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There are a variety of ways to backup and restore in Linux using "standard" system commands like tar, cp, and others and proprietary / specialized / nonstandard backup and restore tools.

See AboutThesePages.



Standard System Commands

I'm not familiar with all of these, so some of them might not be useful for backup:

  • an
  • amanda
  • cp
  • cpio
  • dd (as in dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb)
  • ktape
  • tar

Proprietary / Specialized / Nonstandard

  • Arkeia -- mentioned / recommended by Alan Dail on the Bltnewuser@basiclinuxPLEASENOSPAM.net list, not (entirely) free, but apparently you can get a free license for one server and two clients. Missed Alan's original post, but, IIRC, there was no link mentioned.
  • BRU and CRU (Free copy for LUGs)
  • drakbackup (from Mandrake) -- from Derek Jennings on 29 May 2002: "Drakbackup makes an incremental backup to ftp, or a Directory (local or NFS) at present. It does not backup to CD, and it only backs up home directories, the /etc directory and other directories you specify. The thinking there is you can restore the other folders by installing again from your install CD's so you only need to backup the 'volatile' data. Drakbackup can be run from the GUI or the terminal, although I have not been able to get it to run in a cron job yet."
  • http://rfhs8012.fh-regensburg.de/~feyrer/g4u/ -- open source (IIUC) image and restore tool
  • Mondo -- from Derek Jennings on 29 May 2002: "Well in the case of Mondo the first CD in the set it creates is a bootable CD with its own mini Linux distro on it. You just boot from that CD and then you can restore partions,directories or the entire installation. Trouble with Mondo is it needs 7 CD's for my system so I cannot be bothered running it very often."
  • Partition Image
  • Tivoli (?is that software or hardware or both?)

Rsync Backup

Easy Automated Snapshot-Style Backups with Linux and Rsync; Mike Rubel -- I've put this under it's own heading for several reasons:
  • it seems like an excellent approach IIUC
  • I think the term "rsync backup" is sometimes used in a misleading way, which I try to clarify

Aside: The article required horizontal scrolling for each line on my 800x600 display, so Mike sent me a copy of the original html file. For my reference, I have it stored (local access only) on System5.

To understand Mike's approach, read the discussion at the link listed above. (I "read" it once, but need to read it.)

IIUC, the benefits of Mike's approach include:

  • a backup set in which the most recent backup set is complete, and older backup sets are "incremental"
  • a set of backups use a fairly small amount of space -- on the order of 2X the size of the backup "target"
  • the resulting backups are (can be) easily accessible to an "ordinary" user -- a user can locate the backup copy for a specific file and restore it with ordinary tools like find and cp

Mike's idea is great, but, IIUC, it is not the only way to use rsync to do backups. I think the key to Mike's idea is as much the use of hard links as it is rsync -- IIUC, Mike's idea could be accomplished without rsync, and rsync could be used to create backup sets of the more traditional type.


See ResourceRecommendations


  • How to make a System Restore CD-ROM -- this looks like a useful short article (read but not tried) on making a bootable CD-Rom backup of your system and then restoring or cloning your system from it. Although there is reference to a menu at one point, it is not clear to me that this will handle a system that requires more than one CD for backup (but I can't imagine that it wouldn't -- how many systems can be backed up on a single CD anymore?)

Recommended for Specific Needs

Recommended by Others

No Recommendation

  • Backing up to CDs Made Simple: Version 1.1; published by LinuxOrbit.com; January 15. 2002; by David LeCount -- IIUC, ok process, but has the disadvantage of needing hard drive space to store the backup before burning to CD. It uses tar, requires a shutdown of the system, and backs up the entire system. There must be better ways.

Not Recommended


  • RandyKramer - 30 Apr 2002
  • <If you edit this page, add your name here, move this to the next line>

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Topic revision: r13 - 2003-01-30 - RandyKramer
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