Restore points, Rescue, Recovery, Repair etc.

Does Linux in general, or openSUSE 12.2 in particular, have a facility which periodically backs up an image of the OS, allowing, when things have gone wrong, restoration of the OS to the way it was at an earlier date? A utility that would also allow the creation of a manual checkpoint, if judged necessary for any reason at any time?

And, perhaps, a way to search for problems and possibly correct them?

I have looked in the documentation but not really found anything very clear. That Snapper I cannot use because my file system is ext4 and not Bt rfs. Had I known when I installed…

I noticed, with the menus something called “Back in Time” but cannot find any documentation for it.

Any advice I will much appreciate.

1 Like

In general using openSUSE and EXT4 partitions, your only options are to use a standard backup utility which can be set to backup by schedule and from where you can do partial or entire restores. It is best to use destinations for the backup that exist on a separate hard disk than the source. External USB hard disks are often good backup targets. Such backup programs that you can install are duplicity and a front end called deja-dup as one possible solution you can install from YaST. I also often do a simple copy of my entire /home/username area to a different partition when dong a new install of openSUSE, which is easy to do. Always make sure to keep a Bootable openSUSE DVD around and I keep a bootable LiveKDE copy as well.

Thank You,

Thank you. Actually, I am already incrementally backing up my /home/username tree to a USB flash memory stick, using rsync.

I do have a USB connected 1TB hard disk on which SuSE is installed. Windows 7 lives on the old interior disk.

What I am after is something that periodically backs up the status of the OS, not the personal data, at that point in time. So that, if something goes wrong with the OS, e.g., after installing some software or other changes, the OS can be restored, by that special utility, to what it was at an earlier date, i.e., undo the changes. The “other OS” actually does that, by default, taking a picture as it ware of the entire OS, to be able to bring it back should that become necessary. The restore, if started takes over, telling you to sit back while it does its thing and restarts the system. It even, at installation time, sets up a partition for that purpose. I am surprised that Linux, in many ways so much more sophisticated and better than Windows, does not have such a facility.

You can rsync non home directories too :slight_smile: It is usually the windows installer which creates restore point in many cases. All software updates don’t trigger creation of restore points. Then again i might be wrong :slight_smile:

Backing up /etc and a couple of other directories that I can’t think of off hand will give you something to revert to in the system configuration, if that’s what you mean by “status.” Configuring zypp to allow multiple kernel versions is a safeguard against failures in a kernel update.

This is default setting on openSUSE 12.3

@pe1800:

All you ask for is more or less exactly what btrfs and snapper was
introduced for. Now many people here (including myself) consider btrfs
still a bit experimental compared to other file systems.
I played a bit with it and noticed that such automatic snapshot feature
when installing software is enabled by default.
If I were you I would set up a virtual machine with openSUSE 12.3 and
btrfs as the main file system and make myself familiar with it. I would
also do a test in a virtual machine looking at the feature which
converts an existing ext4 file system into btrfs (I forgot its name, you
need to google).


PC: oS 12.3 x86_64 | i7-2600@3.40GHz | 16GB | KDE 4.10.0 | GTX 650 Ti
ThinkPad E320: oS 12.3 x86_64 | i3@2.30GHz | 8GB | KDE 4.10.0 | HD 3000
HannsBook: oS 12.3 x86_64 | SU4100@1.3GHz | 2GB | KDE 4.10.0 | GMA4500

Before I forget, myself I am not using btrfs. I use mainly lvm2 + xfs
and lvm2 + ext4 on my machines.
lvm has snapshot capabilities, it is not as convenient as the automatic
btrfs snapshots and the snapper tool though its advantage is it is very
mature and exists for a long time, this means if something goes wrong
with lvm you will find a lot of expertise out there, if something goes
wrong with the new kid on the block btrfs you are more on your own
because it is more or less new to everyone who uses it.


PC: oS 12.3 x86_64 | i7-2600@3.40GHz | 16GB | KDE 4.10.0 | GTX 650 Ti
ThinkPad E320: oS 12.3 x86_64 | i3@2.30GHz | 8GB | KDE 4.10.0 | HD 3000
HannsBook: oS 12.3 x86_64 | SU4100@1.3GHz | 2GB | KDE 4.10.0 | GMA4500

On 2013-04-21 04:06, pe1800 wrote:
>
> Thank you. Actually, I am already incrementally backing up my
> /home/username tree to a USB flash memory stick, using rsync.

Don’t rely on flash sticks, they can fail in an instant.

> What I am after is something that periodically backs up the status of
> the OS, not the personal data, at that point in time. So that, if
> something goes wrong with the OS, e.g., after installing some software
> or other changes, the OS can be restored, by that special utility, to
> what it was at an earlier date, i.e., undo the changes. The “other OS”
> actually does that, by default, taking a picture as it ware of the
> entire OS, to be able to bring it back should that become necessary.

I’m not sure that picture is of the entire system. You can not undo that
easily libraries that were updated, or programs that were replaced,
because that can take hundreds of megabytes of disk space. What it does,
I understand, is restore the registry.

As said, in Linux you have snapshots if you use btfrs. You can backup
the entire system, or just /etc and perhaps somethings in /var.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 12.1 x86_64 “Asparagus” at Telcontar)

An alternative to BTRFS is ZFS which also supports snapshots natively, which is the standard filesystem with a long history for Solaris but not without its own current unknowns. A year ago, Linux implementation worked reliably only using FUSE which meant a performance hit. Very recently, LKM were built and is now available so it should work as reliably and perform like any other fs. I’ve only recently started looking at this, there are hardly any Internet hits which might be because no one has found any problems or it’s so new hardly anyone is using it.

If you’re interested in merely recovering individual files and are using EXT4, I’d recommend giis-ext4 because pre-installed, it will constantly update a running journal/database in the background of any file changes in protected directories. Current bug is that it only works on your boot disk, but for that it works well.

TSU