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Old 02-09-2012, 09:48 AM   #1
Registered: Feb 2011
Location: Osaka, Japan
Distribution: Gentoo, Opensuse
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advice on complete system backup


Im running gentoo and have it just the way I want it.

The problem is that I do play around with it quite a bit and have broken it a few times.

Can anyone give me some advice on how to make a complete system backup. What I mean is to put it on an external drive and then when I want it back to this state I can just move it back.

Could I actually just tar it and copy it over or will that not work?

Thank you
Old 02-09-2012, 09:57 AM   #2
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Old 02-09-2012, 03:52 PM   #3
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One thing to assume is you can boot from dvd/cd or usb flashdrive. There are a couple of Linux distros dedicated to system repair even though you could use an ordinary Live CD.

SystemRescue PartedMagic

aside from CloneZilla as already mentioned, they have other useful tools particularly PM.

Your external disk would best have a Linux filesystem - ext2/ext3/ext4 - to allow for large files, though NTFS read/write is reliable these days, but forget FAT32 or FAT.

Once booted from the CD it's a matter of following the prompts for the backup/restore util though of course check documentation.

Another point is if you have a way of doing a practise backup/restore, preferably another system or change over the main hard disk perhaps. It's better to know your procedure can work!

Not wanting to muddy things, you could use 'tar'. If no damage to the partition scheme then just booting from the PM CD opening a terminal, mount your main and external disks, make some suitable directories to aid seeing when and what is backed up, run a filesystem check and then tar up the chosen partitions/directories. Check out using tar if you haven't done so already.

This can be a quick way if you do something that involves just a few sub-directories so not needing the whole routine of CZ or the like which would do whole partition backups.

It happens I use a full partition backup tool for the partition information and then use 'tar' for regular backups. If any probs I just boot to the CD and delete all the directories on whatever partition, run a check and then restore the previous tar files.
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Old 02-09-2012, 06:22 PM   #4
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Clonezilla here too but backup should be stored on another drive.
You can backup either the entire system or individual partitions.

Last edited by EDDY1; 02-09-2012 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:48 AM   #5
Registered: Feb 2011
Location: Osaka, Japan
Distribution: Gentoo, Opensuse
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Thank you everyone for your suggestions.

I tried to use clonezilla but I alway get an error at different points. It tells me that the disk may be full but I know its not.

I decided to use tar and bz2 to backup the complete base system.

What I did was
tar cvfj /external/gentoobackup.tar.bz2 /gentoobackup/gentoo/*.*
This was done using the gentoo boot cd.

I have the bz2 file on an external drive and will try to check it with kvm later this week.

Is there any reason why this shouldnt work. It seems like its pretty strait forward to me.

Thank you.


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