I have been using rsync to routinely backup my home directory under
Ubuntu. The problem is obvious that if the system crashes for some
reasons I have to reinstall the system from scratch.
open source tool called Clonezilla seems to be the answer. Within three
hours, it cloned my 300G hard disk into a 110G gzip'ed image file.
I have followed this link
to create the Clonezilla Live on USB and then this link
to clone the disk.
process is quite smooth although I did try three times to learn the
trick which is that you'd better use the expert mode instead of the
default one and then choose the fsck option to have a disk check before
cloning otherwise you would possibly get a not so helpful error message "Something Went Wrong".
I have a clone image on my external disk and I do feel safer even I
haven't had chance to try the restoration from the image. I wish that
day wouldn't come and if it comes this tool would work as promised.
Update on 30/08/2011:
I have just used Clonezilla to backup my WinXP/VirtualBox image to a file and then restored to VMWare workstation. It works like a charm!