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Old 06-08-2005, 03:35 PM   #1
Registered: Oct 2002
Distribution: Debian 6.0.2 (squeeze)
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Post Tar and partimage backup strategy

I've been using Linux for a while now, and basically have everything set up the way I want it to be. It's taken months to get to this point, and I'd like to backup my system so I can at least restore everything to how it is at this point if something were to happen. There are two things I'd like to accomplish.

First, I want to make an image of everything on this system so I can start with a blank drive and still restore the image. I don't have room to save it on this drive so I plan to directly connect it to another computer with spare room on a FAT partition and use partimage to save each partition and the partition table there. I think I've figured this part out, but if anyone has any advice or reasons why this isn't a good idea, let me know.

Second, I'd like to have a shell script that I can run periodically (or automate with cron) that will create a compressed tar archive of my most important files that I can burn to a CD or save to another drive. I'd like to save everything in my home directory except for ~/music, which contains already-compressed .ogg's that I have on CD anyway and don't need to back up. I also assume a copy of everything in /etc would be good to include. Apart from making a giant tar archive with the whole system (which I don't need to do since I'm doing that with partimage), what else would be important to put on these periodic backups? Also, how does tar treat permissions? If I make the archive as root and then, as root, cd / and tar zxvf backup.tgz, will everything be restored to where it was with the same ownership and permissions as they were before? If not, what backup tool will do that? Finally, if someone could type up a shell script that would do this (save the above directories to backupMMDDYY.tgz, for example), that would be great.

Thanks in advance.
Old 06-08-2005, 08:50 PM   #2
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Let's take the issue of partimage first. The only drawback I am aware of is this: The partition the image is restored must be the same size as the partition the image was make from. Which means, after making the image, DON'T change the size of the partition, or you probably won't be able to restore it.

Tar makes a monolithic file (one large file). If any part of it is corrupted, you risk loosing all of it.

I searched for four years (igoring one particular app in the process) until I found the one which would do what I wanted to do (the one I was ignoring). I refer to DAR . It's a set of bash scripts which you can modify to suit your situation, make full or incremental backups, full or partial restores, etc. Each file is compressed individually. If one is corrupt, you risk only one. Dar has a skip-ahead feature, so that a corrupt file can be restored in part, and the rest re-created (in the case of text and data files).

Permissions are preserved. The one drawback I'm aware of is that DAR doesn't restore file creation times. It will restore the file, but use the restoration time as the file creation time. I haven't check recently. That bug may have been repaired.

Oh! Forgot to mention. Dar doesn't care about partition sizes. Backup a small partition; restore to a larger; or vice versa. Not a problem, so long as it will fit into the partition.

Last edited by bigrigdriver; 06-08-2005 at 08:54 PM.


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