I want to back-up all files from my laptop partitions to external HDD.

I ran, for example

cp -a /med*/ravb*/*00   /med*/ravb*/M*L*/7.3GB_CP && echo "7.3GB BACKED UP PROPERLY" || echo "7.3GB FAILED TO BACK UP"

The issue is that dot files are also getting included which I don't want. What should I do so as to ignore all dot files for backing up.

1 Answer 1


Why not use rsync instead? It's made for the job!

rsync -uan --progress --exclude=".*" <source> <destination>

The above will list all the files to be archived without actually copying anything. Check that the list is correct, then run it again with the n option removed in order to copy the files (you could also remove the --progress for a quieter experience).

To expand, the options above are:-

u - 'update' - only copy newer files.

a - 'archive'

n - 'dry-run` - don't copy, just list what it would do.

--progress - show progress of copy

--exclude=".*" - exclude files that begin with a dot

  • Looks great! Yes this is what I wanted. I will run it & update you.
    – Ravi
    Commented Jun 23, 2014 at 13:12
  • 1
    Yesterday I backed up all the partitions from laptop to my external HDD using rsync. It's a superb backup tool. Yes you are right, it's made for the job!!! Till now I've used tar, cpio & cp for backup. But this command rsync is the best. The task that seemed to be a bit complex, rsync made it very very easy & comfortable. Really a great versatile command. Had I used tar, then for viewing any backup file, I would have to open with tar archive application (which doesn't give a good interface to view) or I would have to recover from the archive. But with rsync no such issue.
    – Ravi
    Commented Jun 25, 2014 at 10:10
  • One may possibly want to add --include='*/' before the exclusion, to include any directory. Otherwise this would skip hidden directories.
    – Kusalananda
    Commented Feb 11, 2021 at 8:24

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