Is my command to clone a drive optimal?

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http://askubuntu.com – I have done half an hour reading around to prepare to clone my hard drive. It has multiple partitions, including a Windows partition. I am going to buy a very large external hard drive for the backup. I would like to be able to use this clone to restore the whole drive in case something goes wrong (I'm about to do some OS re-shuffling). I want do learn how to do this using dd, as I like low-level tools that don't require installing anything. So far I have learned I should enter the following (entered from a root shell using a live CD): dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb & pid=$! while kill - (HowTos)