dd to backup hard drive

A friend gave me his 10 yrs old broken laptop which he had kept among junk for years. He asked me if it was possible to retrieve his emails from the laptop. Obviously my answer was if the hard drive is still alive then “yes”. Now working on such old hardware (that have been exposed to dust or humidity for years) is sometimes risky as they can just “blast off” when powered. I opened the laptop and took out a 20GB Toshiba hard drive. I plugged it to an external case and powered on. Luckily it showed up.

Hard Drive

I browsed a couple of things, they seemed fine. The next thing I did was to duplicate the drive. This is handy if you later need to dump the contents to another drive. Disk duplication from the command line is so much easy with the dd command.

dd if=/dev/sda2 of=~/partition1.img conv=noerror,sync  

– the parameter conv=noerror tells it to continue even if there are read errors.
– sync option allows you to copy everything using synchronized I/O.

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