One way of getting what you are asking for is taking raw images of the
partitions or whole disk.
This is what I have to do with Windows machines/partitions. I've tried
using rdiff-backup to back up Windows partitions but on restore the
permissions/ACLs are wrong. (I posted about this a long time ago but,
obviously, the issue was never resolved). So instead, I image the
partitions (I use ntfs-clone from the ntfs-3g package for NTFS, and
partimage for FAT, but whatever ...) then backup the _images_ with
rdiff-backup. Typically the rdiff-backup increments are about 10% of
the size of the space _in_use_ on the partition. Have only done
restores on machines that dual boot with GRUB though. No idea if it'd
work with a "pure" Windows machine.
So, yes, it takes some work but once I got the procedure down it's not
bad. The typing time is nothing compared to the actual restore time.
And the space savings using rdiff-backup vs. other tools makes it well
worth it to me. Of course, as always, YMMV.
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