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I usually shutdown my pc, and use a livecd to make a backup of /, and do:

tar cvfp**z** UbuntuComputerBackup.tar.gz --exclude=/proc --exclude=/sys --exclude=/dev  /

I was thinking of now doing (xz compression instead):

tar cvfp**J** UbuntuComputerBackup.tar.**xz** --exclude=/proc --exclude=/sys --exclude=/dev  /

Is this a good idea to now use xz compression? What are do you guys reccomend for full tarball barebones backup?

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Yes, it is certainly safe. But if it is recommended is a different matter.

Recommending it more depends on your time avaliable and your space avaliable on your backup media.

If you don't have much space but quite a bit of time, use xz. It uses a load less space, but quite a bit of time.

If you don't have much time but quite a bit of space, use gzip. It uses a lot of space but a lot less time.

If you have something about in the middle of these two extremes, use bzip2. It uses a moderate amount of both. You can use

tar cvfpj UbuntuComputerBackup.tar.bz2 --exclude=/proc --exclude=/sys --exclude=/dev /

to use bz2.

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