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I am using rsync for backup about 100GB files and directories. My command is

sudo rsync -azvv /home/path/folder1/ /home/path/folder2

However, the output for each file goes up so quickly and there are so many files, that I worry if there are some errors I cannot catch. So I wonder how you would catch any errors during backup?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Redirect the error stream to a file that you can read later. The verbose output goes to standard output whereas errors go on standard error.

sudo rsync -azvv /home/path/folder1/ /home/path/folder2 2>rsync-errors
echo $?
cat rsync-errors

Alternatively, instead of using verbose mode, use --progress or -P to just see a progress indicator, that way you will see error messages scroll by. It is possible that they'll scroll too fast if there are a lot of them.

In any case, check that the return status of rsync is 0, indicating that there were no errors.

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Thanks! (1) I have run my command. How shall I get the return status? (2) I have too many files to copy, and it takes hours. I cannot stare at the screen all the time. So the way of using progress may not work. But redirect the error stream to a file is a good idea. (3) I actually ran again with sudo rsync -azvv /home/path/folder1/ /home/path/folder2 > log_rsync. If I am correct, the error stream will still go to the terminal not the file? – Tim Sep 16 '12 at 2:27
@Tim 1) echo $? (0 means success). 3) Yes, redirecting either stdout or stderr will leave you with just the errors on the terminal or in the log file. – Gilles Sep 16 '12 at 2:42
What does ? mean? – Tim Sep 16 '12 at 4:55
$? gives exit status of the last command. – Paweł Rumian Sep 16 '12 at 7:34
Thanks, Gilles! I realize that verbose mode severely slows down rsync. If I don't specify -vv or -v, will the error if any still be printed on terminal? What would you suggest to get the necessary output information while not slow it down as much as possible? – Tim Sep 19 '12 at 12:22

I use the following:

sudo rsync -azvv /home/path/folder1/ /home/path/folder2 |& tee rsync.output

The file 'rsync.output' will contain your output.

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