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I would like to make a back up/snapshot of a folder where I have built various programs (~4.1 GB in size). The idea is to be able to quickly restore everything in this path to it's original state in case something happened to the drive where it resides.

One limitation I have is that I do not have access to the hardware nor sys rights to this machine (not sure if I may need them when restoring things)

Can I preserve every file, permission, timestamp, symbolic link, etc. in a tar file? Most importantly, would that be enough to later restore every single file and program to a working state?

If tar is not an adequate for this task, what are my alternatives? Are there any other (free) command line tools that are better for this job?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

tar should be able to handle all of your requirements, but you probably want to use the options --atime-preserve and --preserve-permissions.

I have been using rdiff-backup for (incremental) backups over the network. It can be used locally as well. rdiff-backup does preserve links and timestamps, but I have not checked specifically on access time restore etc.

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