[ubuntu-uk] Using Rsync to make incremental backups

Paul Tansom paul at aptanet.com
Sat Nov 24 02:23:25 GMT 2007

** Rob Beard <rob at esdelle.co.uk> [2007-11-23 21:04]:
> I'm hoping someone could help me with something I'm trying to achieve 
> with regards to backing up a friend's server to an external hard drive.
> Basically what he wants is to be able to run a nightly backup from his 
> server to a USB FAT32 formatted external hard drive.
> However, what he wants is only any files that have changed to be copied 
> over, and these files to be copied over into a new directory on the drive.
> I've been looking into rsync to do this.  I've managed to do an initial 
> copy of his files from his server to the drive and then I've tried to 
> add some files to the server and then run rsync using the --backup-dir 
> switch which I've been pointing to the existing data on the USB drive.
> I can't seem to get it to copy only the differences though.
> I was wondering if anyone knew how to achieve this, or is it not 
> possible with a FAT32 formatted drive (which doesn't support hard links 
> as far as I know)?
> To be honest I think it would be much easier to just copy the full 
> directory every night.
** end quote [Rob Beard]

I thought that was exactly what rsync did, just copy the changed files.
When I use it I get a report on the 'speedup' as a result of only
copying the changed file once it has finished. This is from an rsync to
upload web content to my web server over ssh using:

rsync -av /path/to/local/dir remote.server.com:/path/to/remote/dir

If it is for backup and you want to keep a record of changed files, i.e.
keep copies of the files as they were before the change as a historical
backup as well you may like to take a look at rdiff-backup:


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