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I want my data to be prepared as much as possible for a hardware failure (especially HDD crash). I've already "lost" in the past 2 HDDs, so I know the frustration that comes with it.

I am already using Déjà Dup for more then a year now, backing up /home and /etc on a daily basis to an external HDD.

Suppose I will have a HDD failure in the near future. Is my assumption correct about the next steps that have to be taken?:

  1. Re-install Ubuntu.
  2. Using Déjà Dup simply restore /home folder. Is it a straight forward process?

On a side note, the entire back-up process is aimed for full recovery. I am not that interested in the incremental back-up process. It's nice to have, but it doesn't help me in case of a crash.

Taken into account that my main aim is a full recovery, wouldn't it be simpler if I were to use rsync?

sudo rsync -azvv /home/ /external-hdd

then cron the above command to run on a daily basis.

Aditional questions:

  1. Does it make sense to back-up a secondary NTFS drive that is mounted on my system using rsync?
  2. Can Déjà Dup handle back-up of mounted NTFS drives?

Thanks.

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To answer your first question: yes, you would simply restore the /home folder from the backup location and you're done. After a fresh install, it's OK to restore the backup files over any new files that may have been created. However, you will need to manually reinstall any (non-standard) applications that were installed on your old disk. There are ways to accomplish this easily as well, but since you asked about data, not applications, I won't go into that.
Once reinstalled, applications will (as a rule) use the old restored data in /home.
Using rsync is quite simple, so if you're comfortable with that, go ahead. DejaDup just gives you the GUI. You won't want to use sudo though, in order to preserve file ownership.
Generally, backing up and restoring NTFS disks is OK, although there may be some glitches when using filenames with special characters. You will need to experiment a bit with the iocharset parameter in /etc/fstab before you get that right.

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  • Jos, how would you move the installed applications as well? – Alex Sep 3 '14 at 7:57
  • @spartacus First, create a list of all installed packages, and backup that, together with a list of your software sources (in case you have installed packages from PPAs and such). On the new system, tell dpkg to install all packages from the list. This is all very well explained here: askubuntu.com/questions/9135/…. Note that this does not restore any packages installed from tarballs, but other than that, it is a simple and effective method. I have a cron job running that creates such a list every couple of days. – Jos Sep 3 '14 at 11:42

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