I have a directory A on an external harddrive. let's say it is 80GB. my local harddrive has 60GB free. I use a cloud provider to back stuff up, but the cloud provider has to be mounted to my physical harddrive (afaik this is universally recommended because if your external disconnects the cloud provider software will freak out). I want to simply rsync over the files. but since this is too large, I have to first send over <60GB of data, then send over the rest. this question is how to best achieve that.

I can think of hacks for how to achieve this, but I am looking for something cleaner.

for context, in this case A itself contains a fair number of directories. file size is generally pretty small, definitely nothing close to 60GB. so my goal is to be able to rsync over the 80GB of data in two (or more) passes. after each pass, I wait for the cloud backup software to send it over, I clear the local data, then I send over the rest.

thanks in advance

  • So why don't you copy the files directly? I don't see the problem if your cloud is mounted on your machine.
    – terdon
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 11:47

1 Answer 1


I cannot say if this is the best way to do this but it is relatively easy.

It involves the use of the --max-size=SIZE and --min-size=SIZE options.

Set up your rsync with --max-size=SIZE. Take a guess at a SIZE parameter that will include about half your data. Guess low at first and if necessary re-run the rsync with a larger guess until you get more than 30 GB successfully transferred. Once your upload has completed repeat the rsync but win a --min-size=SIZE option set with the same (final) guess for SIZE as the first run(s)

Good luck

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