[Wolves] backing up methods

John Rose john.aaron.rose at googlemail.com
Fri May 8 19:38:12 UTC 2009

I've now used Simple Backup to do a full backup manually of User Files (i.e.
default directories in Simple Backup's settings: includes /home).I prefer a
manual backup as I switch off PCs at night.  So I thought I'll do that

I've used Back In Time to create a full backup of /home (including hidden
files). Back In Time will automatically create an incremental backup on next
run. So I'll do that weekly.

The live usb persistent Ubuntu Jaunty (on a usb stick) will boot up and
allows download of partimage package but partimage (when run as root) says
that the laptop's disk partition 1 (which I want to back up) is mounted,
even though there is no /media entry for it! So perhaps the live usb
persistent Ubuntu uses the laptop's hard disk or it's something else?
Interestingly, Partition Editor has an option to unmount the partitions on
the laptop's hard disk but seems to do nothing with it when invoked. Any
ideas? Perhaps a better way to back up the laptop's system is to simply tar
& zip up all directories on the laptop's hard disk (excluding /mnt, /media,
/proc, /sys, /lost+found)?

07894 211434

2009/5/8 John Rose <john.aaron.rose at googlemail.com>

> Kevan,
> I don't really need to format the usb disk as ext3 because I only want to
> use it for 3 reasons: to store films etc on it (which I also have as DVDs),
> to keep monthly backup copies of the full file system (excluding /media
> etc), and to keep backup copies of /home (full monthly & incremental
> occasional). So ext2 is quite sufficient.
> The advantage of FAT32 is that it allowed me to set (in gconf-editor) for
> system/storage/default_options/vfat, gid=users (after putting all my users
> in Group users and adding a line for gdi= in
> /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/10osvendor/20-storage-methods.fdi: this then
> allows me to write to a memory stick and FAT32 formatted usb drive for any
> user irrespective of which user was logged in when the memory stick was
> mounted. Obviously, I could do this using Nautilus.
> When I now use partition editor to partition/format the usb drive as ext2,
> it sets the owner & group as root. This then prevents me (in Nautilus)
> creating directories and copying files to it:. So I have to use the CLI
> (which I'd prefer not to use) to do these tasks with 'su root'. This then
> results in all dirs & files having owner & group as root unless I remember
> to cp -p. If I use SimpleBackup, will it write OK to the usb drive?
> Partimage is a real pain to get going due to it not being able to copy a
> mounted partition. So I tried to run it after booting from a usb stick
> containg Live Ubuntu Jaunty. Partimage wasn't an installed package and
> 'Live' jaunty wouldn't let me download it! So I tried to create persistent
> jaunty on the usb stick using Portable Linux (as per Ubuntu Community
> documentation): that refuses to work: giving out an error about the usb
> stick (see attached file) but it still wrote to the usb stick: so I'll now
> try it - if it fails I should still be able to create a persistent ubuntu
> alter bringing up Live from another usb stickt! Has anybody had success with
> PortableLinux on Jaunty?
> Regards,
> John
> 07894 211434
> 2009/5/8 Adam Sweet <adam at adamsweet.org>
> John Rose wrote:
>> > Kevan,
>> >
>> > I don't intend to use the usb drive with Windows: even if Id id I would
>> > use the extfs plugin on a Windows PC. At first, I formatted the usb
>> > drive as ext3, but I ran into permissions problems re copying files
>> > (using cp) from /home to it. This seemed to be due to gconf-editor
>> > system/storage options. So I reformatted it as FAT32. I'll try again
>> > reformatting it as ext2.
>> Ext3 is Ext2 with added journalling, so that if the power goes out then
>> your machine can work what was happening at the time the power went and
>> roll back to the last consistent state. In general, this will mean
>> losing any files which were partially written at the time of the power
>> out. The permission structure will be the same under ext2 and 3, so you
>> will need to get it right. I never had any problems backing up and
>> restoring files to and from an ext3 USB disk, so you should be fine
>> moving the files around provided they are owned by the same user and
>> group IDs on each device.
>> If your user was the first real user (ie not the root user) added to the
>> system during installation you would be assigned uid and gid 500. If you
>> copy your files to the USB disk, reinstall your machine and this time
>> your own user is the second real user added to system you will end up
>> with uid and groupid 501, at that point you would hit permission
>> problems because the files are owned by the user with uid and gid 500.
>> In a worst case scenario, you should just be able to chown them to which
>> ever user you want using sudo and you should be fine. That said, if
>> something weird is going on with HAL/gvfs then you might get the
>> problems you describe. Not sure how to help you there, but you could
>> statically mount the disk the old fashioned way with mount.
>> FAT32 is horrible and won't preserve any file permissions, not really
>> what you want when restoring your files, use ext2/3 if you can.
>> Ad
>> >
>> > Regards,
>> > John
>> > 07894 211434
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > 2009/5/8 Kevanf1 <kevanf1 at gmail.com <mailto:kevanf1 at gmail.com>>
>> >
>> >     2009/5/8 John Rose <john.aaron.rose at googlemail.com
>> >     <mailto:john.aaron.rose at googlemail.com>>:
>> >     > The disk used on my laptop is approximately 40GB. I want to back
>> >     it up to a
>> >     > usb 1TB drive, formatted as FAT32 (which also contains films as
>> >     they're too
>> >     > big for my laptop's disk). As I understand it, the max file size
>> >     on a FAT32
>> >     > device is 4GB.  I don't see any option in gzip to split large
>> >     resultant gzip
>> >     > files. The best option seems to me to be to use Partimage, which
>> >     allows
>> >     > resultant split files.
>> >     >
>> >     > So my thoughts are:
>> >     > to backup the laptop disk partition (only one partition n the
>> >     disk) to the
>> >     > usb drive monthly, using th split files option,
>> >     > to backup the /home directory to the usb drive monthly and
>> occasional
>> >     > incremental using Simple Backup,
>> >     > possibly to separate the /home directory into a separate
>> partition.
>> >     >
>> >     > Is the above the best way to go?
>> >     >
>> >     > Regards,
>> >     > John
>> >     > 07894 211434
>> >     >
>> >
>> >     Hi John.  Now, I'll state right away I have not used this system
>> that
>> >     I'm about to describe.
>> >
>> >     Are you using FAT32 because you need to use the 1TB drive with
>> >     Windows?  If so, you have another option that will allow bigger file
>> >     sizes than 4gb.  I believe you can use ext2 as the filesystem with a
>> >     plug in for Windows so that it can read it.  I don't know what the
>> >     file size limit is for ext2 but I'm sure it's a lot bigger than 4gb.
>> >     Would this help?  FAT32 is also very wasteful of space so you'd
>> >     utilise that drive far more efficiently.
>> >     --
>> >     ==============================================
>> >
>> >     Kevan Farmer
>> >     Linux user #373362
>> >     Staffordshire
>> >
>> >     _______________________________________________
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>> >
>> >
>> >
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