Author Topic: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics  (Read 523 times)

Offline Sgt_Pepper

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Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« on: November 10, 2020, 10:47:41 am »
Hello to everyone in Peppermint land! I've been using Peppermint 10 respin on an old box since February and have been trying to get in the habit of backing up my data on a regular basis to prevent a potential data disaster.  I'm a bit confused about some of the potential problems/limitations that I may run into and would like to ask some of the more seasoned members of Peppermint land for their advice in terms of backing up data, partitions and restoring images.

I have three separate partitions and my set up is the following:
/ (60 GBs ext 4)
/home (252 GBs ext 4)
swap (8 GBs)

I've been using Deja-dup to backup my entire home partition but haven't tried restoring it or using it on another distro and this the crux of the matter.  Will restoring it work only on my current configuration/system or could I install it on another drive that has a partition of 252 gigs or greater?  Since I backed up my entire home partition and not just data files, would this mess up another system? I want to install Peppermint 11 when it comes out or try out another distro. In general, is it better to just transfer data files and not the entire home partition when moving to a new distro?

I also recall some msg that appeared when Deja-dup was verifying the backup that I should be sure that I can open "dbus/something" because there was some kind of problem but I can't remember the details...

This brings me to my second question of imaging/cloning the root partition. I've read that it's not so easy to just clone the system and install it on a new drive and that everything must match exactly such as the UUID and the partition size and this must be done using a live CD such as Clonezilla. What are your feelings on this? Is it better to just start from scratch with a fresh installation of the system and use the old separate home partition or will I run into problems as I mentioned before with the configuration files... Is it necessary to make an image of the old swap partition too when cloning?

Finally, I'd appreciate any thoughts you might have on using "back in time". Is it safe and reliable? I've read that many people have had negative experiences when using "timeshift" and am curious how back in time compares to it.

Thank you for your patience and any suggestions you might have. :-)

Offline Sgt_Pepper

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2020, 03:33:46 pm »
Well, this is pretty sad but I'm reply to my own thread. ;-)  I tried to make another backup on Deja Dup this evening but it failed.  It seemed to start without a problem and scan files for changes but then abruptly stopped after about five minutes and I got the following message: error creating directory /media/My Passport: Permission denied.

I'm using a WD passport 2TB external drive and have a directory there from the previous backups. I don't schedule weekly backups, nor do I leave the external drive connected all the time.  I do backups when I choose and the external drive was mounted and the backup process seemed to start alright.  Another strange thing is that my WD external drive has disappeared from the file system even though I believe it's still mounted and the light from it is flashing.  I don't know if the usb port is defective or somehow the previous backup got corrupted.  I've tried a few more times to start a new backup but keep getting the same msg as before (error creating directory /media/My Passport: Permission denied).  I'll disconnect it after shutting down my system and check the drive on another usb port tomorrow.

I'd really appreciate any ideas or suggestions someone might have. 


Offline invisible

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2020, 03:42:51 pm »
grsync for backing up data.  The main advantage is that you can then access individual files or folders because there is no compression. The first backup may take a little time, but subsequent backups are incremental and pretty quick.

I would not restore a complete home backup to another Linux system because of conflict of configuration files.
However, I would restore data folders (i.e. Music, Documents etc)

Clonezilla is perfect for creating an image of your system. It does need caution and a bit of practice to become confident in its use.


Offline Sgt_Pepper

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2020, 12:01:36 pm »
Hello invisible and many thanks for your suggestion to use grsync. I can see the advantage of not using compression in order to access individual files and it seems that Deja Dup doesn't save much space when using compression.  I chose Deja Dup initially because I've read good things about it and it's very easy to use.

I connected my WD passport external drive to a different usb port today and was able to make a backup but got the following msg after verification of files at the very end: "could not backup the following files: /home/alan/.dbus and make sure you are able to open them." Are these files "mission critical" to restoring a backup?

I'm still not clear about restoring the entire home partition. Would it work on the same version of Peppermint or is this asking for trouble and would mess up a clean installation?  Should I just restore everything in my home folder from the home partition? In that case, it doesn't seem necessary to backup the entire home partition... I've been in the habit of separating my data from the system since the days of XP and it's saved me and my data more than once but I really don't have experience of restoring an image. I usually end up just reinstalling the system if things get too messed up but this isn't the most elegant way to do things. lol!

As far as using Clonezilla for making an image of your system goes, is it best to use it immediately after installing one's desired distro and all apps or can it be used at any time to take "snapshots" of the system? Maybe "back in time" would be more suited for this purpose?

It'd be great to hear any thoughts and suggestions on these topics. :-)









Offline invisible

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2020, 02:50:45 pm »
I don't think .dbus is mission critical. It may be one of those config files that is re-created when you log in. I don't have .dbus in my user directory.

Backing up a Peppermint user folder and and restoring to another Peppermint would be fine.
However, if you have decided not to use a certain piece of software in your new installation, then there would be little point in restoring the user configuration files of an unused application. e.g. I always use grsync, so I always restore the .grsync file.

Clonezilla can be used anytime - especially after adding multiple software packages.
Also, it would be advisable to make an image before any major update i.e. new kernel or grub or even adding software from an extraneous source (i.e. an unknown ppa or unfamiliar repository).

I have not used Back in Time so I cannot comment from experience.

Clonezilla and grsync suit my needs and give me confidence to be able to experiment outside my comfort zone.

Offline Sgt_Pepper

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2020, 09:05:41 am »
Thanks for those suggestions invisible. Yes, making an image before installing a new kernel, version of grub or major update could be a real lifesaver. 

In my quest for the best backup strategies, I've come across several useful websites that list many different ways to backup/restore/clone partitions. I think they could be useful to other members in the forum and I'd like to share them here (I hope that's ok).

https://www.tecmint.com/linux-system-backup-tools/ (extensive list of 25 backup tools and short summary of each)

https://www.howtogeek.com/110138/how-to-back-up-your-linux-system-with-back-in-time/

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/backup-restore-data-and-files-easily-time-linux/

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/10-easy-ways-restore-linux-system/

https://www.maketecheasier.com/switch-between-linux-distros-without-losing-data/

Have anyone used any of the apps mentioned in these links? If so, which did you find the most reliable and would you recommend to newcomers?

Offline invisible

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2020, 03:34:41 pm »
Of course, it's a good idea to share resources but I will add a caveat.

Be careful with advice that was published many years ago.

Only https://www.tecmint.com/linux-system-backup-tools/ is dated 2020.

Here is another place to find alternative software (I used Clonezilla as the target and Linux as the filter)

https://alternativeto.net/software/clonezilla/?platform=linux

Cheers

Offline Sgt_Pepper

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2020, 10:49:54 am »
I just noticed that the tutorials on using "Back in time" are starting to look a bit long in the tooth but they seem well written and clear.  :)  It's great to see that the application has been around for at least a decade and maybe it has some new functions not mentioned in these two links:

https://www.howtogeek.com/110138/how-to-back-up-your-linux-system-with-back-in-time/  (from 2012)

https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/backup-restore-data-and-files-easily-time-linux/  (from 2010)

I've also used the https://alternativeto.net on a number of occasions and it's pretty cool!

BTW, I came across the following guide on using symbolic links to a data partition on the forum tutorial section and this is a very cool solution to preserve your data when upgrading or changing distros.

https://forum.peppermintos.com/index.php/topic,1835.0.html

It's different than backing up data as has been so far discussed and backing up your data is still a good idea but this solution gets around the potential mess of restoring the entire home partition when changing or upgrading a distro. It's definitely something that I'd like to try the next time I install a new distro.  ;D

Cheers!

Offline spence

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2020, 02:16:05 pm »
This is an excellent and timely reminder @Sgt_Pepper... many of our tutorials on the two boards which mention them may well be outdated. Most certainly will be as our Peppermint 11 releases continue progressing thru their alpha stages.

 ;)

Personally, I keep all of my "can't be lost data" on an external USB drive. Ever since finding Peppermint One, I have followed the advice to reformat and start with completely fresh installations.

 8)
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    with patience all will be revealed...
       Through pain, enlightenment will come.

Offline Sgt_Pepper

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2020, 10:59:55 am »
Hello Spence and everyone else that's reading this.  ;D As cool as the applications Back in Time and the Timeshift sound by creating snapshots of your system before installing major updates or doing some risky experiments (much like restore points in Windows), I'm not sure you can restore a root partition that's truly borked and can no longer boot. It seems that a bootable live image created by Clonezilla or another imaging application is probably needed to rescue such partitions.  It might be easier to just reinstall the system as long as you've got your data backed up elsewhere.  :D

At any rate, the above two mentioned applications seem to designed for backing up your root partition and separate apps such as Deja Dup and others are designed for backing up data.

BTW, this is a nice list of 31 backup tools and rates each one:

https://www.linuxlinks.com/backup/ (from April 2020)

I'm really looking forward to Peppermint 11 and we definitely need to have things backed up.  :D






 

Offline alynur

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2020, 08:04:03 am »
Hi Sgt-Pepper, welcome to Peppermint. Why not have all your Data in a Data partition? That partition may be in a different hard drive if you so choose. You can symlink your home files to it and if anything happened to your operating system, your data won't be affected. You can also symlink other distros to the same Data Partition. Many of us do it that way. Good luck. :)
What was I thinking?

Offline Sgt_Pepper

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2020, 10:52:43 am »
Hi alynur, thank you for warm welcome to the forums. I really appreciate the help and overall vibe that I'm getting from Peppermint land. I feel that it's a good fit for me and that members are really trying to help each other out. :)

Yes, the idea of creating a separate data partition and linking it to the home folder intrigues me. How much space should I devote to the /home partition if all my data is actually stored on a separate data partition?  If one chooses to go that route, is it still recommended to create a separate /home partition or is that pointless?

I'm still a bit confused as to how things would play out if one's /home partition got borked (HD failure is probably more likely and that would most likely take out the root partition too) and I tried to restore it.  It seems to me that one would need both partitions backed up in order for it to work and restore to a new hard drive. From my understanding, trying to restore the home partition to a new distro or even a fresh installation of the distro that one's currently using is going to cause trouble due to missing configuration files...

Any advice or experience in this scenario from more seasoned PMers would be greatly appreciated.  :D



 

 

Offline Slim.Fatz

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2020, 01:41:28 pm »
Hi Sgt_Pepper,

Nothing beats having your data backed up on a separate drive (either internal or external) -- except maybe having it backed up on two or more separate drives!!  :D That way, if your main drive (with your /home and your /data partitions) fails, you still have most of your data (if you back up regularly)  on the separate drive(s).

If you just bork your /home or your root partition that does not mean that the entire drive is worthless! In fact, it is probably just as good as before you messed up the root or /home partitions (e.g. through some error on your part). And then all you need to do is reinstall your OS with a /home and a root partition while leaving the /data partition untouched. Then create your symlinks from the new /home partition to the directories in the old /data partition and you are ready to roll.  8)

Regards,

-- Slim
Respect science, respect nature, respect each other.

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Offline Sgt_Pepper

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2020, 02:44:07 pm »
Hi Slim, nice to see you on the thread I started. ;D  I'm started to get a bit obsessed with backing up data. Maybe I'll actually follow the old 3-2-1 rule sometime soon.  :D

I've been scouring the Peppermint forums recently and have come across some other good guides related to backups, cloning and system restore which hopefully will be useful to others.  ;D

https://forum.peppermintos.com/index.php/topic,8156.0.html (cloning hard drives refresher course from 2019)

https://forum.peppermintos.com/index.php/topic,2673.0.html (basic guide to backup-Grsync GUI for Rsync tool from 2015)

https://forum.peppermintos.com/index.php/topic,3908.0.html (System restore for Peppermint: Timeshift from 2016)

https://forum.peppermintos.com/index.php/topic,9207.0.html (Top 15 Best Cloning software for Linux in 2020)

Cheers!




Online VinDSL

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Re: Deja-dup, cloning and backup basics
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2020, 03:19:20 pm »
Nothing beats having your data backed up on a separate drive (either internal or external) -- except maybe having it backed up on two or more separate drives!!

I was *thinking* it, and you said it, Slim   ;D

POC: True Story (and no backup software involved)

I use small-ish partitions on my installs. The Frankenstein box I'm on, right now, is typical -- Root (20GiB) -- Home (60GiB) on the primary drive (/dev/sda). I also use a large-ish 1TB secondary drive for storage (/dev/sdb).

I really don't care about the primary drive (doesn't hurt to do a fresh install every once-in-awhile), but I backup my secondary drive to a "separate drive", via a Thermaltake BlacX docking station -- using the built-in Peppermint 'Files Manager'. The 1TB secondary drive is where I keep all the important stuff.

That said, my all-important secondary drive started acting janky in August. So, I did a backup to brand-new, exact duplicate. Then, I put the drive back in the anti-static bag and placed it in the closet -- just in case my suspicions were correct. This bought me some time, to play around...

I spent the next 4 months trying to figure out why this storage drive (a 1TB spinner) would 'disappear' a few minutes after a boot -- never to return until the next boot: Bad SATA cable? Bad BIOS? Bad chipset? Bad MOBO? Bad FDISK config? Bad drivers? You know the drill..  ::)

I was doing a diag, earlier this week, and noticed that this secondary drive showed 3-years, 6-months of runtime. it was 'working', but tagged as 'old-age'. Aha! I was so used to the scenario, I had forgotten that this machine is running bots 24/7/365, and has been hammering its drives for years.

I did a power-down, stuck the duplicate 'backup' drive in my Frankenstein box, fired it up, and away it went. Haven't had a problem since. I might also say, this secondary drive contains 246GiB and crucial, irreplaceable data. Only thing I had to do is copy n' paste a few updated files from my primary drive to my new secondary storage drive, in order to freshen it up.

Moral of the story: If I hadn't done a backup to a "separate drive" in August, using the PM 'Files Manager' and Blacx docking station, I would have been up the creek without a paddle. And, it was basically mindless, unlike dealing with neurotic 'backup/restore' software. :))