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I have a folder of about 20GB that I'd like to back up. It's the .raw files of photos I took last year, so it's not a folder that will change, so incremental backups isn't an issue. All I'd like is a simple way to back up the folder to a number of DVDs. What program is best for this sort of task?

A lot of the backup programs seem to be more about incremental backups and so forth, which I'm not interested in. I'd like the program to automatically break down the folder into chunks that can be written to DVD.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

DAR: Disk ARchive

dar is a shell command that backs up directory trees and files

In summary - it can archive any folder tree and write slices - where each slice can be burned to disk using your favourite disk burner.

The advantage is that not all the slices need to be written out at once - while archiving, DAR will pause for you to write the slice before continuing.

How to install

sudo apt-get install dar

How to archive

dar -c /home/dad/test/archive -s 4700M -S 4695M -p -b -z -R /home/dad/Downloads -D

In this example, DAR will write a slice called "archive" of size 4695MB to the folder /home/dad/test. The folder /home/dad/Downloads and everything in that folder including subfolders are compressed into each slice.

After each slice is written you write the file to DVD before deleting it.

How to list the contents

Use the format:

dar -l [name of archive]


cd /media/cdrom
dar -l archive

How to extract individual files

Use the format:

dar -R [folder to extract to] -x [archive name] -g [file to extract]

for example:

dar -R . -x /media/cdrom/archive -g filetoextract.txt

More information, examples and tutorials:

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  1. Right click on the folder and choose Compress....
  2. Choose the .7z extension. If it's not there, install the p7zip-full package.
  3. Choose Other options and tick the Split into volumes option.
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Not the best solution, as it's not automated, but since it's a fairly small number of DVDs that will be required (4-5), you could simply manually split the folder into chunks small enough to burn.

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Automation isn't a priority since this is a one-off backup. But the manual splitting of the files is exactly what I'd like to avoid. – Seamus Sep 21 '11 at 10:15
That's what I figured. – zpletan Sep 21 '11 at 11:35
Check out the dirsplit command. Article:… – mount.cifs Oct 1 '11 at 17:55

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