Pinephone OS Backups (System Images)
Because I find the "need" to flash new OS images to SD cards and the eMMC of the phone, there is an equal need to backup these images. I think that we would all like to save ourselves the trouble of reconfiguring from scratch if it can be avoided. I've found some Windows desktop applications to accomplish this task, and each has its strengths and weaknesses. Connect SD card directly to PC or use Jumpdrive for eMMC. I will continue to update with new tools as necessary.

After some testing, I have to recommend Win32DiskImager as the best overall product for backups, assuming you have the storage space for it.

  • Best overall product. Simple UI with fastest transfer speeds.
  • Strength: Saves images in standard .img format.
  • Weakness: Direct copy results in images being the same size as the drive, which in this case is 30 times as large as Aomei.
  • Note: The partitions will be listed as separate drives, but it will read and save the entire drive if you pick one of them. I pick the first one to be safe.
  • Bonus: Balena Etcher can fail when writing to eMMC from a Windows PC and using Win32DiskImager resolves this issue.

Aomei Backupper
  • Best for systems with limited storage.
  • Strength: Intelligent sector copy only saves info for blocks that have data written to them and also features compression. Mobian on a 64GB sd card takes up less than 2GB as an image.
  • Weakness: Saves images in proprietary .adi format and need paid option for functionality

Passmark ImageUSB
  • Best for people afraid of CLIs. It's a slower Win32DiskImager with a prettier UI and some extra features.
Nice move! Haven't yet received my device but appreciate it...

Sent from my PH-1 using Tapatalk
(09-08-2020, 09:35 PM)bcnaz Wrote: (Maybe some Linux app suggestions, I no longer have anything Windows on my property)

I think the dd command (might need a sudo) should be sufficient to backup with a Linux machine. Set the source to your SD card or eMMC, and the output to wherever you want to save (/backupdir).

1. Find the device name of your eMMC or SD card. My eMMC shows up as 'mmcblk2' on the phone itself.

2. Check the lsblk output to see if any partitions on your source device are mounted. Unmount them using their mount points as a reference. For example, to unmount the partition /dev/sdb1 with the mount point /media/thumbdrive:
sudo umount /media/thumbdrive
note that the command is 'umount' not 'unmount'

3a. To create an uncompressed image (replace 'sda' with your source device)
dd if=/dev/mmcblk2 of=/backupdir/filename.img

3b. To create a compressed image with gzip
dd if=/dev/mmcblk2 | gzip -c >/backupdir/filename.img.gz
df will only list mounted filesystems, and you don't want to be taking the image when it's mounted. lsblk will list block devices, even when they're not mounted.
(10-19-2020, 05:07 AM)wibble Wrote: df will only list mounted filesystems, and you don't want to be taking the image when it's mounted. lsblk will list block devices, even when they're not mounted.

Good catch. Updated my post and organized more like a short guide.
+1 for providing options for Windows (even if I use GNU/Linux). Could you clarify the OS dependence in your title?
Today, PinePhones and PinePhones Pro are used with Tow Boot. Tow Boot exposes the eMMC of the phone. Having the eMMC at hand in the computer allows to save it simply as an image in the computer.
On a Linux system, it could be, say /dev/sdb2. I did succesfully:

$ sudo umount /dev/sdb2
$ sudo partclone.ext4 -c -d -s /dev/sdb2 -o 20230820myimage.img

There should be equivalents in Mac or Windows computers.

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