Backups are critical!
Losing valuable files can be quite painful.
Maintaining and regularly updating external copies of your data is vital for preservation. The more versions, backup media formats, and physical storage locations, the better.
File systems are best copied or cloned when not booted or busy with an operating system active on it. This means that running a live portable operating system is ideal for managing backups.
One initial step is to create a bootable USB drive.
My favorite utility for creating bootable disks is MultiBootUSB:
Using MultiBootUSB, multiple portable operating system images are able to be installed on a single USB drive:
Testing live boot systems is fun, educational, and practical. Different tools have different strengths and weaknesses. Each distribution has a unique focus, structure, and style.
Some available live boot options are:
Damn Small Linux, Debian Live, Gentoo Live, Haiku, Hiren’s BootCD, Kali Linux, Knoppix, KolibriOS, MooLux, MX Linux, Network Security Toolkit, NimbleX, OpenBSD, PCLinuxOS, Porteus, PUD Gnu/Linux, Puppy Linux, Puredyne, Slax, SliTaz GNU/Linux, System Rescue CD, Tails, Tiny Core, Ubuntu Mate, Ultimate Boot CD, along with plenty more.
For the purpose of backups, Parted Magic is one excellent choice. Parted Magic is a commercial open source system which currently charges for direct download, yet an earlier version is available free as a part of the Ultimate Boot CD.
For cloning my drive, the most simple and functional application discovered within Parted Magic was FSArchiver:
This works great, yet there are countless alternative backup strategies to consider.
Shall continue learning and report!