Portable Clonezilla Backup Drive

I’m a supporter of open source software and one package I’ve been working with lately is called Clonezilla.  It’s a program much like Norton Ghost that is used to backup and restore the contents of entire hard disks. My goal was to create a complete backup solution using an external hard drive that I could transport to a number of locations for backups and restorations.  I’ve been using Western Digital external drives but I’m sure the instructions below will work for for just about any type of drive.

To create a Bootable USB backup drive:

  1. Boot the computer using Gparted Live
  2. Make a single partition on external drive using fat32 formatting
  3. Set the “boot” flag on the external drive, clear the “lba” flag
  4. Restart into Windows
  5. Copy Clonezilla Live files onto external drive maintaining folder structure
  6. Open Command window
  7. Switch to the external drive and change to the “utils/win32” folder
  8. Run “makeboot”
  9. The drive should now be bootable

To perform an image backup, restore, or live-cd creation:

  1. Boot from the external drive
  2. Start Clonezilla
  3. Select “device-image”
  4. Select skip (the external hard drive is automatically selected)
  5. Select “Beginner”
  6. Select the option for what you want to do and follow the prompts


  • For some reason, making the partition with Windows doesn’t always work
  • Make sure the LBA flag is cleared, for some reason it causes a problem making the drive bootable
  • The beginner option automatically segments at 2GB
  • For restorations there is no easy way to restore to a smaller hard drive, restoring to a larger drive is not a problem

This is still a work in progress but Clonezilla paired with a reliable USB hard drive has provided exactly what I needed in a backup solution.

3 thoughts on “Portable Clonezilla Backup Drive

  1. Discovered recently that there are some newer drives that include a chip which will re-download installation software and sort of “reset” the drive if plugged in to a Windows machine. I wasn’t able to make these types of drives bootable either. There may be a way to override the chip but I haven’t looked into it at all.

  2. “Set the “boot” flag on the external drive, clear the “lba” flag”

    How can I do that? I dont understand.


  3. I use the Gparted Live CD whenever I need to manipulate partitions.

    – Reboot the computer with the Gparted Live CD in the drive, answer a few questions as the computer goes through the boot process, and then an xwindow desktop will open with an active Gparted window.

    – Select your USB drive from the drop down menu in the upper right hand corner of the Gparted window.

    Now here is where my memory is a little fuzzy…since I don’t have it running in front of me. There will be a menu option that says “Flags” or “Manage Flags” somewhere in the toolbar. If you click that it will show you a list of all the flags that you can then toggle either ON or OFF.

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