  metadata  using  the  option -m or --metadata and the clone still
   will be mountable. In this case all non-metadata file content  will  be
   lost and reading them back will result always zeros.

   The  metadata-only  image  can  be compressed very well, usually to not
   more than  1-8  MB  thus  it's  easy  to  transfer  for  investigation,

   In  this mode of ntfsclone, NONE of the user's data is saved, including
   the resident user's data embedded into metadata.  All  is  filled  with
   zeros.   Moreover  all  the  file timestamps, deleted and unused spaces
   inside  the  metadata  are  filled  with  zeros.  Thus  this  mode   is
   inappropriate  for  example  for  forensic  analyses.  This mode may be
   combined with --save-image  to  create  a  special  image  format  file
   instead of a sparse file.

   Please  note, filenames are not wiped out. They might contain sensitive
   information, so think twice before sending such an image to anybody.


   Below is a summary of all the options that ntfsclone  accepts.   Nearly
   all options have two equivalent names.  The short name is preceded by -
   and the long name is preceded by -- .  Any single letter options,  that
   don't  take  an  argument,  can be combined into a single command, e.g.
   -fv is equivalent to -f -v .  Long named options can be abbreviated  to
   any unique prefix of their name.

   -o, --output FILE
          Clone  NTFS to the non-existent FILE.  If FILE is '-' then clone
          to the standard output. This option cannot be used for  creating
          a partition, use --overwrite for an existing partition.

   -O, --overwrite FILE
          Clone  NTFS  to  FILE,  which  can be an existing partition or a
          regular file which will be overwritten if it exists.

   -s, --save-image
          Save to the special image format. This is the most efficient way
          space  and speed-wise if imaging is done to the standard output,
          e.g. for image compression, encryption or  streaming  through  a

   -r, --restore-image
          Restore  from  the  special  image  format  specified  by SOURCE
          argument. If the SOURCE is '-' then the image is read  from  the
          standard input.

   -n, --no-action
          Test  the  consistency  of  a  saved  image  by  simulating  its
          restoring without writing anything. The NTFS data  contained  in
          the  image  is not tested.  The option --restore-image must also
          be present, and the options --output  and  --overwrite  must  be

          Ignore  disk read errors so disks having bad sectors, e.g. dying
          disks, can be rescued the most  efficiently  way,  with  minimal
          stress  on  them. Ntfsclone works at the lowest, sector level in
          this mode too thus more data can be rescued.   The  contents  of
          the  unreadable  sectors  are  filled  by  character '?' and the
          beginning of such sectors are marked by "BadSectoR\0".

   -m, --metadata
          Clone ONLY METADATA  (for  NTFS  experts).  Only  cloning  to  a
          (sparse) file is allowed, unless used the option --save-image is
          also used.  You can't metadata-only clone to a device.

          Ignore the result of  the  filesystem  consistency  check.  This
          option  is  allowed  to be used only with the --metadata option,
          for the safety of user's data.  The  clusters  which  cause  the
          inconsistency are saved too.

   -t, --preserve-timestamps
          Do  not wipe the timestamps, to be used only with the --metadata

          Include the Windows log file in the copy. This  is  only  useful
          for  extracting  metadata, saving or cloning a file system which
          was not properly unmounted from Windows.

   --new-serial, or

          Set a new random serial number to the clone. The  serial  number
          is  a  64  bit  number  used  to  identify the device during the
          mounting process, so it has to be changed to enable the original
          file  system and the clone to be mounted at the same time on the
          same computer.

          The option --new-half-serial only changes the upper part of  the
          serial  number,  keeping the lower part which is used by Windows

          The options --new-serial and --new-half-serial can only be  used
          when cloning a file system of restoring from an image.

          The  serial  number  is  not  the volume UUID used by Windows to
          locate files which have been moved to another volume.

   -f, --force
          Forces ntfsclone to proceed if the filesystem is marked  "dirty"
          for consistency check.

   -q, --quiet
          Do not display any progress-bars during operation.

   -h, --help
          Show a list of options with a brief description of each one.


   The exit code is 0 on success, non-zero otherwise.


   Clone NTFS on /dev/hda1 to /dev/hdc1:

          ntfsclone --overwrite /dev/hdc1 /dev/hda1

   Save an NTFS to a file in the special image format:

          ntfsclone --save-image --output backup.img /dev/hda1

   Restore an NTFS from a special image file to its original partition:

          ntfsclone --restore-image --overwrite /dev/hda1 backup.img

   Save an NTFS into a compressed image file:

          ntfsclone --save-image -o - /dev/hda1 | gzip -c > backup.img.gz

   Restore an NTFS volume from a compressed image file:

          gunzip -c backup.img.gz | \
          ntfsclone --restore-image --overwrite /dev/hda1 -

   Backup  an  NTFS  volume to a remote host, using ssh. Please note, that
   ssh may ask for a password!

          ntfsclone --save-image --output - /dev/hda1 | \
          gzip -c | ssh host 'cat > backup.img.gz'

   Restore an NTFS volume from a remote host via ssh.  Please  note,  that
   ssh may ask for a password!

          ssh host 'cat backup.img.gz' | gunzip -c | \
          ntfsclone --restore-image --overwrite /dev/hda1 -

   Stream an image file from a web server and restore it to a partition:

          wget -qO - http://server/backup.img | \
          ntfsclone --restore-image --overwrite /dev/hda1 -

   Clone an NTFS volume to a non-existent file:

          ntfsclone --output ntfs-clone.img /dev/hda1

   Pack  NTFS  metadata for NTFS experts. Please note that bzip2 runs very
   long but results usually at least 10 times smaller archives  than  gzip
   on a sparse file.

          ntfsclone --metadata --output ntfsmeta.img /dev/hda1
          bzip2 ntfsmeta.img

          Or, outputting to a compressed image :
          ntfsclone -mst --output - /dev/hda1 | bzip2 > ntfsmeta.bz2

   Unpacking NTFS metadata into a sparse file:

          bunzip2 -c ntfsmeta.img.bz2 | \
          cp --sparse=always /proc/self/fd/0 ntfsmeta.img


   There  are  no  known  problems  with ntfsclone.  If you think you have
   found a problem  then  please  send  an  email  describing  it  to  the
   development team: ntfs-3g-devel@lists.sf.net

   Sometimes  it  might appear ntfsclone froze if the clone is on ReiserFS
   and even CTRL-C won't stop it. This is not a bug in ntfsclone,  however
   it's  due to ReiserFS being extremely inefficient creating large sparse
   files and not handling signals during  this  operation.  This  ReiserFS
   problem  was  improved  in kernel 2.4.22.  XFS, JFS and ext3 don't have
   this problem.


   ntfsclone was written by Szabolcs Szakacsits  with  contributions  from
   Per Olofsson (special image format support) and Anton Altaparmakov.  It
   was ported to ntfs-3g by Erik Larsson and Jean-Pierre Andre.


   ntfsclone is part of the ntfs-3g package and is available at:


   ntfsresize(8) ntfsprogs(8) xfs_copy(8) debugreiserfs(8) e2image(8)


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