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Say I back up the / partition with cpio and the disk fails. Would I have to reinstall all third party programs if I used cpio to restore the / on a new disk? Or is backing / up enough to keep them installed.

Or, is the only way to do this to clone the disk with dd? I don't have a disk large enough to clone the servers partitions, so cloning won't do.

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It kind of goes without saying that if you backup and restore everything, then everything will be there. Also cpio is an odd choice, tar is better.

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I thought so, but I wanted to make sure. Thank you. –  Nate Dec 27 '11 at 18:37
    
Well, cpio syntax is shorter (for doing backups). –  djangofan Dec 27 '11 at 19:49
    
@djangofan, how do you figure? You have to run a separate find process to generate the file list and pipe it to cpio. –  psusi Dec 27 '11 at 20:47
    
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@djangofan, from 2001 and largely out of date/incorrect: 1) tar also preserves hard links, 2) filename limitation is a non issue, 3) tar also preserves timestamps, 4) tar also has switches to include/exclude by pattern, 5) multiple concurrent network streams slows things down, not speeds them up. –  psusi Jan 20 '12 at 20:22
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