You can compress a HD with ‘dd’ on the fly like this;
dd if=/dev/sda1 |gzip > /backup-path/somename.img.gz
reverse looks like this;
gzip -dc /backup-path/somename.img.gz | dd of=/dev/sda1
If you backup your root partition always do it with a live-cd, as said by jahid65.
It is not smart to include a running /tmpfs that contains the thread of your dd command!

Gracias, Men

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