[xubuntu-users] Rookie question on backups

Peter Flynn peter at silmaril.ie
Thu Jul 6 22:34:45 UTC 2017

On 07/06/2017 03:05 PM, Joao Monteiro wrote:
> I was used to use the command prompt to select which files I wanted
> to backup both from my own as well as from any other user of the same
> machine and/or network.
> In Linux, though, I haven't yet figured how to do such a selective 
> backup 

There are two common commands for this:

tar (originally for Tape ARchives) which is similar to zip,
    making a single file from a specified list of files
    or directories (and can also compress).

rsync (already mentioned) which copies files individually
    but can detect if a file has changed or not, and won't
    copy again if it doesn't need it.

> I won't ask anybody to painfully type the instructions for me... I
> just ask that someone please post a link to "where" can I read and
> learn about how to do it, as I'm sure there's such a way in linux...

the 'man' command will display the manual page, eg
man tar
man rsync

I use grsync, the graphical interface to rsync, but...

> as a "batch-like" manner...

This is a separate question. Once you have worked out the correct
command for what you want to do, you can store it in a utility called
cron and have it run in batch mode at predetermined times. Use the
command 'crontab' to do this; man 5 crontab will explain the format of a
crontab entry.

grsync can export the rsync command it uses, so here's mine: I back up
my home directory to an external USB disk mounted at /media/peter/backup
I exclude all the SVN repositories listed in repos because the repos get
backup up independently; I also exclude a list of directories which have
huge amounts of transient or machine-created metadata which I don't want
taking up time and space.

rsync -r -t -p -o -g -v --progress -l -s \
   --exclude-from=/home/peter/repos \
   --exclude=Downloads/ \
   --exclude=.thunderbird/ \
   --exclude=.cache/ \
   --exclude=.config/ \
   --exclude=.cxoffice/ \
   --exclude=.mozilla/ \
   --exclude=.wine/ \
   --exclude=.thumbnails/ \
   --exclude=.rvm/ \
   /home/peter  /media/peter/backup

The options grsync added for me in the first line can be seen in the man
page for rsync.

> On a slight different note... I have been reading all the recent
> problems from various users... and I'm lost...

You're not the only one.

> Coz I'm running xubuntu xfce on 4 different machines right now - 3
> laptops, 1 custom tower with intel core i7, ATI Radeon, Asus motherboard
> - and I don't have ONE single glitch anywhere....

That's normal. I don't have any at the moment either.

> That said... after every install on each one of them, I go to a page
> that I saved (google "10 things to do after installing xubuntu xfce"), I
> do everything therein suggested/recommended, and voila... no glitches...
> just blissfully beautiful working machines...

Very good recommendation, thank you. Everyone has their own set of

One I would add is: learn about Ctrl-Alt-F1 and Ctrl-Alt-F7. The first
opens a new shell independently of your X server, so you can log in and
unjam or unwedge things that get stuck and lock up X. The second returns
you to your X session.


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