Back Up and Restore Your Hard Drive Easily with Gnome Disk Utility

Backup and Restore Your Hard Drive Easily with Gnome Disk Utility

Modern hard drives are an amazing thing. They’re super fast, quiet and have more storage than we know what to do with. Since these drives are so big, people are starting to store more and more important bits of data onto them.

Having only one hard drive holding all of your personal documents, pictures, videos and music files can be dangerous. This is why backing up your hard drive is essential. There are many ways you can do this on Linux, but the easiest, most straightforward way is by using the Gnome disk utility.


If you’re a Gnome user, chances are you already have this program installed. If not, using your Linux distributions package manager, search for the gnome-disk-utility package and install it.

Preparing to back up

Before you decide to back up your hard drive, you have to understand something. Hard drives are big. If you have a 500 GB drive, and you want to back it up, the image that you generate with the tool will be a 500GB .IMG file.

It’s probably a good idea to go out and buy a 1TB (or larger) external hard drive if you don’t already have one. You’ll need somewhere to store the hard drive image if you need to restore it to a new one.

Back up your hard drive

Backing up a hard drive is a simple but long process. Here’s what you need to do. Launch the Gnome Disk Utility tool. Once it’s open, select the hard drive you want to back up, click on the hamburger menu and then click the “Create Disk Image” option.

Create Disk Image via Gnome Disk Utility.

The tool will ask you for your password. Enter it. After that, you’ll be asked what you want to name the .IMG file as well as where you want to save the backup.

Note: it’s probably a good idea to name your hard drive backup image something you can identify easily.

The backup process will then start. You’ll need to be patient; this part takes a while. Gnome Disk Utility is making a complete image of your hard drive – Bootloader (Grub), swap partitions, home and root partitions too.

Just sit back and relax. This might take a while.

Take the .IMG file and move it to your external hard drive.

When the backup is done, take the .IMG file and move it to your external hard drive that can handle the size. After that, just put your external into a safe place. Don’t forget where it is!

Restore your hard drive

Restoring your hard drive can be a bit tricky. You’ll need to make a Linux USB live disk so that you can launch the disk Utility. Not sure how to do that? Head over to this guide and make yourself an Ubuntu live disk.

Once you’ve booted into your live disk, open up a terminal and install the gnome-disk-utility package (assuming you are using a Ubuntu-based Live USB disk).

After that, just launch Gnome Disk Utility. Then, plug in your external drive and mount it with the file manager.

Plug in your external drive and mount it.

Inside Gnome Disk Utility, click on the menu and find the option to “Restore Disk Image.” This will open up a menu. Navigate through it towards your external hard drive and select the hard drive image you created earlier.

Select the hard drive image you created.

After you’ve selected it, the program will start the restoration process.

Note: since you’re restoring from an external over USB, this will take a while. Be patient, and it will be done soon enough.

Once your drive has been restored, just shut off your Ubuntu live disk and reboot! That’s it!


There are lots of ways to back up your hard drive, but none, in my opinion, are as simple and easy to understand as the Gnome Disk Utility. It’s foolproof! I hope with the help of this guide you, too, will be able to easily back up your hard drive and restore it as well.

Derrik Diener Derrik Diener

Derrik Diener is a freelance technology blogger.


  1. I clone my drive using Clonezilla.

    If one is using a desktop environment other than GNOME, one needs to download hundreds of megs worth of packages just to run one app, GNOME disk utility.

  2. Images as backup are better than nothing, but back up stuff that doesn’t need to be backuped. Like you don’t need to backup /usr, as everything there comes from packages in the distribution. Reinstall and everything is back. But users own data in /home and programs changed settings in /etc (and things like darabase storage) do need to be backuped. So it will not be 500GB, as near 8GB programs and the part of the disk not used need to be saved.

    But again, image is much better than nothing. It is never the question if your computers storage will get lost, it is only a question of when…
    So make backup when you have data you can’t loose, like pictures.

  3. you don’t need an app just to do this. Just do somerthing like:
    dd if=/dev/sda | gzip > /mnt/backup/backup.iso.gz

    1. Depends on if your a GUI guy or a command line guy. This just makes it more foolproof to click click click and done.
      Also you can just hook up the backup drive and create the image right to that, rather than copy it over or move it over.
      And as I stated it does not work on the drive your OS is running on, Someday however a VSS equal for Linux will allow this, and then you can have a solution to backup from your running OS.

      Now another question, if programs like NovaStor can do backup of drive over the network, then why cant they do a backup of themselves over the network in a loop like fashion? I.E. you can access your own self on your network.

      Also the image you create cannot be opened up and mounted to a virtual drive, so it leaves you no way to pull files and folders over. Overall no good.

  4. Except you cannot image the drive your running on, example. I am in my Antergos Linux, on the hard drive I wan to to image. But when I try it just says, unable to unmount drive as it is in use.
    So I assume the only way to image the Antergos drive, is by booting to my live DVD or USB and performing it from there. That can be done but not if your running on the Linux drive you want to backup.

    However I can image my windows hard drive, so it does have use for those who either run multiple Linux OS or want to backup Windows drive.

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