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Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:44 pm
by vbqyf
Am new. Now starting to convert our 5 computers running Windows 7 Pro to Linux. On the first, am running 19.2 Cinnamon. We have 2 external USB Hard Drives . We have been using for full weekly backups on Windows systems. Put tthem offsite in bank safety deposit boxes. What is needed to do to use them in Linux? Format to ext 4? Use as is? Something else?
Thanks.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:30 am
by deck_luck
I guess you are planning to use them as external storage devices for your Linux backups. If so I would use Linux native file systems like ext4. Do you know how to partition the disks and use the mkfs.ext4 command to make a new ext4 file system?

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:42 am
by Garvan
I prefer to use Fat32 or ntfs formatted external hard disks so I can access the files from a Windows Computer. My ntfs backup disk shows up as FUSE in Linux. Fat32 has limits on maximum file size and maximum partition size, so the FUSE disk is more flexible.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:11 pm
by lsemmens
All of the above have merit. Personally, I use EXT4 formatted drives and then copy the critical stuff across, but there are automated backup solutions that can be used. Especially if the data is "mission critical".

The only reason that you would want to use FAT or NTFS is if you might need to access that data from a windwoes based system.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:16 pm
by jglen490
I have 4 external hard drives in USB enclosures that are used for rotating backups. Each of them is formatted to ext4, with one partition on each. None are bootable, since each is plugged in on a schedule, receive a backup, and then unmounted and stored off-line.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:24 am
by rtaft
I would NOT use ext4 for a backup USB drive, at least not without reconfiguring it. You lose so much space to overhead that you don't need on a backup drive. By default its a 5% loss, on an 8TB drive you lose 372.5 GB. There is a way to tune that space down to 1% , but its still 74.5GB.

If you are using it on Linux only XFS is a good choice for a storage drive.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:42 am
by vbqyf
Thank you for all the responses.

1. We do know how to format to Ext 4. Not sure why I would want to partition the drive as I would use it only for the Linux FULL backups. (We do have 2 drives we use for our main windows system for Full backups.). Reformatted a USB flash drive to Ext 4 which we use for snapshots.

For daily file backups ONLY for files that have changed or are new we wrote a DOS batch file to run them. Do that manually each day. We save them on a 3rd internal hard drive used only for that. An automated program would be nice for the Linux.

2. Do not need to have backups available to Windows systems. Eventually will convert all our OS's to Mint. Now working with first conversion.

3. Re "automated backup solutions" - any suggestions?

Again, I really appreciate the responses.
M.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:45 am
by rtaft
rsync only copies files that have changed, however it's default usage does not delete files that have been deleted on the source. I typically use
rsync -ah --progress src/ dest/

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:51 am
by athi
3. Re "automated backup solutions" - any suggestions?
You can use rsync which is CLI only or there are a lot of GUI frontend to rsync. I use luckyBackup which is available in the Package Manager.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:35 pm
by AndyMH
If you want command line write your own script to run rsync, it's how I used to do my file backups in mint when I first started.

If you want a GUI interface then timeshift and backintime. timeshift for the system, backintime for your data (/home). Can be automated - mine are set to auto backup daily to an internal removable HDD. Timeshift insists on an ext4 partition as the destination, backintime doesn't care and will work with fat or ntfs.

Above are file level backup utilities and are only two of many. Most linux GUI backup utilities are front ends for rsync.

If you want image backup, then clonezilla (clunky interface) or redo (simple but obsolete) are probably the most common. With both, download iso, burn to usb stick and boot from it. Another would be macrium reflect (windows based, not free but there is a limited free version), install in windows create bootable USB stick. One other I've come across is veeam, linux based, not free but free version, command line (but uses ncurses so slightly better user interface than clonezilla). Veeam is the only one I've found that I think will image backup a live filesystem (you install in mint and don't need a separate bootable USB stick).

Re: Using External USB Hard Drives

Posted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:43 pm
by br1anstorm
Wise words from AndyMH, whose comments set out clearly the need to think about what you are backing up, and why.

My own suggestion on this (as a relative newbie, still, after 5 years, to Linux, and a Windows XP and 7 user before that) is that it is simpler and easier to use software with a straightforward GUI to do backups, rather than having to devise or apply command-line code. Also very sensible - for obvious reasons - to save backups on to external drives.

So I endorse the recommendation to use Timeshift to back up your system (think of it like 'system restore' in Windows). It needs an ext4 formatted drive or partition. And beware: don't programme too many, or too frequent, snapshots - you'd be surprised how quickly they fill up a drive!

To backup your personal files/docs/photos/whatever, there are several options, as AndyMH has noted. BackInTime and DejaDup both seem to do the job. How you plan the backup depends on what you want to save/protect and why: safeguarding versions of a work-in-progress may require more frequent backups than, say, copying and saving precious photos or music collections.

And as the fail-safe protection against total disaster, a disk image made using Clonezilla or ReDo is always comforting....

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:43 am
by AndyMH
I use both timeshift and backintime auto running daily to internal HDDs (sat in the ultrabay on my laptops in place of the DVD drive, in a removable caddy in my desktop). Why internal? SATA interface = faster than usb. I have two profiles set up in backintime, main one = everything in /home/me, and another running weekly for my VMs (win7 & XP) = /home/me/VirtualBox VMs. VMs are multi GB and don't change that much.

Periodically I take partition images to an external usb HDD using redo. Redo is still available on sourceforge, but may not work with newer hardware and some users have reported problems getting it to boot from usb. It was last updated in 2012 and is abandonware. It is written in perl and is a front end for partclone. Because there is no current simple GUI based linux image utility I've been developing one to replace redo, not finished yet.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:18 am
by catweazel
vbqyf wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:44 pm
What is needed to do to use them in Linux?
Just plug them in. Linux can read and write Windwoes format disks.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:11 am
by AZgl1500
catweazel wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:18 am
vbqyf wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:44 pm
What is needed to do to use them in Linux?
Just plug them in. Linux can read and write Windwoes format disks.
I totally agree, leave them as they are.
this will allow you access to the files you already have stored on the USB drives.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:32 am
by vbqyf
Thanks. Will try. I appreciate it. M.

SOLVED Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:15 am
by vbqyf
Thanks to all. I truly appreciate the help. It will be a little while before I actually try to set up and run daily backups. If I have problems then, will post again. Marking it SOLVED now.
M.

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:44 am
by Netherprovinc3
athi wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:51 am
3. Re "automated backup solutions" - any suggestions?
I use luckyBackup which is available in the Package Manager.
I read that luckybackup is not developed anymore. Not sure how true that is; github shows activity 4 months ago.
Edit: Source: https://askubuntu.com/questions/2596/co ... ckup-tools

Re: Using Extrenal USB Hard Drives

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:08 am
by athi
Netherprovinc3 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:44 am
athi wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 11:51 am
3. Re "automated backup solutions" - any suggestions?
I use luckyBackup which is available in the Package Manager.
I read that luckybackup is not developed anymore. Not sure how true that is; github shows activity 4 months ago.
Just checked and development is frozen. Thank you for pointing this out, might be time to explore other backup utilities.