A few questions about the Yast Backup tool

I’m a cautious user and like to keep good backups in case of a system crash. I read the specifications of the Yast Backup tool but there are still a few things I’m not sure of and would like to know.

What I’m wondering most is exactly how far a backup goes. For instance, after a fresh install of OpenSuse 11.1 I log in and do the following:

  • Go to Yast - Software Manager and install several programs from the OpenSuse DVD.

  • Install lots of programs from online repositories via Yast.

  • Install other programs from downloaded .bin installers or by unpacking them in /opt, as well as other data such as documents.

  • Configure my desktop, color themes, desktop effects and system settings. Not like these matter a lot in case of an emergency but yeah.

I then run a backup and save the .tar / .xml set, my backup profile including “Files that don’t belong to other packages”. If I do a fresh install of OpenSuse and use the Restore tool to restore my backup, will it restore everything including installed applications and their settings without having to re-download them from external sources?

Another question I had is if the backup tool can be used to keep your settings and installed applications through a version update (eg: do a backup in 11.1, a fresh install of 11.2 and restore the backup to avoid having to install everything manually). Also, can the backup tool be used to port a system from one computer to another when both have (/the same version of) OpenSuse? Thanks.

That would interest me too! Have you got any answers yet?

Kind regards,


The YaST backup tool can make a full backup to a drive; so it is mainly useful if you have a remote/removable hard drive on which to back up.

A lot depends on what you need to back up. Unless you have made a lot of changes to files in /etc, the chances are that simply backing up /home regularly and doing a fresh install if you do have a problem will be quicker and easier.

Well, this has bitten me today. I did a full backup using the YAST backup/restore tool. It created a tar file on my USB drive that contains lots of gzipped tar files for all the packages installed on the computer and also a big gzipped tar called NOPACKAGE. The problem is, now that I want to restore all this stuff onto a new drive (after doing a basic OS install onto it) the restore tool is saying that the backup archive doesn’t contain some specific files and it probably wasn’t created by the backup utility. ARGH!!!

Can anyone help me get this this to work?


This isn’t exactly what you want, but since you have 2 hard drives, it may help. I wasn’t too sure about how to use the YAST backup either, but you can copy an image of one OS installation on a hard drive or partion to another HD drive or partition the SAME SIZE or LARGER with Clonezilla (clonezilla.org). Download, burn, and boot the iso cd, then accept the defaults and copy the image or partition you want to clone to the other hd or partition. Disconnect the old drive before booting to the new one. This is much faster than doing a new install (10-20min) and you get an exact image. It works easily copying SATA or IDE to SATA or IDE. It can be done over a network too, but I found it easier to just connect the drives in the same computer. The disconnected drive is then a complete bootable backup, albet one frozen it time at the backup date or you can put it in another computer.

Clonezilla provide excellent identification of the different HDs connected to the system (better than Acronis CD), Just be sure you know the name and model of your source (the drive your copying FROM) and destination drive (the drive you’re copying your OS system TO), Ideally the destination drive or partition will be blank. Killdisk is a good free program that boots to a floppy or cd and erases drives or partitions. One pass zeros is fine for most everything. I tried installing open suse on a drive I just deleted the partitions on (quick erase) and the new install detected some old programs anyway and included them in the new install with confusing results.

I’m not sure how clonezilla would do copying over another os on the destination drive. It shouldn’t make any difference, copying partitions is different than an install, but erasing the drive is simple. Again just make sure you erase the right drive. Killdisk’s drive identification is very basic, 80G, 160G etc. If your drives are different sizes, no problem, otherwise temporarilly disconnecting the boot drive (the one your os all your data is on) is safest.