I have a 1TB external hard drive that I use to back up my entire computer. Right now, I have every one of the folders under my computer set to back up, that is, /home, /usr, etc. (Except /media, obviously, since that location would include my hard drive itself.) My reason for this is extensive backup that I've had files in /etc or /usr get corrupted and then suddenly my display server was irreparably not working. I had to reinstall Ubuntu. But that's besides the point...

I've been using Ubuntu for quite some time, but I still have no idea what each of these folders means. Right now, every time duplicity attempts a backup, it gets stuck on a certain file under /proc. Using nautilus, it shows the file is 0B and is empty when it is opened with gedit. The backup hangs there for quite some time (at least 15 minutes) and eventually reports out that the backup failed.

What are my options here? Should I delete all backups from my HD and try again? Is /proc un-backupable? Is there another program other than the default backup (duplicity or deja-dup I think it's called) that I should be using for such an extensive backup?



/proc is a virtual filesystem that represents the state of the live system, including processes and their virtual memory maps, so, yes, it's inappropriate to back it up unless you're debugging the kernel or something. Other such runtime-only virtual filesystems are /sys, /run, and /dev.

Given your existing back up contains some garbage from /proc and perhaps the other filesystem components when you last tried, I'd at least delete those components of the backup if you can, and try again, this time without them. Deja-dup should be fine (personally I'm still using rsync on the command line from what I learned back in the day).

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