Using a USB external hard disk for backups with Linux

In this article, I show how I set up a recently purchased USB external hard disk drive as a backup drive for my Linux desktop PC. I’ll delete the default FAT32 partition, create a new partition, make a reiserfs filesystem, and show how to use rsync to backup your important data.

* Why backup with Linux?
* Considerations
o What to backup?
o Backup as root or a normal user?
o Leave backup partition mounted or unmount after each backup?
o What backup software to use?
* Getting the hardware working
* Partition the disk
* Creating a new filesystem
* The mountpoint
* Running the backup (/home)
o Exclude list format
* Running the restore (/home)
* Running the backup (/etc)
* Automating the backup
* Other options

Why backup with Linux?

The question should really be “Why backup with Linux instead of Windows, if I have a dual boot PC?” Personally, I don’t dual boot, so for me the question never arises. However, I can think of a number of reasons why I would use Linux as my OS for running backups.

* Windows cannot read your Linux partitions without third-party addons.
* Conversely, Linux can (natively) read your FAT32 and NTFS partitions.
* It is straightforward to create a backup script which mounts those partitions, backs them up, then unmounts them.
* Backing up to Linux renders any virus-infected files inert.
* Would you leave a Windows PC running overnight, unattended?



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