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rebooted 04-04-2012 05:26 AM

How to backup a user-space data from a dead computer (HDD functional)
 
Dear experts,

My office Suse-10 based machine is dead (CPU fan dead, not possible to boot). I'm sure that the HDD is fully functional. My question is: how to extract the user data of a specific user as a backup. I can try the following:

- Install this HDD in another Linux machine ("host") and try copying the data to the host.

I have seen guides for cloning an entire partition but none dealing with extracting/copying files.

Will the "host" OS enable me to do this? (I do have the passwords of both admin and user accounts). Do I need some software installed in the "host" OS? Is there a good guide related to doing this?

I am asking this before doing this because if I start in this way, there is no going back because of some administrative issues :(

Thanks and best regards

jschiwal 04-04-2012 05:31 AM

If you su to root, you will have access to the files on the drive. You simply need to mount the partition that has /home on it. (/home may be on it's own partition).

If you use the `cp' command to backup the files, consider the -a (archive) option to preserve the uid & gid & permissions of the files you copy. You might want to use `tar' to archive the user's home partition.

Otherwise, as a regular user, if the UIDs of the users match, you will have access as well.

If the drive is OK, also consider simply using it when the computer is replaced.

eosbuddy 04-04-2012 06:25 AM

[a] Add the user on the new machine
[b] Mount the drive
[c]
Code:

rsync -palv /<mountpoint>/home/<userid> /home/<userid>/backup
Update: If the machine had a running database and email server, you will need to backup those too (typically, mysql databases reside in /var/lib/mysql/<userid> and the email would depend on your MTA).

rebooted 04-04-2012 06:28 AM

Thanks guys,

I'll update when I try this!

Best regards.

rebooted 04-04-2012 11:01 AM

This just keeps getting complicated...

On opening up it turned out that the machine has 2 drives in RAID configuration (hopefully RAID 1). Is it possible to recover data from one of them? I guess probably no!?

Best regards.

TobiSGD 04-04-2012 11:51 AM

We need more information about that. Is it software or hardware RAID. If software then you can easily transfer the disks to a different machine. If hardware than you have to use the same RAID controller on the new machine (a reason why I never use hardware RAID on cheap motherboard-inbuilt controllers), unless it is a RAID 1, in that case each disk should be readable on its own.

rebooted 04-04-2012 12:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TobiSGD (Post 4644651)
We need more information about that. Is it software or hardware RAID. If software then you can easily transfer the disks to a different machine. If hardware than you have to use the same RAID controller on the new machine (a reason why I never use hardware RAID on cheap motherboard-inbuilt controllers), unless it is a RAID 1, in that case each disk should be readable on its own.

I'm afraid it is a hardware RAID (some controller on motherboard). Since the PC is "dead" (non-bootable) its difficult to get more information. I assume it wont hurt the data if I just try to install one of the disks in another linux machine and try to mount it? (if it gives error I will stop at that) The only other option seem to be to get the PC repaired (an expensive option)!

Best regards,
Waqar.

TobiSGD 04-04-2012 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rebooted (Post 4644666)
I assume it wont hurt the data if I just try to install one of the disks in another linux machine and try to mount it?

In any case, before doing anything like that, make an image of that disk, so that you can restore the image in case the disk gets corrupted.

By the way, if that is valuable/important data on that machine, shouldn't you have a backup already?

rebooted 04-04-2012 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TobiSGD (Post 4644673)
In any case, before doing anything like that, make an image of that disk, so that you can restore the image in case the disk gets corrupted.

By the way, if that is valuable/important data on that machine, shouldn't you have a backup already?

:p there is, but its a bit dated. Thanks to all of you for your great input, frankly I did not anticipate this much help :)


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