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Thread: Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

  1. #1
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    Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

    I have a fresh install of Ubuntu 18.04 on a 300GB hdd. I have installed all the programs I want and everything is configured the way I like it.
    If the used space is only 200GB, does that mean I could backup my entire Ubuntu configuration - settings, installed apps, and personal files - to a usb stick that is only 256GB?
    If yes, what app do you prefer for doing that kind of backup?

    Or can I only back up my entire configuration to a destination that is equal or larger than the source?

  2. #2
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    Re: Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

    Be interesting to see how people respond - I think most people tend NOT to backup the whole OS but just your personal data. That is because it only takes @20mins to re install the OS itself. To make this possible , during the install process many install the OS in two separate sections called / and another called /home (e.g. see https://www.howtogeek.com/116742/how...alling-ubuntu/). These separate areas can be on the same physical hard disk (e.g. in a laptop) or even on two different hard disks - doesn't really matter. To backup your config a number of key folders also have to be backed up and we can help with these later. There are products like Clonezilla that can backup the whole disk to an image, allowing you to re-install that image in the event of something going wrong, but as said, many backup specific folders rather than everything (the backup is smaller /smarter and more efficient). At this point it might be worth considering whether you want to backup your entire OS or as I suspect the majority of people do, just backup the important personal data as leave the actual OS alone.
    Last edited by Quarkrad; December 25th, 2019 at 09:40 AM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

    I use systemback to make a complete bootable copy of my installed system - applications, settings, bookmarks, passwords, and personal files.


    Best distro for NEWBIES: Linux Lite


  4. #4
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    Re: Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

    Yes, software used
    Bacula
    Amanda

    Rsync

    Time Vault

    Clonezilla



  5. #5
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    Re: Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

    I do not backup entire system as I can reinstall very quickly.
    I do backup any system settings I change in /etc (mostly grub related), /home & export a list of installed applications into /home, so that is backed up. I also export various system outputs just to document configuration, but those are not required.

    I copy data into another partition, but do not really consider that my backup as changes or history is not preserved. I do have backups of most critical data onto DVDs, onto flash drives & to my other other system in a less than totally organized fashion.

    Better rules:
    Best practice for Backups - theFu
    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2368992
    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread....6#post13757986
    More backup info from 1clue
    https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2377810

    If you install your own system you are the system admin
    Sysadmins: Everything they told you about backup WAS A LIE
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07...ebod_monomyth/
    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/nas/n...-is-not-backup
    For more info on UEFI boot install & repair - Regularly Updated :
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to change to [Solved] when/if answered completely.

  6. #6
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    Re: Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

    I use two backup systems:
    The primitive part is just backing up /home to save my work files.
    For system configuration backup I use Timeshift (rsync-based). Works wonderfully and is very fast. By default, it does not include /root, as this should established with a reinstall. Otherwise all setups are kept and can be reestablished within minutes.
    Timeshift is great when messing around, unsure about what you're doing. You're back to the previous setup very quickly.
    Last edited by ml9104; December 25th, 2019 at 07:31 PM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

    Well, the reason I asked about the system configuration backup is because of what I do after I install from scratch. My machine is not new it is refurbished older hardware, so the main thing I have to do every install is jump thru a bunch of commands and apt stuff and updates just to get my wireless working again. That is where I have needed the most help from you experts! But then I change the petty stuff like screensavers, settings that are all based on preferences, browser settings and bookmarks, installing software like Libre Office, etc.etc.etc. In short I was hoping to have a way to backup/restore the basic OS and apps and settings (not including my personal files, those are the easy part of all this) so I don't have to reinstall and reconfigure all of that stuff from scratch after reinstalling the OS. If I could configure the freshly installed OS and software apps the way I want, without any personal files, and then back that up so that it is restorable, that would be awesome. My personal files can be restored any time from another USB stick, that's the easy part.

    I am especially interested in whether the backup app will balk if the backup medium (256GB usb stick) is smaller than the disk (300GB or 500GB hdd / ssd) on which the OS is installed......assuming the total OS + apps "image" is smaller than 256GB. For example, I've used Clonezilla before and iirc it will clone to a destination that is equal or bigger, but not to one that is smaller. I was hoping to use a usb stick so I could avoid having to open up the tower to mess with hard drives. IOW, have my working system on the internal hdd / ssd, and have my restorable backups on external medium like usb sticks.
    Last edited by soundchaser59; December 26th, 2019 at 08:04 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

    Once again, I've done this several times with Timeshift. It backs up everything except /home and /root by default.

    First, get and save your UUIDs somewhere (sudo blkid)

    Boot new from a DVD/USB, and do a 100% clean format/partition/reinstall.

    Set your partition UUIDs to the previous ones.

    Install Timeshift and restore.

    Your system will be 100% like before, including programs, setups, configurations etc.

    Concerning storage size: Timeshift backups and restores files, not bit-by-bit, so this is not an issue.
    Last edited by ml9104; December 26th, 2019 at 11:05 PM.

  9. #9
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    Re: Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

    Quote Originally Posted by ml9104 View Post
    Once again, I've done this several times with Timeshift. It backs up everything except /home and /root by default.

    First, get and save your UUIDs somewhere (sudo blkid)

    Boot new from a DVD/USB, and do a 100% clean format/partition/reinstall.

    Set your partition UUIDs to the previous ones.

    Install Timeshift and restore.

    Your system will be 100% like before, including programs, setups, configurations etc.

    Concerning storage size: Timeshift backups and restores files, not bit-by-bit, so this is not an issue.
    Ok, sorry I didn't fully grasp the meaning of your original post when you told me about Timeshift. That sounds like exactly the kind of "backup and recovery" I am aiming for. I will try it, assuming I can figure out exactly the steps to follow. I will be considering myself a Linux rookie for quite some time. I have background in Windows and SQL programming, but nothing dazzling, and I think of myself as more of a hack who gets things to work rather than a real professional programmer. It is only by divine grace that I manage to earn a paycheck doing it.

  10. #10
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    Re: Can I Backup Entire Configuration To USB Stick? Does Size Matter?

    I hope someone can explain how to set up timeshift to save all the pkgs and configs and no personal files. I tried it and found it quite complicated to set up the options. I use grsync to backup weekly all my files and certain settings but always end up have to reinstall several programs such as google earth, chrome, etc that aren't in the regular repositories.Thank you

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