Recommendations for home backup solution

Paul Howarth paul at
Sat Oct 9 09:43:20 UTC 2004

On Sat, 2004-10-09 at 03:01, CB wrote:
> Can anyone suggest approaches for backing up a small home network (2
> linux pcs and a linux/winxp dual-booting laptop). My criteria are:
> * automaticity. It just won't happen unless it does itself once set up.
> I'll probably have to trigger the laptop one manually, but even there
> I'd like user data to be regularly (or even constantly?)  synced with
> backup if possible.
> * use of existing media: I can't buy anything new and expensive, so have
> to be able to back up either to cd's (not likely though: would need a
> stack) or an external usb hard drive. My machines only have a total of
> about 150GB of disk space.
> * ease of setup. Obviously I'll have to spend a bit of time to set it
> up, but I'd really like it not to take me days, and I'm no linux expert.
> Possible things I've glanced at include rsync (at least for user data),
> cpio, tar, backuppc (anyone used it? looks interesting), mondorescue.
> I'm interested in real personal experience: it seems to me that any of
> these tools *could* do what I need but I'd love to hear from someone who
> has really used them with success.

I am using bacula to back up my home network (

It may at first seem like overkill; it can handle Unix and Windows
clients, tape or disk backup volumes, and keeps a database of which
files were backed up on which volumes in which jobs and when that
happened, but this enables you to recover not only your last backed-up
state of your machines, but the state at any point for which you still
have the backup volumes. Understanding how to set it up is rather
daunting at first, and requires a bit of thought about how often you
want to back up things, when you want to do full, differential and
incremental backups etc. for each machine. The end result is worth it
though, you just let it get on with the job and it'll mail you a summary
when it's done.

I'm backing up to hard disk volumes and then archiving them off to DVD
when I've got enough to fit on a DVD.

Paul Howarth <paul at>

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