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-   -   Nightly bootable backups using dd. (

rmcellig 11-19-2010 09:27 AM

Nightly bootable backups using dd.
I am a Mac user since 1988. I recently discovered Linux Ubuntu and love it. So much that I use it about 95% of the time. On the Mac there is an application I use called Superduper which makes a bootable backup to an external USB drive.

Can I do the same kind of thing using the dd command? I use the excellent Cron GUI Scheduled Tasks. I was hoping that maybe I can use that to schedule nightly bootable backups. Is dd the right tool to use? Once the initial backup is done (which I understand can take a long time), does dd do incremental backups after that.

Looking forward to how I can set this up so that I can just set and forget reassured that bootable backups are occurring overnight. I am still pretty new to all of this so your help is greatly appreciated!!

jefro 11-19-2010 03:26 PM

There are many ways to backup data but none are superduper in linux. I think you may be better off with some file based backup if only for speed. Not sure you do need a bootable backup with all the live cd's and usb's out there.

Might look at rsync or maybe backula or clonzilla. There are many others.

Snark1994 11-19-2010 03:28 PM

What exactly would you require from a bootable backup? Because obviously you could boot from CD, which satisfies the "bootable" bit but not the "backup" bit. You could then use a cron job to back up all your documents to the USB, so you don't lose anything if it dies and you can then copy all the data back from the stick. What sort of situation were you thinking of in which you would have to use this USB backup?

However, I realise that wasn't what you asked. mkbkup looks like it provides functionality similar to what you wanted. However, I don't know enough of the mechanics of booting from USB to be able to tell you whether you can adapt what it does to work with a USB backup.

Hope this helps :)

rmcellig 11-19-2010 04:13 PM

Thanks so much for the answers. You gave me a lot to think about. I guess I had a way of doing my backups that worked fine and now I have to find another way in Ubuntu.

So what you are saying is that I can use something like Lucky Backup (which is an Rsync front end and what I use to sync other folders). I could use this for my backups? Backing up my Home folder as well as the critical folders in my File System? What would these folders be?

If I need to do a restore, would I just simply reinstall Ubuntu from the live CD, reboot and then sudo Nautilus to replace the file systems folders I backed up?

Does this make sense?

Again, thanks so much for making me re-evaluate my backup strategy. Much appreciated!!

linus72 11-19-2010 04:23 PM

You could use Remastersys to make backup livecd's, either use dist-mode or backup-mode
backup-mode recreates everything so thats what you'd want

EDIT: Just make sure you install Ubiquity installer, USB-Creator, and Lupin (all)(boot from iso)

impert 11-19-2010 04:31 PM

You might find this useful.
You might just as well use the command line tools.
Personally, I use a combination of tar (for all my data) and rsync for things that change often.
You really only need to back up your own stuff ie your HOME folder and any other data folders - there's no point backing up anything you can get from the repositories. Or so I believe.
Edit: Having your /home folder on a separate partition will save a lot of restoring from backups, because if you bork your system you can do a fresh install from live CD without touching any data or config files.

HasC 11-19-2010 05:00 PM

perhaps you'll want to take a look at Mondo Rescue

rmcellig 11-19-2010 05:27 PM

I can't get over all of the options!!Right now I am using Ubuntu in dual boot mode on my iMac until I can get a faster PC.


You mention keeping my Home folder on a separate partition. Is that hard to do? By partition, does that also include keeping it on a separate drive?

Regarding Remastersys, I can create a Live CD of my Ubuntu setup excluding the Home directory so all I have to do is install Ubuntu from the created Remastersys CD and then just copy over my Home folder? That's pretty cool.

syg00 11-19-2010 05:41 PM


Originally Posted by rmcellig (Post 4164852)
I can't get over all of the options!!

That's what Linux is all about. Can be a blessing or a PITA (sometimes). Means you often can't just say "I want this" like you can in the proprietary world.

In regard to your initial question, expunge all thoughts of (ever) using dd for backups. It is the worst option (other than no backup at all) - choose any of the above suggestions in preference.

rmcellig 11-19-2010 05:49 PM

Is Mondo Rescue like Clonezilla? I tried Clonezilla off and on. I agree that there are a lot of options in Linux and that's what I love about it and that is one of the reasons I am switching to Linux from using my Mac (since 1988). I guess I just got tired of it all and so far I have found Linux to be refreshing. I am not a coder or a geek. I just want something flexible, dependable and that works and has been proven over the years. I think Linux fits the bill.

impert 11-19-2010 06:04 PM



You mention keeping my Home folder on a separate partition. Is that hard to do? By partition, does that also include keeping it on a separate drive?
1 No, not normally. You have two primary partitions for OS X; (leave these alone if you can) and either one primary for "/" and one for /home, OR you can have one extended partition, with either or both of the linux partitions as logical partitions inside the extended partition. Don't do any partitioning without backing up first. Re-sizing a partition is perilous for the data on it. But you probably have some idea, since you've done your dual boot setup.
2 Well, it can be on a separate drive, but there might be a speed penalty, especially for an external USB drive.

I didn't realise you were using a Mac. I have Debian on a Mac mini, but I've forgotten exactly what I did. It was a while ago, and I no longer use the Mac because I've already got my faster PC ;)
I think I probably used cfdisk to partition and mkfs.ext3 to format it, just as I do on the PC.
Actually, I don't follow my advice to you: I use a partition called /data, and I've removed all my directories from /home/me and replaced them by symlinks to directories of the same name in /data. But the result is the same in that my data is not touched by human or electronic hand in a re-install

rmcellig 11-19-2010 06:28 PM

You just had to rub it in regarding your faster PC. :) I have two computers I am trying to sell so I can build a powerful PC for Linux.

impert 11-20-2010 06:19 AM


You just had to rub it in regarding your faster PC
Ah, no, I didn't mean that. But I haven't looked back since going to Linux 5 years ago, and I'm still being surprised and impressed by the amount of choice, as you say, and the things you can do with it. And building your own is a great way to go, again you get to choose what you want, the possibility to upgrade, and you don't get lumbered with that all-too-well-known OS that you don't want.

rmcellig 11-20-2010 06:27 AM

That's exactly what I want and if I do get the computer with the OS we don't want, I can always dual boot if any of my friends come over and want to go into the other OS's environment :). But for me so far I have really liked Linux and what I can do with it.

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