How to clone a Linux Hard Drive with Gparted

Duplicating hard drive partitions can be tedious if you use a tool like Clonezilla or another Linux-backup utility. If you’re in a hurry, it’s much better to use the duplication feature built right into everyone’s favorite Linux partition editor: Gparted!

In this guide, we’ll go over how to clone a Linux Hard Drive with ease using the Gparted live disk. This process can also be done with the version of Gparted included in many Linux OS software sources but is not recommended, as it makes modifying some file systems hard.

Create GParted Live Disk

The GParted Live Disk is essential for Linux users that want to modify hard drives, especially ones that have Linux operating systems on them. To get a copy of the Gparted live disk working, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Download the Etcher USB burning application to your Linux PC, by visiting this website here.

Step 2: Open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, CD into the “Downloads” directory on your Linux PC.

cd ~/Downloads

Step 3: Use the unzip command-line application to extract the Etcher AppImage file on your Linux PC fully.

unzip balena-etcher-electron-*

Step 4: Update the permissions of the Etcher AppImage file so that it is executable and runnable by the system using the chmod command.

chmod +x balenaEtcher-*.AppImage

Step 5: Use the wget command to download the latest release of the Gparted Live ISO file to your Linux PC.


Or, for 32-bit, do:


Step 6: Launch the Etcher application with the command-line.


Step 7: Plug in your USB flash drive and allow Etcher to auto-select it.

Step 8: Click on the “Select Image” button to bring up an “open-file dialog” window and browse for the Gparted ISO file.

Step 9: Click the “Flash!” button in Etcher to start the flashing process. When the process is done, reboot your Linux PC with the USB flash drive plugged in.

Boot Gparted

To boot Gparted from USB, configure your BIOS to load from USB in the boot order. Once it loads up, you’ll see a boot menu with several items in the list. Look for the “Gparted Live (Default settings) option and hit the Enter key to start up the live disk.

how to clone a linux hard drive with gparted How to clone a Linux Hard Drive with Gparted

After you’ve gotten past the Grub prompt for Gparted Live disk on your computer, a window labeled “Configuration console-data” will appear on the screen. The prompt will have several options to choose from. If you need to set your preferred keymap, click the “Select keymap from arch list” option. Otherwise, choose “Don’t touch keymap” to boot the default kernel one.

how to clone a linux hard drive with gparted 1 How to clone a Linux Hard Drive with Gparted

Following the keymap, Gparted will ask about your language. Look through the list and choose the one you speak by entering the number into the prompt. Otherwise, keep it at the default selection by pressing the Enter key on the keyboard.

Your language and keymap are set in the Gparted Live Disk. Now, load up the GUI interface by entering the startx command in the prompt under “Which mode do you prefer.”

how to clone a linux hard drive with gparted 2 How to clone a Linux Hard Drive with Gparted

Copying Partitions with Gparted

To copy a partition in Gparted, start by locating the drive you want to work with (AKA the source hard drive). Using the menu in the upper right-hand corner of the Gparted tool, find the drive you wish to copy from and select it in the menu to go to it in the app.

On the source hard drive, locate the partition on the source drive in which you wish to copy to the secondary hard drive (AKA the destination hard drive). Once you’ve found the partition you’d like to copy, right-click on it with the mouse to reveal the right-click menu.

Look through the menu for “copy” and select it to confirm to Gparted that you want to copy the partition. Then go back to the menu in the upper right-hand part of the app and choose the destination hard drive.

how to clone a linux hard drive with gparted 3 How to clone a Linux Hard Drive with Gparted

Note: the partition on the source hard drive must not be bigger than the space of the destination drive. Be sure to right-click on the partition and select “resize” to shrink it down first, so that the partition you intend to copy over fits on the destination drive.

After loading the destination hard drive in Gparted, right-click on any space to bring up the right-click menu. Look through the right-click menu for “paste” to copy the partition over.

how to clone a linux hard drive with gparted 4 How to clone a Linux Hard Drive with Gparted

Click the green checkmark icon to apply the transfer to the new drive. Be sure to repeat this process as many times as necessary, if multiple partitions need copying.

When all hard drive partitions are done copying in Gparted, reboot your Linux PC.

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