How To Use rsync Command To Backup Directory Under Linux

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Q. How do I use rsync command to back up a home directory under Linux operating system?

A. rsync command easily backup your home directory to local secondary hard disk or remote server using ssh protocol. rsync is a software application for Unix systems which synchronizes files and directories from one location to another while minimizing data transfer using delta encoding when appropriate.

Task: Backup /home/tom to /mnt/usbpen

Assuming that USB pen or external USB hard disk is mounted at /mnt/usbpen, enter the following command to backup (sync) new files and changes to existing files but don’t remove files in backup directory:
$ rsync -au /home/tom /mnt/usbpen
To delete files in backup directory that no longer exist in directory being backed up, enter:
$ rsync -au --delete /home/tom /mnt/usbpen

See our previous article about using rsync for transferring files under Linux or UNIX from local or remote network computer.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

8 comment

  1. thanks for this article.
    i wrote a free rsync script to backup a whole system:
    http://blog.pointsoftware.ch/index.php/howto-local-and-remote-snapshot-backup-using-rsync-with-hard-links/

    It uses the same idea of file deduplication thanks to hard-links, uses also MD5 integrity signature, ‘chattr’ protection, filter rules, disk quota, retention policy with exponential distribution (backups rotation while saving more recent backups than older, so with 10 backups can can keep one year of daily backups).

    it can be used locally on the servers or per network on a central remote backup server for DRP and datacenter replication using only little network bandwidth and transport encryption tunnel.

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