I want to backup all data from a server before I do an Upgrade (Debian). Due to the fact, that there are many user accounts on the server, I thought I just copy all data with scp (scp -r * user@backup-path) as root to my backup disk. The problem now is that, if I do it like that I mess up the permissions of the files.

After coping the files look like this:

drwxrwxrwx 1 root root        496 Mar  8 09:28 .
drwxrwxrwx 1 root root        336 Mar  8 09:27 ..
-rwxrwxrwx 1 root root  154373124 Mar  8 09:24 file-5.cas
-rwxrwxrwx 1 root root  219287728 Mar  8 09:24 copy.tar

If I need to resore the data later this probably is a problem, isn't it?

Is there a better way to do that?

2 Answers 2


You can perform rsync from the source to destination which will solve your permission.

rsync -avzh ssh [email protected]:/your/source/ /destination/

You can refer the below link for more details on rsync

How to merge one directory into other?

rsync complication on sync

  • I also thought about that, but what user do I use for my source because my source is the whole /home direcory?
    – chi86
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 8:55
  • you can perform it by root also.
    – AReddy
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 9:05
  • and than the permissions are not messed up? Another question, what if something goes wrong and I have to restore everthing? Than there is an empty /home directory on the server and I want to copy the data from the backup-disk, how do I do that?
    – chi86
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 9:10
  • It won't work I get the following message: Unexpected remote arg: root@server:/home/ rsync error: syntax or usage error (code 1) at main.c(1343) [sender=3.1.2]
    – chi86
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 9:16

Maybe you can use tar, with -p option (preserve permissions) before the transfert?

  • There is not enought disk space on the server to create a tar before the transfer (it is almost 1Tb)
    – chi86
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 8:56
  • and if you create all users before the transfert and make the scp with the good account ?
    – seb
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 9:16
  • that probably works but it is an incredible amount of work because there are many users on the server
    – chi86
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 9:22

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