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Complete Backup and Retrieval

Posted on 2009-02-12
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I am looking for advice on what to make a backup of, before handing out my computer for repair work and how to do that for my Linux SUSE 10.1 installation and programs running thereon.
While I am saving all my daily work on a separate partition and backing it up daily, I never make complete backups of things like my e-mail program Evolution and all the e-mails stored, my internet settings etc. How do I best go about this? And now can I test whether I may retrieve it?
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Question by:doitso
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torimar earned 1000 total points
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If you only wanted to backup your Evolution emails (which are contained in your /home/username folder like all your other personal documents and settings) you could use rsync or tar to copy that complete folder to an external medium:

rsync -a /home/_username_ /mnt/_backup_medium  or:

tar -cvpzf /mnt/_backup_medium/backup.tgz /home/_username

(Here's more information on the 'rsync' command for backup purposes: http://tinyurl.com/c8jpft)

However, if anything went terribly wrong during repair, this method would leave you with the tiresome task to reinstall Suse and reconfigure most hardware settings before restoring the /home directory and hoping all will work out well.

That's why I'd suggest you make a complete system backup with PartImage (http://www.partimage.org/Main_Page) if by any means possible.

You will need:
- an external HD big enough to hold a compressed image of your internal HD
- the "Parted Magic" Live CD (http://partedmagic.com), because it contains PartImage and is simply the best rescue/maintenance Live CD around

Boot off Parted Magic, make sure the backup medium is mounted and the HDD to be backed up is not, then start 'Partition Image' from the menu.
Consult the PartImage documentation if in doubt.

Very cautious people (like myself) would even combine both methods: the full backup for red alert emergencies, and the home folder backup for just the personal files and settings.
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by:mymymac
mymymac earned 1000 total points
ID: 24212326
If you are looking for bare metal restore if the hard disk is fail, try :
http://www.mondorescue.org/

it will backup to CD, external hdd and other devices. What it does is backup your whole system and make a bootable cd out of you current linux. You will need the first disk for restoration.
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