Well, I know this question is quite strange. I have done a lot of incremental backups. Now the total file size gets too large, because there are a lot of duplicate files with similar contents, and some files are deleted. These historical versions of all files are useful, that's why I do not use rsync.

BUT I don't want that many historical backups. I just need the history of 3 months. I don't want to start a new incremental backup every 3 months, but rather pack the backups older than 3 months ago into one file each but only one backup each 3 months.

Is there anyway to do that? Or any alternative solution?

  • I tried to clarify the question, is it this, what you were asking?
    – rubo77
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 22:55
  • 1
    star incrementals are quite small and gtar is known for not being able to do incremental restores in case there are non-trivial changes between two backups. Which tar do you use?
    – schily
    Commented Jun 28, 2018 at 8:39
  • tar is quite clunky for incremental backups and I don't think this is possible.
    – qwr
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 7:29

2 Answers 2


You can use rsnapshot which is not using that much space.

rsnapshot is using rsync and hard links, it is possible to keep multiple, full backups instantly available. The disk space required is just a little more than the space of one full backup, plus incrementals.

And you can define how often you need backups and how many should be kept etc.


Check out Borgbackup, a modern deduplicating backup system written in Python. It's a fork of another system called Attic, which is currently inactive.

Roughly speaking, a deduplicating backup system breaks data into small pieces for storage, and store duplicate pieces only once, thus saving on storage space. Borgbackup also does compression and encryption.

This project is young, but to me, this seems the most promising of the current crop of deduplicating backup systems.

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