How can I clone my current elementary OS installation to a new SSD (or HDD) while keeping all my data and programs.

I have done a lot of tweaking and I do not want to have to redo it.Also is there any way I can keep the HDD (this is a laptop , maybe replace DVD drive) and configure my elementary OS to use it as the home folder (maybe mount as /home).

1 Answer 1


It depends on the size of your SSD. If your SSD is bigger than your current HDD you could just use a live distro like SystemRescueCD and use ddrescue with sudo ddrescue -v --force /dev/sda /dev/sdb Here is a pretty decent tutorial which also covers the case that your SSD is smaller than your HDD.

But -- and that is just my personal experience -- I would prefer a clean install. This is what I would do to minimize the hassle:

  1. Create a new bootable flash drive with elementary OS
  2. Buy a harddisk caddy (search amazon) that fits the DVD drive of your laptop for your old HDD
  3. Replace the DVD-Drive with the caddy/HDD and install the SSD
  4. Make a clean install of elementary OS on you new SSD but don't format the HDD
  5. Boot elementary OS from SSD and mount HDD

Now you can select which files from your old home folder you want to restore. You could even do something like rsync -av /mnt/hdd/home/yourname /home/yourname and recreate your home folder although I would rather have some more control over which files you want to restore.

Now, you can use your HDD as /home by changing the /etc/fstab but I would simply use symbolic links to the hard disk for big folders like "Videos" or "Music". Just create a folder called "Music" somewhere on the HDD and do ln -s /mnt/hdd/Music /home/yourname/Music

Hope that helps!

  • How about my programs. Will I have to download again
    – Suici Doga
    Apr 28, 2016 at 1:10
  • Those installed via apt-get or software center? Yes. I had some programs in the /opt/ folder which I just copied back to my SSD, but usually you would want to reinstall them via apt-get, just to make sure you'll get updates and everything. Apr 28, 2016 at 18:34
  • And my custommization
    – Suici Doga
    May 1, 2016 at 13:23
  • Depends on what you mean. Most configurations for applications are in your home directory, namely .config, .gcfonf, .local etc. So if you back up your home directory, you can restore these configurations. Just remember to include these hidden folders in your backup. May 1, 2016 at 14:49
  • I'll try copying those
    – Suici Doga
    May 2, 2016 at 0:59

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