I'm currently using plain and flat rsync to backup my files, meaning I have no incremental backups.

A few days ago I became aware of the existence of rsnapshot and after looking at the man page I came to the conclusion that this is a great tool and I'd like to use it.

My 'problem' now is that I'd like to use my already existing backups as a base for the first rsnapshot backup.
After looking at the man page I'm thinking I should be able to move my existing backups to the hourly.0 directory, rsnapshot would create upon the first rsnapshot hourly invocation.

Am I correct on this? Unfortunatly I don't have enough storage to make a backup of my backups for playing around.

  • 1
    Can't you experiment on a much reduced volume? Just set up a very small backup with rsync and try to get rsnapshot to use it as a base - this won't tell you if it really works, but you'll find out very fast if it doesn't work at all.
    – Mat
    Jan 19, 2012 at 12:26
  • I guess, that is what I'm going to have to do
    – Chris
    Jan 19, 2012 at 15:03
  • This should work, provided the directories under hourly.0 have the same basic structure as those under hourly.x. Try it out with a subset and -t. Jan 19, 2012 at 23:17
  • Thanks Martin. Post that as an answer, and I'll accept it
    – Chris
    Jan 20, 2012 at 8:29
  • Finally tried it out and it works as a breeze. The only thing you have to pay attention to is, like Martin stated, that the directory structure in hourly.0 has to match the one hourly.1 would create.
    – Chris
    Jan 23, 2012 at 18:03

1 Answer 1


As the documentation states, you can make an incremental backup :

In combination with the --backup option, this tells rsync to store all backups in the specified directory on the receiving side. This can be used for incremental backups. You can additionally specify a backup suffix using the --suffix option (otherwise the files backed up in the specified directory will keep their original filenames).

See this example provided on the official web site of rsync. It creates with a few lines a full backup and 7 day incremental. And since it's already the tool that you use, it should be easier to get already backup-ed files at the good place.

  • Thanks for the reply, but I really want to use rsnapshot, because I like the idea of the way they use hardlinks, and because of its ease of use.
    – Chris
    Jan 19, 2012 at 11:17
  • I am afraid that you'll need to delete your backup, then, before launching rsnapshot.
    – Coren
    Jan 19, 2012 at 14:31

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