Developed at the National Center for High Performance Computing in Taiwan, Clonezilla will make a byte-for-byte, partition-for-partition copy of whatever you tell it to. And of course it’s free — even better, it’s been released under the GPL for everyone to benefit from.
Running from a live CD or USB stick, Clonezilla will guide you through the cloning process with a series of text-based screens, or give you a command line prompt if you really know what you’re doing.
I cloned my Linux Mint install before trying out KDE & openSUSE, and reverting back to the exact OS I had more than a week prior was astonishingly easy. You just have to pay attention to the instructions and make sure that whatever you’re cloning to is bigger than what you’re cloning from.
There’s an old saying that there are but two kinds of computer users — those who have lived through a catastrophic loss of data and those who are about to. Whatever your personal backup strategy happens to be, there’s probably a place in it for Clonezilla as well.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some computers to back up and clone…