I have backintime storing backups to a hard drive. I'm replacing that hard drive and wish to copy everything from the old drive to the new one. How can I do that, preferably with rsync?

I have 600GB data in total and both drives are 2TB capacity, so space should not be an issue. My first attempt was to run rsync -rt --progress /SOURCE /DESTINATION but this filled the 2TB drive and failed. I thought soft/hard links might be the problem so I next tried rsync -a --progress /SOURCE /DESTINATION but this failed the same way.

There is a similar question here about moving the metadata and settings to a new computer, but I'm trying to move my backup sets to a new drive within the same computer. The only change I want is the physical swap of the hard drives (and I'm okay editingfstab, etc, once I have a successful copy).

Is rsync the right way to do this, with some argument I've overlooked, or do I need to use something like dd to copy? I am reluctant to keep trying because each attempt takes many hours to run before failing.


1 Answer 1


You need to add rsync -H to preserve hard-links.

rsync -avhH --progress /SOURCE /DESTINATION

Alternative you could use tar to copy the snapshots because tar will preserve hard-links as well

cd /DESTINATION; tar cf - /SOURCE/* | tar xf -
  • 1
    Thanks, you are right it was the hard-links giving me trouble. This worked for me (and is more readable for when I forget what worked later...) rsync -a --hard-links --progress /SOURCE /DESTINATION. Jul 18, 2016 at 14:55

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