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How To Simplify DD With GdiskDump On Linux

DD is a very useful tool for a Linux user. With it, it’s possible to erase a hard drive, copy an operating system over the internet to a backup, and more.  The trouble is, DD is difficult to understand for the average user. As a result, many people don’t end up using it. Introducing GdiskDump; it’s a graphical front-end that can simplify DD. It allows users to take control of their data and devices, giving users the same power as DD, while being much easier to use.

Ubuntu/Debian

GDiskDump is primarily targeted at Ubuntu and Debian users, so there are no other downloadable binary formats aside from a DEB package. Thanks to the software being hosted on Launchpad, it’s possible to quickly download everything with the wget tool, rather than having to deal with annoying download pages.

Note: Debian users may need to change apt to apt-get for the dependency installation command to work correctly.

Due to the age of the GdiskDump package, you’ll need to install dependencies ahead of time.

Installing these dependencies are necessary since even the apt install -f command will not correct things. To install, open up a terminal and enter the following commands:

sudo apt install python-gtk2 python python-notify

Next, download the installer package from launchpad with wget.

wget https://launchpad.net/gdiskdump/trunk/0.8/+download/gdiskdump_0.8-1_all.deb

Finally, finish up the installation process by using dpkg.

sudo dpkg -i gdiskdump_0.8-1_all.deb

When installing the GdiskDump tool on newer versions of Ubuntu and Debian, errors will appear in the terminal. This is because GdiskDump’s Debian package is calling out for files that are no longer available on new operating systems. Don’t worry, as the software works just fine (and the dependencies were manually taken care of earlier).

Source Code Instructions

The developer of GdiskDump primarily focuses on making the app work well on Ubuntu, Debian, and distributions like it. As a result, it’s very hard to find packages of the software in other formats for use on Fedora, OpenSUSE, Arch Linux, and etc.

Despite this, it is very possible to get the source code built for use on other Linux distributions. To do this, you’ll first need to get the source code from the GdiskDump’s Launchpad page.

wget https://launchpad.net/gdiskdump/trunk/0.8/+download/gdiskdump-0.8.tar.gz

tar -xvzf gdiskdump-0.8.tar.gz

Next, you’ll need to install the required dependencies for GdiskDump to compile.

With the dependencies taken care of, move the terminal into the code folder and start the building process.

cd gdiskdump-0.8

make

make install

Using GdiskDump

Running the GdiskDump app requires root privileges, so open up a terminal and run the following command to launch it:

sudo gdiskdump

Note: want to run GdiskDump without having to open up a terminal? You’ll need the Gksu app. Get it here.

Burning ISOs

Burning ISO images to removable devices in GdiskDump is a breeze compared to DD in the command line. To do it, insert a USB flash drive (or hard drive), and download an appropriate ISO file. When everything is ready to go, open GdiskDump with the command in the previous section.

Inside the GdiskDump app, look for the “Select Input Format” section, and click the drop-down menu next to it. In the menu, select the “File” option.

After selecting the “file” option in GdiskDump, use the “open file dialog” window to search for your ISO image file.

Note: change “IMG” to “all files” in the browser to import ISO files into GdiskDump.

Click “forward” to move on to the “Output”. Under the “Output” section, click “Hard drive” and select your USB flash drive.

Cloning Partitions

Need to clone a partition? If so, open up the GdiskDump app, look for the “Select Input Format” menu and click the drop-down menu.

In the drop-down menu, select “Partition,” and click the “Forward” button to use it as the source for the cloning process.

Once GdiskDump has an input partition, it’ll need an output. Go through the “Select Output” drop-down menu and select “partition” to start the cloning process. Alternatively, select “File” to output the partition to a raw IMG file.

When the Input and Output settings are set up, click the “OK” button to start the cloning process.

Cloning Hard Drives

Along with copying partitions, GdiskDump can make copies of entire hard drives. To do it, plug in both the source hard drive and the destination drive. Then launch GdiskDump with sudo gdiskdump. Once open, go to the app and select the “Harddrive” option in the “Select Input Format” and “Select Output Format”.

Now that the input and output source is set correctly in GdiskDump, click the “OK” button to start the process. The GdiskDump app will notify you when the cloning process is complete.

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