Copy Your Linux Install to a Different Partition or Drive

If you need to move your Linux installation to a different hard drive or partition (and keep it working) and your distro uses grub this tech tip is what you need.

To start, get a live CD and boot into it. I prefer Ubuntu for things like this. It has Gparted. Now follow the steps outlined below.


  • Mount both your source and destination partitions.
  • Run this command from a terminal:
      $ sudo cp -afv /path/to/source/* /path/to/destination
    Don’t forget the asterisk after the source path.
  • After the command finishes copying, shut down, remove the source drive, and boot the live CD again.


  • Mount your destination drive (or partition).
  • Run the command “gksu gedit” (or use nano or vi).
  • Edit the file /etc/fstab. Change the UUID or device entry with the mount point / (the root partition) to your new drive. You can find your new drive’s (or partition’s) UUID with this command:
      $ ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid/
  • Edit the file /boot/grub/menu.lst. Change the UUID of the appropriate entries at the bottom of the file to the new one.

Install Grub

  • Run sudo grub.
  • At the Grub prompt, type:
      find /boot/grub/menu.lst
    This will tell you what your new drive and partition’s number is. (Something like hd(0,0))
  • Type:
      root hd(0,0)
    but replace "hd(0,0)" with your partition’s number from above.
  • Type:
      setup hd(0)
    but replace "hd(0)" with your drive's number from above. (Omit the comma and the number after it).

That’s it! You should now have a bootable working copy of your source drive on your destination drive! You can use this to move to a different drive, partition, or filesystem.

Load Disqus comments

Storix backup and disaster recovery


Corporate Patron

Pulseway Logo

Limited Time Offer

September Cover


Celebrating 25 years of Linux Journal! Download our special April 2019 issue for FREE.