Some Technical Information on the Backup System

When you boot from the 8GB Flash Key, you're running a version of Linux. The backup process uses a Linux command called "dd" to do a bit-by-bit copy of your SSD drive to compressed images on the flash key.

Over time, your SSD drive will contain bytes that you don't see which are deleted files and other data related to the file system. So the more you use your SSD drive, the larger the backup file(s) will eventually become. This will not be a problem, since an 8GB flash key will be able to accommodate a full compressed backup of your SSD drive, even if that SSD drive is nearly full.

There is a way to "condition" your SSD drive so that these hidden bytes are cleared out, resulting in much smaller image backup files. Here is how you'd do that:

While running your Linpus-based computer, you can close all running applications, then open a terminal and run the following command:

sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=delme; rm delme -f

This command will take some time to run as it goes over the "unused" part of the SSD drive replacing any bytes it finds occupied by deleted files and writes zeros to those bytes. When the process finishes, you will shutdown your computer and then do a backup using the 8GB Flash Key. You'll notice that your backup image(s) are considerably smaller.

This "conditioning" of the SSD drive only needs to be done periodically and only if you feel that the backup images could stand to be smaller.

Backing Up Your SSD Drive If You Are Not Using Linpus

This backup solution will work with any operating system installed on your AAO's SSD drive, since it does a bit-by-bit imaging of the whole SSD drive. If you've installed Ubuntu or Mandriva on your AAO, you can still use this backup system. Nothing changes in terms of doing a backup or restore.

If you're one of those who has decided to have your /home directory located off the SSD drive and on to some other media, then of course that will not be backed up. Only the SSD drive is COMPLETELY backed up using this system.

Those who have installed Windows on their SSD drives can also use this backup system. Of course, you won't be able to "condition" the Windows drive as outlined above, since Windows does not have the Linux "dd" command.

Should The Flash Key NOT Boot To The Backup System

Very rarely you might find that the flash key when booting the external Linux stops when trying to set the real time clock on your computer. Should this happen, I've found that holding the power button down until the system turns off and trying again will get past this. I don't know why this happens but it is more of an annoyance than anything to be really concerned about.