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Old 11-12-2015, 10:50 PM   #1
chris319
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Backup Software


What backup programs do people actually use and like (or dislike)?

I'm looking to disaster-proof my entire HD in case of HD failure.

The backup strategy I've used for many years on Windows and which has worked very well, is as follows. I have two or more HD's with identical geometries. I do a sector-by-sector copy of one drive to the other. The result is a bootable backup which can be swapped in immediately. I would then replace the failed drive and copy the working HD to the new drive. I lose data which was written subsequent to the last backup, but oh well. This preserves the entire OS, settings, configurations, etc. On Windows I have been using Acronis Migrate Easy. I did have an HD fail once, and had another HD threaten to fail -- it was emitting an odor that suggested an electronic component was getting too hot, so I replaced it. Backups saved the day in each case.

I have used the CD .iso version of Clonezilla. It seemed to change some settings on the target HD, and in one case the source HD was rendered unbootable.

I also keep some files in a Dropbox.
 
Old 11-12-2015, 11:13 PM   #2
frankbell
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I use rsync and point it at my file server.

rsync is included in most distros. I would say, see man rsync for more, but the man page lacks examples and is rather overwhelming. The Arch Wiki has a good description of it: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Rsync

It really is worth your while to learn how to use rsync. It took me about two weeks to figure it out, and I don't regret a day of it.

There's a GUI frontend for rsync called BackInTime.

I have found that backing up an entire Linux OS is less than productive. In my experience, backing up your data files and certain crucial configuration files is more utilitarian. If the OS crashes bad, reinstalling the latest version and then restoring those crucial files and the data files is generally preferable to trying to recreate the previous OS.

With Linux, I back up my home directory and any configuration files that I have changed (for example, /etc/samba/smb.conf, the configuration file for the Samba file sharing service). I do not worry about backing up any config files that I have left at default.

Just my two cents.

Afterthought:

Linux is not Windows. (grin)

Cast off all Windows thinking ye who enter here. Jesting aside, Linux is different. For example, the /etc/samba/smb.conf file I use on Slackware works just as well on Mint as on Mageia as on any distro I choose to use it on (with appropriate changes related to share names and such). Ultimately (and I can say this as an old Windows user since v. 3.1), Linux is much more logical. Do not expect Linux to act like Windows. Expect it to be different under the hood.

Last edited by frankbell; 11-12-2015 at 11:35 PM.
 
Old 11-12-2015, 11:13 PM   #3
Ztcoracat
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Hi:

I've seen a lot of folks here use Rsync.
I've never tried it as I'm not on a server yet.

Take a look here and see what's available for Linux.
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-...kup-utilities/

Good Luck!-
 
Old 11-12-2015, 11:43 PM   #4
donatom
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I use dd -- it is easy and very versatile. You can either copy hd to hd (but the second one should be as large or larger than the first -- won't work otherwise). I believe Acronis is based on the open-source dd. You don't have to install it; dd comes with virtually all linux distros.

I only back up individual partitions (after each upgrade or major update). You, however, must use the terminal -- but it is super easy.

The following is an Arch wiki which explains several types of backups with dd. It is thorough and, I believe, easy to follow. Be very careful because if you switch the input and output files you will ruin your OS. This website will even show you how to compress your archived partition (if you chose to copy individual partitions). Here is the website:

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Disk_cloning

I personally don't like Clonezilla (it too is based on dd). It is very limiting as far as copying -- and it is time-consuming. With dd you can turn cds/dvds into isos, copy live isos into usb drives to easily make a portable live OS.

Play around with dd for a while (copying directories, OSes etc to a usb drive). When you get used to it, start copying your hard drive or partitions.

I constantly copy and archive my important/semi important files. I keep all of these files in a directory called "MyStuff" and then copy the directory onto several re-writeable DVDs. I also keep this file in Google Drive. I like the fact that Google Drive does not sync with Linux -- otherwise I would worry about ransom-ware (although I haven't heard anyone being infected with ransom-ware on Linux). Google Drive also gives you 15 Gigs of free storage, or 100 Gigs for two dollars a month.

By the way, on Linux everyone uses open-source apps, so even if they made Acronis for Linux, no one would buy it.

Last edited by donatom; 11-13-2015 at 12:05 AM.
 
Old 11-13-2015, 12:18 AM   #5
berndbausch
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I do most of my work on a windows 7 PC.

I have a clonezilla copy of its status right after it was installed, on a Centos-based file server.
Normal Windows backup also goes to this file server.
My really important documents are in a Dropbox folder, which I can also access from my Linux systems, so that they are always accessible, no matter which disk or system dies. Even from the ipad.
The Dropbox folder is rsync'ed to the fileserver.
Unfortunately, those backups are manual. I can't afford to run the fileserver 24/7, and WOL is extremely unreliable - it works in 20 of the cases. So, I switch the fileserver on and initiate the backup and rsync manually.

This served me well when my PC's disk died - not really snap-in, but it took perhaps 2 hours to have it back to the same state as before.

When I have time and feel like it, I will try to set up Amanda- or Bacula-based strategies.
 
Old 11-13-2015, 12:55 AM   #6
Erik_FL
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Paragon Hard Disk Manager

I use Paragon Hard Disk Manager. It will back up Windows and Linux partitions and file systems. You can restore the entire partition or individual files. It does compression and excludes empty space, "pagefile.sys" and other files that you specify.

The professional version provides tools to build a Windows PE standalone boot disk. It will also create a Linux boot disk that can restore partitions. I use Winbuilder to create a customized Windows PE system and install that to a small partition on my hard disk for standalone backup and restore.

There are a few other features that I find useful. You can access Linux files from Windows using the program. You can open stored backup sets and browse or restore files. You can mount virtual disks for VMWare, Microsoft and VirtualBox. You can convert a physical operating system to a virtual OS and adjust it to boot. You can also migrate Windows from one hardware configuration to another and adjust it to boot.

It comes with a GPT driver that will support most disks over 2TB on Windows XP.

It does cost money, but it's a useful program for partitioning and backup of both Windows and Linux partitions. So far as I know there isn't a Linux version of the program. You have to either use a Windows OS to run it or a Windows PE boot disk/partition. About 700MB of disk space is required if you make a Windows PE boot partition on your hard disk.
 
Old 11-13-2015, 12:56 AM   #7
chris319
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rsync appears to be a file copier. If I'm trying to reconstruct a drive on a virgin HD from a backup, I'm going to need to reconstruct the MBR and partition table. I could be mistaken but for that I believe you need a sector copier, not a file copier.

Am I correct in my thinking that a dumb sector-for-sector copy would need to be done between drives with identical geometries so that the partitions end up in the right places on the disk?

I suppose one option would be to format the new drive using something like Knoppix and then use a file copier to copy the files. I'm thinking there must be a more streamlined way of doing this.
 
Old 11-13-2015, 01:58 AM   #8
donatom
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Erik FL,

The most important part of Linux is GNU (GNU is Not Unix), open-source software created by Richard Stallman who painstakingly rewrote all of the apps for unix and made them completely free -- in every sense of the word. By so doing he freed every person who feels so inclined from the slavery of the commercial world.

And Paragon is not GNU. There are open-source utilities that can do a great job of archiving, like rsync, like dd, like cp.

I am not criticizing. I am just extolling the virtues of Linux (Gnu/Linux) and open-source software.

Last edited by donatom; 11-13-2015 at 11:38 AM. Reason: correct a typo
 
Old 11-13-2015, 02:05 AM   #9
astrogeek
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Another +1 for rsync.

And I agree with frankbell...

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
I have found that backing up an entire Linux OS is less than productive. In my experience, backing up your data files and certain crucial configuration files is more utilitarian. If the OS crashes bad, reinstalling the latest version and then restoring those crucial files and the data files is generally preferable to trying to recreate the previous OS.
And I second this sentiment, cure yourself of the encumberance of window$ thinking - GNU/Linux is different, and better for a number of reasons. Understand and embrace the difference!
 
Old 11-13-2015, 09:03 AM   #10
chris319
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Quote:
I have found that backing up an entire Linux OS is less than productive. In my experience, backing up your data files and certain crucial configuration files is more utilitarian. If the OS crashes bad, reinstalling the latest version and then restoring those crucial files and the data files is generally preferable to trying to recreate the previous OS.
This is a two-step process people are advocating. In the event of an HD crash, after replacing the defective HD,

1. Reinstall OS from scratch. This will make the new HD bootable and take care of partitioning and get the machine on the network.

2. Use rsync to copy all files from backup, including all browser links, user settings, documents, additional fonts and so forth, including those not contained in the home directory and stored elsewhere by apps. For example, where does an app such as Audacious store its equalizer settings? I would want to restore that as well.

Do I have this right?
 
Old 11-13-2015, 09:29 AM   #11
Emerson
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I back up /home, /etc, /var and kernel .config. That's all I need to fully restore my system in case of hard drive failure.
 
Old 11-13-2015, 10:23 AM   #12
schneidz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris319 View Post
rsync appears to be a file copier. If I'm trying to reconstruct a drive on a virgin HD from a backup, I'm going to need to reconstruct the MBR and partition table. I could be mistaken but for that I believe you need a sector copier, not a file copier.

Am I correct in my thinking that a dumb sector-for-sector copy would need to be done between drives with identical geometries so that the partitions end up in the right places on the disk?

I suppose one option would be to format the new drive using something like Knoppix and then use a file copier to copy the files. I'm thinking there must be a more streamlined way of doing this.
what you are looking for is dd but it is very destructive.
 
Old 11-13-2015, 11:35 AM   #13
donatom
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Emerson,

Your method makes a lot of sense. Do you use rsync to do your backups? Do you set up your OS with /home, /etc, /var on their own partitions? Also (excuse my ignorance) why do you copy the kernel .config?

I see you run Gentoo which is basically set up from scratch, unlike most other distros. Does your process save a lot of time when you reinstall your OS? I would imagine that recompiling your software would be quite an investment in time and energy or does this strategy allow you to keep your existing software (or most of it)?

The reason I ask is because I run arch linux which is somewhat similar to Gentoo, except that there is no compiling of software.
 
Old 11-13-2015, 12:14 PM   #14
Emerson
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Re: #13

Yes I use rsync. I use an SSD drive for / and spinning rust for /home, no separate partitions for home use. I roll my own kernels, thus the .config is valuable.

Installing Gentoo is pure fun for me, can't enjoy it often, unless there is a hard drive failure reinstall is never needed. Everything you do in Gentoo can be undone, apart from moves like "rm -rf /".
On the contrary what people think it does not consume much of your time. I boot the computer up with SystemRescueCD USB stick. Then I walk over to my desktop and SSH into this computer. From now on Gentoo install is just a terminal window. I check it in every now and then to see if my intervention is needed. I'd say total of my time won't exceed 20-30 minutes.

There is world file in /var/lib/portage/, it contains a list of all software installed by user. And there are configuration files in /etc/portage/ which contain all custom settings. The new install will be the exact copy of old installation.
 
Old 11-13-2015, 12:15 PM   #15
jamison20000e
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+1 for rsynck. If drag and drop won't do? For me data sometimes customized configs.

I would also like to point how cheep storage is theses days (backup hardware. ) I'm with a cheep Blu-ray burner, discs at about $1.50\25GB a pop and won't buy many more as they drop in price because so will SSD drives..
 
  


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