The command "ntfsclone" has switches "-s" and "-r" to tell ntfsclone to save and restore in a special format. The special format leaves out all the holes in the file system -- who would want those? And actually, why would you use ntfsclone if you weren't using those switches? You could just use "dd" and bit copy the whole partition. From my point of view, there seems to be little reason to use ntfsclone if you aren't using the special format switches.
Sometimes I'd like to mount an NTFS under Linux. Ahhh, if the NTFS is in the special format and compressed with gzip, that *IS* a problem.
ntfsclone -r -O - myfs.ntfsclone.gz | gunzip -c > myfs sudo mount -o loop myfs /mnt
The problem here is that this takes a while and in the end you better have enough free disk space available.
I've been thinking. If you'd like to hand someone exactly what their (XP) computer had on it before and let them browse it to pull out any important files, how would you do that? Being on Linux, I have "mount -loop" at my disposal, but Windows users are out of luck, right?
Open source to the rescue again, even on Windows: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ImDisk (their homepage isn't as nice as the wikipedia page)
I tried ImDisk out, seems to work fine. It might be a little bit hard to use for someone that only knows about their "My Documents" but who knows. So, you could do something like this:
ntfsresize -s 50G /dev/sda1 ntfsclone -O - /dev/sda1 | \ gunzip -c | ssh bigserver "cat > myfs" # re-image / re-install victim rsync bigserver:myfs /mnt/windows/myoldfs # boot windows, install ImDisk # mount your oldfs as disk G: for retrieving stuff
The only trick here is resizing the original ntfs down so it's pretty much full (of files). This ensures you aren't wasting a bunch of dead space in your image file.