How To Disk Dump dd

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Disk Dump is nothing less than a life saviour when we’re talking about disk disaster recovery or even data forensics.

Here’s a quick list of cool examples with the dd tool.

Create a backup

dd if=/dev/sda of=/opt/backup_sda.img

Restore a backup

dd if=/opt/backup_sda.img of=/dev/sda

Clone a hard disk

dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sdc

Transfer a disk image

dd if=/dev/sdb | ssh root@target "(cat > backup.img)"

Create an iso image of a CD/DVD

dd if=/dev/cdrom of=cdimage.iso

Burn an iso image of a CD/DVD

dd if=cdimage.iso of=/dev/cdrom obs=32k seek=0

Rescue a file that contains bad blocks

dd if=movie.avi of=rescued_movie.avi conv=noerror

Create your own bootloader

dd conv=notrunc if=bootloader of=qemu.img

Create a backup of your MBR

dd if=/dev/sdb of=mbr_backup bs=512 count=1

Restore a backup of your MBR

dd if=mbr_backup of=/dev/sdb bs=512 count=1

Mount dd image of and entire disk

You must use the start number of the partition.

fdisk -u -l disk_image
Disk /mnt/storage/disk_image: 0 MB, 0 bytes255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 0 cylinders, total 0 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytesDisk identifier: 0x41172ba5

Device                      Boot    Start    End       Blocks   Id  System
/mnt/storage/disk_image1            63       64259     32098+   de  Dell Utility
/mnt/storage/disk_image2    *       64260    78108029  39021885 7   HPFS/NTFS

Partition 2 has different physical/logical endings:phys=(1023, 254, 63) logical=(4861, 254, 63)

Then take the start of the partition that you want to edit, 64260 (disk_image2) in this case, and multiply it by 512

Ex: 512 * 64260 = 32901120

mount -o loop,offset=32901120 -t auto /mnt/storage/disk_image /mnt/image_partition_2

When the hard disk has errors

Get the dd_rescue tool

dd_rescue /dev/sdb /opt/backup_sdb.img

Network Clone

  • Destination:
nc -l -p 2222 | dd of=/dev/sda bs=16M
  • Source:
dd if=/dev/sda bs=16M | nc $Destination 2222

Network speed test

dd if=/dev/zero bs=1M count=100 | ssh user@machine 'cat > /dev/null'

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