How do I use the dd command?

Asked by Chuck Jagoda on 2010-03-29

I understand there is a dd command in linux that I can use to make an exact copy of the data on my hard drive. I need to know the syntax for using it. Where do I enter it--in TERMINAL? Where do I find info on this in Ubuntu? thanks

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Chuck Jagoda (chuckjagoda1) said : #1

How do I find a driver for the HP detached light mouse that used to work with XP and now doesn't with Ubuntu as the OS.

peter (peter-neuweiler) said : #2

Open a terminal and enter man dd. And you'll get the description of dd.

Hope it helps.

vhp (vhp) said : #3

In FOSS, most programs or tools come with things called man pages or info pages. man(1) itself is an interface to read these on-line manuals. So in the instance of dd(1), we type "man dd" in the terminal and will be presented with most of the info we will need to use that specific tool.

In the case of using dd(1), you need to present dd(1) with both an "if" or input file and an "of" or output file. The syntax looks like so

dd if=/dev/sda of=driveimage.img

As you can see, the input file is /dev/sda, though you should replace this with whatever drive you want to copy. fdisk(8) is a tool which will show you both the device files as well as partition tables, and inputting the following "sudo fdisk -l" will show you the devices and partitions.

Now the second part of the dd(1) command, is the output. Where do you want the file to go. You likely want to be in the location where you want the file to be saved. Or you can add the whole path, like so of="/media/backup_drive/driveimage.img"

Note that before you make a copy of your drive with dd(1), the drive should be unmounted, which can be achieved with umount(2).

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