Partimage is opensource disk backup software. It saves partitions having a supported filesystem on a sector basis to an image file. Although it runs under Linux, Windows and most Linux filesystems are supported. The image file can be compressed to save disk space and transfer time and can be split into multiple files to be copied to CDs or DVDs.
Partitions can be saved across the network using the partimage network support, or using Samba / NFS (Network File Systems). This provides the ability to perform an hard disk partition recovery after a disk crash.
Partimage will only copy data from the used portions of the partition. (This is why it only works for supported filesystem. For speed and efficiency, free blocks are not written to the image file. This is unlike other commands, which also copy unused blocks. Since the partition is processed on a sequential sector basis disk transfer time is maximized and seek time is minimized, Partimage also works for very full partitions. For example, a full 1 GB partition may be compressed down to 400MB.
Partimage does not support ext4 or btrfs filesystems.
No defragmentation is performed during save or restore.
Filesystem being backedup must be unmounted and inaccessible to other programs. This means that when backing up the “system” filesystem, the operating system is down.
Single files or directories cannot be restored. Although the backup could be restored to an temporary/alternate partition and single files or directories could be recovered from the alternate partition.
Fast. Since file fragments are not “hunted down” head movement is minimized allowing optimal use of the disk’s cache.
Fast. Since only allocation clusters which are in use as read and saved.
Read only. None of the data being backed up is modified. This includes meta-data like last-access date. Preserves integrity of source partition.
Multi file synchronization. If there are multiple files that make up a fileSet, no file in the set will be out of sync with the other files.
Destination flexibility. Backup media can be a file on another partition on the same disk, another local disk or a network attached file.
Fast Restore. Data is simply flowed onto the disk optimizing the disk cache and minimizing disk seek time.
Simple restore. There is only one media to restore. No decision regarding order of restoring multiple back media.
No recover of deleted files. Files that were deleted at the time of the backup are not on another media that needs to be restored causing deleted files be resurrected
recovery to alternate partition Excellent choice for mirroring the file system on another disk or at another location.
For a utility for backing up a filesystem on a file basis with more features such as file exclusion, checksumming, multi-thread compression, encryption you should use FSArchiver.