I have buying me a little home server for backup my personal files like pictures and other files. This server runs booting from USB stick. I have setup the system with RAID 1 with mdadm to mirroring my files on two hard drives.

While I'm not advanced in Linux and I'm afraid of damaging something in my system I want to backup my root directory / to my hard drives /mnt/disk/public. This directory containing all my files from my hard drives.

Now my question:

I have found some snippet:

rsync -aAXv --exclude={"/dev/*","/proc/*","/sys/*","/tmp/*","/run/*","/mnt/*","/media/*","/lost+found"} / /path/to/backup/folder

Would it be enough in my case to do a full backup with all permissions to simply backup and restore my server with all permissions and settings and exclude /mnt/disk/public to my disks in /mnt/disk/public?

Or is there a tool to do full system backups?

  • don't backup proc and dev...
    – user2497
    Oct 1, 2019 at 7:22

1 Answer 1


This will work, in that you will be backing up all of your data - and I recommend it to back up your data. I personally use this method to back up several full systems in small environments (as well as their variable data), and it works well.

However, this is not some snapshot that you can simply revert to. If you have to use it to restore a system or copy one, you will have to build the partition structure and configure the boot system manually (as well as likely edit the fstab to match your new disk - plus a few other files I might be forgetting) before essentially reversing this command and restoring the contents of that filesystem.

Now, there's nothing wrong with this. It's a bit manual, but certainly less manual than rebuilding an entire OS. Might take you two or three minutes if you're really used to it and don't run into issues (not counting the time it takes to copy things back, of course).

That said, this is still a great way to backup your data even if you're using other methods to backup your full system, as you need to be able to get to that on a per-file basis, rather than a per-image basis. However, for system backups I find that a complete OS disk image - boot structures and all - is very convenient.

For this kind of backup, I use ReaR (http://relax-and-recover.org/) in most small (<10 machines) environments. It's very simple to use, and easy to deploy. It will make an image of your machine that you can fall back on in a moment's notice, and even provides nice interactive shells to do so. It's great for leaving in place, as most people can walk up to it and use it.

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