backup /

Hi,
What is the best way to do a complete back up of the system ( / partition)
using a USB disk(only one NTFS partition) or a NAS device(NFS server) that i have in home

The best way depends on your needs.

  • I would say backup to a true Linux file system is much better then to a non-Linux one like NTFS, because in the second case you will of course loose all your owner/group and permission information, which I do not value as a good backup. (and you can of course put a Linux file system like ext2/3/4 on that USB disk, why using NTFS for that?)
  • backup to another system (preferable in another room or even other building) increases of course the chance that you still have your data after e.g. a fire enormously.

But you could also ask yourself why you want a backup of all files of your / partition (assuming you have a separate /home and maybe more separate file systems for eventual other user or application data). I e.g. only backup all in /etc (and in /srv because I run a HTTP server). In case of an emergency, I will reinstall the system (I have of course written down how and what I did during installation and later) and then use the /etc backup to reconfigure.

If you really want to go for a complete backup of your / (system) partition, then cloning might also be an option. It asks maybe for some extra actions in configuring Grub on recovery, but you do have then all and everything in one.

Be aware that some root directories are virtual files you do not want to back those up some virtual files are as large as the whole CPU address space

Personally, I would use “dar” for that. I would run that from the command line, possibly booted to the live rescue CD. (I have the live rescue CD on a USB, and have installed “dar” on it). However, I usually only backup “/home”. In a disaster, I prefer to reinstall rather than recover from backup, for the root partition.

The thing about “dar” and similar utilities, is that it creates an archive file with all of the unix permissions as data within that file. So using NTFS for the backup won’t lose any unix permissions.

If I want to backup the root partition on a running system, I will do:


# mount --bind / /mnt

and then backup “/mnt”. The bind mount does not contain those virtual file systems such as “/proc” so I would be avoiding that problem. When done, I would unmount.

On 2015-04-26 16:26, nrickert wrote:

> The thing about “dar” and similar utilities, is that it creates an
> archive file with all of the unix permissions as data within that file.
> So using NTFS for the backup won’t lose any unix permissions.

Another possibility would be using clonezilla.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.

(from 13.1 x86_64 “Bottle” (Minas Tirith))