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I am running BackupPC, which backs up my laptop via rsync to another computer daily. Suppose that I upgrade one or more packages during the backup process. Is it possible that the package will be broken in the backup because some of its files came from the old version and some from the newly-upgraded version? How likely is this?

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What exactly are you making a backup of? If it's only data then you have nothing to fear about, unless there is some configuration files that are gonna change with upgrade. If you're backing up the system then ugly things could happen. For example you could catch a package A which is part of dependency on package B and when you catch package B after A has updated and before B has updated you will have problems. – danizmax Nov 16 '10 at 9:00
It's a full system backup. – Ryan Thompson Nov 17 '10 at 15:43
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Running a backup during an upgrade is not recommended. A typical case when you need your backup is the case when an upgrade is broken. Therefore I recommend to backup after you checked your upgrade is OK.

However this depends entirely on which files are backuped. If it's /home only then running a package upgrade at the same time may probably not do much harm.

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The backup is automatically scheduled, and it's not necessarily obvious when it is running. That's why I'm asking if it matters. – Ryan Thompson Nov 17 '10 at 15:44

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