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rjo98 01-15-2010 09:26 AM

rsync to an external usb drive
Hi everyone. I have a 1TB USB external drive, currently formatted as fat32. What I need to do is copy two folders and all their subfolders, totaling about 500GB, to that external drive. The USB drive will have to transfer back and forth between RHEL, Windows XP, and Mac OSX computers freely.

What format should I go with on the USB drive, FAT32 or NTFS?

What rsync switches should I use? I know I don't want to use -a because I don't want any permissions restored. I'm guessing I'll have to run rsync a couple times to fully get all the files, so I need to be able to cancel an rsync, then have it pick back up where it left off, not start over and recopy every file again.

Thanks in advance!!!

AlucardZero 01-15-2010 10:09 AM

Can OSX write to NTFS? (I've never used a Mac)

Linux support for NTFS is pretty mature these days - ask Google for how to set it up.

NTFS is incalculably better than FAT32, so if all your platforms write to NTFS sufficiently well, use it.

If you do go with FAT32, use --modify-window=1; see rsync's man page.

rjo98 01-15-2010 10:12 AM

Alucard, many thanks! I know FAT32 works on all three, plus it doesn't allow for permissions, so I think I'd rather stick with that to be honest. I have tried to do an rsync -r -t a couple times, and it looked like it just kept copying everything over and over again. Should i replace the -t with the --modify-windows=1 to solve that problem? or do I need both?

AlucardZero 01-15-2010 10:28 AM

As I said, read the man page


When comparing two timestamps, rsync treats the timestamps as being equal if they differ
by no more than the modify-window value. This is normally 0 (for an exact match), but
you may find it useful to set this to a larger value in some situations. In particular,
when transferring to or from an MS Windows FAT filesystem (which represents times with a
2-second resolution), --modify-window=1 is useful (allowing times to differ by up to 1

rjo98 01-15-2010 10:29 AM


Originally Posted by AlucardZero (Post 3827652)
As I said, read the man page

Hi Alucard, I did read that. and I read it for the -t option as well. But what I don't understand from the man page is if I need both -t and that one, or just the new one you suggested.

rjo98 01-15-2010 11:36 AM

I'm guessing that I still need to use both. Does anyone know for sure?

AlucardZero 01-15-2010 02:37 PM

The two do different things. -t preserves timestamps on the rsynced copy. --modify-window=1 tells rsync to consider two timestamps equal if they differ by 1 second.

rjo98 01-15-2010 02:41 PM

ok, thanks, I'll use both.

or I wonder if i should have just used --size-only to take the timestamp out of the equation altogether, but I don't think that's the best approach.

rjo98 01-28-2010 02:40 PM

the t and modify window options did it.

I have only a few folders at the root, then have things broken into other subfolders under that, with the results of ls | wc -l being around 10,000 or so, I seem to be good. think another part of my problem was related to fat32 and trying to jam too much into folders.

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