Put Rescuezilla 2.5 on a bootable key – before you need it

Sort of a FOSS Norton Ghost, now updated to Ubuntu 24.04 base

A fresh release of Rescuezilla, a free Ubuntu-based rescue disk for imaging the drives of a sickly computer, is available.

Rescuezilla 2.5 is a handy tool to have around, even if you are lucky and you never need it. The new version is based on the latest Ubuntu 24.04, updates several of its components, and also includes a new and experimental command-line interface.

We looked at Rescuezilla 2.4 a couple of years ago, and this version is a relatively modest change as the 0.1 bump in its version number suggests. Saying that, though, it is good to see that the project is in fact getting updated. It originated as a fork of what's now called Redo Rescue, whose website still proudly says: "Version 3.0 now available!" – although that came out in 2020. Redo Rescue version 4.0 was released in 2021, but as its developers still haven't updated the website to reflect that in three years, we have to ask if the project is actually still alive.

Rescuezilla could be described as "like Clonezilla but with a GUI". Clonezilla – which was also updated last month – is a sort of FOSS replacement for Norton Ghost. It can read almost any format of HDD or SSD and image it to either local media or a network share (and, of course, restore it again).

Rescuezilla's main strength is imaging – or restoring – almost ever file system under the Sun

Rescuezilla's main strength is imaging – or restoring – almost ever file system under the Sun – click to enlarge

Rescuezilla wraps similar functionality in a friendly graphical shell, based on a bootable LXDE ISO file. Its core disk-imaging functionality is based on partclone, and Rescuezilla 2.5 updates this to the latest partclone 0.3.27. That came out in October last year, and it in turn supports Btrfs 6.3.3, rather than Btrfs 5.11 as in the last release of Rescuezilla, which fixes an issue some users were having.

Although Rescuezilla is built around partclone, it can do other things as well. In addition to a file manager, image viewer, and some other useful basic tools, it also includes Gparted, as well as Christophe Grenier's PhotoRec and TestDisk text-only data-recovery tools. As such, we were surprised to find that it was missing built-in ZFS support since Ubuntu offers that as an option. It does have the tools for handling lots of other file systems pre-installed, though, including NTFS, JFS, VFAT and exFAT, and Apple HFS and HFS+.

The Rescuezilla penknife has other blades, but they are a bit less shiny

The Rescuezilla penknife has other blades, but they are a bit less shiny – click to enlarge

For Rescuezilla to really be the "Swiss Army Knife of System Recovery" as its creators describe it, we'd like to see some other tools thrown in. Some form of file deduplication tool such as jdupes or rmlint could be useful, for instance, and some cruft-cleaning tool such as BleachBit or Sweeper.

We suggest grabbing Rescuezilla now, before you need it.

Format a spare USB key with the very handy Ventoy, copy RescueZilla and maybe SystemRescue as wellversion 11.01 appeared earlier this month – and maybe a spare official Windows ISO file and an ISO of your preferred Linux distro. Then you're prepared for almost anything short of total disk failure. ®

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