Setting up a backup/restore system

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Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby Steve_C on Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:17 pm

I'm a Linux newbie and I was wondering if I could get some help setting up and using simple backup for my Linux system at work. I'm running Linux Mint Daryna on a Dell Optiplex GX270 in a windows environment. I have installed simple backup using synaptic, configured the backups to run, and as far as I can tell the backups have been successful.

When I first configured simple backup, I accepted the defaults without making any changes. I realized later that each time my backup ran it was backing up a previous backup. Very soon I was out of disk space. I cleaned up some space and changed the configuration to exclude the backups.

Shortly after that I found out that I was causing a network issue by trying to attach to systems in my /network folder. Each time it tried a different connection it generated an access denied error. Well I wasn't trying to backup those systems anyway so I excluded my /network folder from the configuration and that problem was resolved.

At this time I realized that if my hard drive crashed all my backups were located on the same drive as my files so I attempted to transfer the backup files somewhere else. I found that the backup folder in /var had permissions set as root and while I could copy the files somewhere else I couldn't delete them. Also, I didn't really want to have to remember to copy, change file permissions of the files, and then delete the ones I had just copied. This is what the computer is for!

In file manager I had a bookmark connecting to a windows share on another computer. When I tried changing my backup location to my bookmark it was missing and I didn't know how to connect. I thought about trying to use the remote directory SSH or FTP location but wasn't sure how to set it up plus my network password wasn't encrypted so I nixed that idea.

What I'm trying to find out is how to setup my backups to run storing the backup files preferably on a windows share on another computer that will delete files older than 30 days and reuse the free available space. If changing the location to another computer isn't possible with simple backup then I would like to know the best way to backup the files to the current drive and maybe run a cron job that would copy and delete the files to another computer.

I specifically need help with the proper file permissions to make this task easy to use. Please remember that I'm a newbie and I need specific instructions on how to do things. I'd rather have something spelled out that I already knew how to do then not know how to follow someone's instructions.

Should I have to do a full restore would I reinstall Daryna, install simple backup, and then try to do a restore? What would I select to be restored?
I wasn't sure if I should post this in the newbie area or under software so forgive me if it should have gone elsewhere. Thanks for any help any one can give. I find these forums really helpful to a newbie and some day maybe I'll know enough to help someone else out.
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Re: Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby muskratmx on Tue Mar 11, 2008 2:46 pm

I'm running Linux Mint Daryna on a Dell Optiplex GX270 in a windows environment.


I'm not sure what you mean "windows environment", if this means that your using Mint in a virtual machine, then most virtual machines have some method of taking snapshots. Much like MSwindows retore stettings. If "windows environment" means your running a GUI, and dual booting then that's different.

Myself I don't worry about backing up a system like Mint, because for me it installs and everything just works. It only takes about 20 minutes to get a freash install. Where as doing a full systems backup would consume much more time then that. If you have to do a lot of work to get your hardware working then I suppose a full systems backup would pay off then.

But ether way rsync is the king of network backups for all Unix type systems. Very well documented and lots of tutorials out there in cyber space. I use it, but not over a network so I couldn't spell out the commands for you.
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Re: Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby MagnusB on Tue Mar 11, 2008 5:53 pm

You could read yourself up on dd.
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Re: Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby Steve_C on Wed Mar 12, 2008 2:12 pm

Thanks for replying. By a windows environment I meant most of all the computers on the network are running windows. On the machine I'm trying to do the backup I have a dual boot setup between Linux and XP. I'm only interested in backing up the linux portion. I mentioned the environment because of trying to copy my backup files to a computer that is running only windows. It has an external drive that we share out and store files.

Other than trying to copy the backup files across the network or point my backup location directly to the external drive I mentioned I'm not trying to backup or restore another client system on the network.

I will read up on dd as someone mentioned.

If anyone has more detailed help I'd appreciate it.

Thanks
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Re: Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby proxima_centauri on Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:20 pm

A program called Remastersys will give the option to back up your system completely, and you can burn that and use it as a LiveCD/install. You can install Darnya with all of your files included at the time you made the backup.
Cheers.
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Re: Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby muskratmx on Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:41 pm

rsync works very well over networks such as you speak of. It's designed for that, although I never have used it over a network. Not sure if "dd" does networking backup, I'm sure you can use dd on a network, but if it's designed for it or not I'm not sure.

But like I mentioned before, unless you have some very spicial hardware and configurations, There is really no need of a complete systems backup. All you really need it /home/users directory.
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Re: Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby Steve_C on Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:23 pm

I do appreciate the info everyone has given but I'm going to risk being a pain in the a**. I'm really not trying to be nor am I trying to make anyone mad. This is a problem newbies have with posting questions, sometimes the answers are fantastic and sometimes they really don't help a lot. Please read all of my reply so maybe you can understand my frustrations.

As my first reply indicated I'm trying to use simple backup to backup my files and store them on a hard drive on another computer connected to our network in one or two steps. Ideally the files would be backed up where I want them to go or second best, moved to the correct location by some other means.

So far it's been suggested to try dd, rsync, Remastersys, or don't bother with backing up because it's so easy to redo your system. No mention has been made to simple backup so I'm at a loss to what to do or change. Now I realize that no one may have any experience using simple backup so maybe one of these other methods might work. I'm going to try rsync and Remastersys but I suspect some of the issues I mentioned previously will carry over to them as well. Like, I still don't know what to do about the file permissions problem I mentioned. If rsync or Remastersys creates the folder/files as root then I have the same problem. I'd like to know what to do about it in detail if possible.

I know, you think I'm lazy and don't want to dig for myself. Well, I have read some about file permissions and while I have managed to change a folder's permission and remove files that were owned by root I doubt I'm doing it the best way. That's why I'd like a little detail.

One of the other issues was changing the location of the backup to store the files on the other computers hard drive. Unless it shows up as an option I'll still not know how to point it there. Since it requires a logon and password, how do I get it to allow the files to be created on the other computer and keep my password secure?

In case I need to run a cron job after the backup I haven't learned any more about setting it up. I looked up cron and get an idea of the basics but then you still have the network thing. No one mentioned cron.

I asked if I had to do a full restore would I reinstall Daryna, install simple backup (or whatever I end up with) and then try to do a restore? I still don't know what to do. It was suggested that all I needed was the users home directory? Does that mean just copy that somewhere and then if I have to restore, copy it back over the newly created user's home directory? I had previously had a problem with my system which prompted me into looking at backing it up. I had copied my home directory somewhere and after re-installing copied my home directory back on the new installation. Some of my programs reappeared, some didn't. Some settings were kept, some wasn't. It would be nice to know just what order I should do things if I had to restore to get my system back to the way it was without reinstalling a bunch of programs and then trying to reconfigure settings.
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Re: Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby muskratmx on Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:48 pm

I'm sorry, I didn't realize, that you wanted specific info on a package called "simple backup". I assume that's a linux mint addon package! I can't help you with that.

As for 'dd' and 'rsync' those are unix packages, what you learn there will apply to any distro you choose to use. Remaster and simple backup are Mint only I believe.

to backup my files and store them on a hard drive on another computer connected to our network in one or two steps


Backing up your files, again, you haven't defined "my files". That term backup can mean a lot of different things to different people.

One person "my files" would mean, just files he created such as .pdf, .doc, .txt, .html, etc.
Another person "my files" would mean all the above plus all the systems config files he's made changes to.
Yet another it would mean all the above two plus any special work he's done install propiorty drives to get his exotic hardware working, and any added on packages he's installed.

I personally just use hardware that plays nice with Linux, after using linux for some number of years, I've pruned my hardware, gutting any hardware that makes installations a problem. So for me a backup of my files is just /home/user directory only. Which contains all the configuration files for my email, webbrowser, desktop, and what ever else. It also contains my data, .pdf, .jpg, .html, and what ever else.

So rysnc works fine for my needs, it also works across all my distros, so as I don't have to relearn a method for each new distro I use. Like I said before I only use it for external HD backup. But it will work across a network, I've just never done it.

No one mentioned cron.

In your learning of rsync, they would have steered you toward cron, so that's why I didn't mention it. I don't use cron myself. But one can, it's a personal choice.

I asked if I had to do a full restore would I reinstall Daryna, install simple backup (or whatever I end up with) and then try to do a restore? I still don't know what to do. It was suggested that all I needed was the users home directory? Does that mean just copy that somewhere and then if I have to restore, copy it back over the newly created user's home directory?


There again, you haven't stated what exactly you want backed up and restored. I did a full install of Linux mint, doing a systems upgraded, jumping two versions newer at the same time. All I used was /home/user. And my system was up and running with all my desktop settings in less than 20 min. But that's me and my system, which doesn't require any configurations special to work properly.

Some of my programs reappeared, some didn't. Some settings were kept, some wasn't. It would be nice to know just what order I should do things if I had to restore to get my system back to the way it was without reinstalling a bunch of programs and then trying to reconfigure settings.


There is an old, saying "keep notes". I'm not much of a note keeper, but since using linux I've learned to keep note. In you statement "my programs", do you mean the programs you normally use? I use MC all the time in about 90 percent of the distros MC isn't there. So I have to install it. So now I just make a list of packages I need installed and after afresh install I run "apt-get install mc gftp sword" you can list as many packages in one apt-get as you wish, just put a space in between. (there is three in my example)

reconfigure settings= which settings? Yours? or System wide, (roots)?
All your settings are in /home/user, System wide are all over the place.

With rsync, you might have to be root, but you can instruct rsync to make a copy preserving the permissions, which will preserve your ownership. And you will be able to access the archive directly like a copy. it's not a specialt compressed archive file format.

Here's a link for using rsync over a network with cron. http://troy.jdmz.net/rsync/

Backups are a strange subject to get help on, because of the vast differences of oppion on what a backup is, and the vast differences of hardware involved. All we can do is sudjest and point. You have to tayor your backup to fit your needs. There has been hundreds of flame wars over this subject much the same as firewalls, over the years.
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Re: Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby jeremiah2329 on Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:09 pm

If I could pop in on SteveC's thread for a moment - I'd like to thank Muskratmx for taking the time to give such a thorough answer. While I hope it helps Steve, I know I learned a ton about back up and it will definitely help me in setting up my systems and keeping them properly backed up.
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Re: Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby Steve_C on Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:47 pm

First of all I'd like to thank muskratmx for his lengthy reply and help in explaining things. I also appreciate him taking the time to respond instead of telling me to go soak my head or something worse :) I was also glad that his explanation helped jeremiah2329 learn a lot.

I would have responded sooner but unfortunately work got in the way. I just don't understand why they want me to work and not pay me for playing around with linux..... go figure :))

I'm not sure if simplebackup is a linux mint addon package or not. I did have to install it if that's what you mean but I would think it would work with other distros as well.

After mentioning dd and rsync I looked at them briefly. dd seemed way to complicated/intimidating or whatever. Rsync I had actually looked at some time ago and when I had asked someone about it they had steered me away from it. I'll check out the link you sent and give it another try and maybe look into remaster before deciding.

I'm sure you're right in that what one person means as backing up my files would mean something different to another. I should have been more specific. What I had in mind was backing up everything so that if my hard disk crashed and I had to replace it I'd be able to replace the drive, install the same version of Linux Mint that I had been using from a LiveCD and then perform a restore that would put everything back just like it was prior to the crash or at least since the last time I backed up. So I want to be able to:
restore my documents, pdf, odt, jpg, txt, etc,
not have to reinstall all the programs I had loaded, including any settings where I configured something like my backup configuration for example
restore bookmarks
etc.

I would be interested in hearing what hardware you use that plays nice with Linux.

You said all you use/backup is home/user. So I'm assuming this means that you just copy your home/user data over any reinstallations you might need, is that correct?

I am going to try and keep better notes. Some of the things I've learned I had put in tomboy notes but if I couldn't access those files they wouldn't help much. Here comes paper and pencil!

I know there are probably a lot of choices and everyone has their own opinion as to what's the best and picks what works for them. I don't understand the flame wars either.

Thanks again for all your help.
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Re: Setting up a backup/restore system

Postby muskratmx on Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:02 am

Ok if that's what kind of backup you want, then you really want a clone. That,s what dd does, except dd also copies all the empty blocks as well, which is undesirable to me. I just located another package, which I haven't tried yet, but aim to give it a ride. It looks to be just what you ordered.

Partition Image, There is two Live CDs that I know of which contain this package, one is Clonezilla http://www.tectonic.co.za/?p=2291 , the other is SystemRescueCd, http://www.sysresccd.org/Main_Page . Ether one of which will do what you want.

I would be interested in hearing what hardware you use that plays nice with Linux.


I have a number of desktops, most of which I've built my self using only parts that don't give me grief installing linux. It's not 100% but I have lessened the pain of installing and configuring hardware that doesn't play nice with my choose of OS. It took some time to weed out all the funcky parts but it was worth it to me.

Now if and when I buy new/used hardware I always check it out frist and see if it plays nice first. By doing google searches and looking on forums for siad item. Printers are easy, theres a database on printers at linuxprinting.org, also laptops there is linux-laptop.net.

You said all you use/backup is home/user. So I'm assuming this means that you just copy your home/user data over any reinstallations you might need, is that correct?


Yes, I make a backup copy of /home/user and save it off disk in case of HD failer. But for just a freash install, I always have /home as a seperate partition, so my new install just picks up the user directory and it's all systems go.

I am going to try and keep better notes. Some of the things I've learned I had put in tomboy notes but if I couldn't access those files they wouldn't help much. Here comes paper and pencil!


I keep some notes on programs such as tomboy, but I also have a file folder with info on each machine.
The frist page has my partitions an what I'm using them for, then each distro install has a page, making notes of what I had to do to get it running. And a list of package I required to install after the distro install. How intensive of notes you keep depends on how weak your internal CPU is, (brain) in my case it's rather weak. :oops:
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