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Backing Up Personal Files
rsync -av /path/to/source/directory /path/to/target/directory
rsync -av /home/alice /media/usbdrive
for whole installation
Not that System Restore is foolproof in Windows, but it’s still a nice feature… at least in theory. Right now, Ubuntu doesn’t have anything like System Restore. So if you’re going to do any kind of experimental stuff with Ubuntu (for example, installing Beryl or Compiz), it’s best to back up your system first.
PartImage is a nice little program that creates an image of your entire partition. You’ll need a live CD for this, and you can find more details here about how to use it.
tar is an archiving command, but it can also be used to archive your entire system into one little zipped up bundle. Someone on the Ubuntu Forums wrote a nice little HowTo on backing up and restoring your entire installation using tar.
ddrescue allows you to copy a partition byte for byte to another partition or to a .img file. It’s mainly designed for recovery of a crashed drive, but you can also use it as a way to back up (a non-graphical PartImage of sorts). The trick is that the name of the package is ddrescue in the repositories, but the command to use it is dd_rescue. So if you wanted to copy /dev/hda1 to /dev/sda1, you would type in the terminal:
dd_rescue /dev/hda1 /dev/sda1
Keep in mind that /dev/hda1 cannot be in use or mounted. If that requires you using a live CD, then so be it. You can also, if you don’t want to erase /dev/sda1 completely, ddrescue to an image file and then mount the image to get the files off it:
dd_rescue /dev/hda1 /dev/sda1/hda1backup.img
sudo mkdir /recovery sudo mount /dev/sda1/hda1backup.img