rpi-clone is a shell script that will back up (clone using dd and rsync) a running Raspberry Pi file system to a destination SD card 'sdN' plugged into a Pi USB port (via a USB card reader).
I use it to maintain backups of several Pi SD cards I have and the destination backup SD cards can be a different size (smaller or larger) than the booted SD card. rpi-clone works on Raspberry Pi distributions which have a VFAT boot partition 1 and a Linux root partition 2. Tested on Raspbian but should work on other distributions which have this same two partition structure. rpi-clone does not work with NOOBS.
rpi-clone can clone the running system to a new SD card or can incrementally rsync to existing backup Raspberry Pi SD cards. During the clone to new SD cards, rpi-clone gives you the opportunity to give a label name to the partition 2 so you can keep track of which SD cards have been backed up. Just stick a correspondingly named sticky label on each SD card you have and you can look up the last clone date for that card in the rpi-clone log file /var/log/rpi-clone. My convention for my set of cards is to name 8GB cards: SD-RPI-8A, SD-RPI-8B, ... and similarly, 4GB cards: SD-RPI-4A, ...
If the destination SD card has an existing partition 1 and partition 2 matching the running partition types, rpi-clone assumes (unless using the -f option) that the SD card is an existing backup with the partitions properly sized and set up for a Raspberry Pi. All that is needed is to mount the partitions and rsync them to the running system.
If these partitions are not found (or -f), then rpi-clone will ask if it is OK to initialize the destination SD card partitions. This is done by a partial 'dd' from the running booted device /dev/mmcblk0 to the destination SD card /dev/sdN followed by a fdisk resize and mkfs.ext4 of /dev/sdN partition 2. This creates a completed partition 1 containing all boot files and an empty but properly sized partition 2 rootfs. The SD card partitions are then mounted on /mnt/clone and rsynced to the running system.
You should avoid running other disk writing programs when running rpi-clone, but I find rpi-clone works fine when I run it from a terminal window. However I usually do quit my browser first because a browser can be writing many temporary files.
rpi-clone must be run as root and you must have the rsync program installed.
After rpi-clone is finished with the clone it pauses and asks for confirmation before unmounting the cloned to SD card. This is so you can go look at the clone results or make any custom final adjustments if needed. For example, I have a couple of Raspberry Pis and I use one as a master. When I clone for the benefit of the second Pi, I do a "cd /mnt/clone/etc" and fix the files needed to customize for the second Pi (well, actually I do that with a script that takes my desired Pi hostname as an argument). Either way, you typically might need to change at least these files:
/etc/hostname # I have one of rpi0, rpi0, ... /etc/hosts # The localhost line should probably be changed /etc/network/interfaces # If you need to set up a static IP or alias
If you cd into the /mnt/clone/tree to make some of these customizations or just to look around, don't forget to cd out of the /mnt/clone tree before telling rpi-clone to unmount.
rpi-clone is on github, to get it and install it to /usr/local/sbin: Go to https://github.com/billw2/rpi-clone and download the zip file:
$ unzip rpi-clone-master.zip $ cd rpi-clone-master $ cp rpi-clone /usr/local/sbin
or, use git to clone the repository:
$ git clone https://github.com/billw2/rpi-clone.git $ cd rpi-clone $ cp rpi-clone /usr/local/sbin
For a French translation of rpi-clone by Mehdi HAMIDA, go to: https://github.com/idem2lyon/rpi-clone
GTR2Fan on the Pi forums has instructions for putting rpi-clone into the menu of the desktop GUI: https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=137693&p=914109#p914109
Bill Wilson billw--at--gkrellm.net