Any Tips On Backing Up Complete System To NTFS?

Asked by ephman on 2010-12-17


i would like to use Déjà Dup to backup my complete ubuntu 10.10 install to an NTFS (don't ask) external drive. seems like a pretty simple tool to use. the help files say the program by default excludes directories like /proc /tmp etc..? but in the wizard where the exclude directories are selected those dir's are missing? also any tips on using Déjà Dup to backup and restore a complete system?

any help would be really appreciated. thanks for programming this people!

thanks for your bandwidth,


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Michael Terry (mterry) said : #1

Those directories are 'hidden excludes'. They don't show up in the list. If you want to back one up anyway, you can explicitly include it and it should be included.

So while Deja Dup can backup the whole system, that doesn't have nearly as much testing as backing up your home directory. You may run into issues like not being able to read some files that only root can (which would just mean that the files wouldn't be included in the backup -- the backup would still proceed). But it should in general work. And I'd like to hear bug reports if something does go wrong. :)

Hello ephman, what were your experiences with the system backup? I'm planning to do the same (full backup of an Ubuntu system), though not to an NTFS drive. I've been using a handwritten script using rsync for that in the past, but would like to switch to something more reliable. Here are my thoughts on the process:

1. Michaels comment is correct: running the backup as a normal user will not backup any files that only root can read. I ran into that problem with my rsync-script. This will not produce a backup that can be used to rebuild a running system after, e.g., a harddisk crash, since vital files are missing. However, I believe that's why you want to do it. So:

2. @Michael: This means we will have to run deja dup as root. -- Has anyone tried this, does it work?

3. In order to reconstruct a full system, you need to have an instance of deja dup running. This usually involves booting a live CD, accessing your system through a network connection, etc. In any case, you will have to restore some parts of the backup to paths different from the ones they have been read from. (E.g., the former root directory is likely to NOT be mounted on "/" at this time, since this is the root of whatever system you booted to run deja dup on.) -- @Michael: Can deja dup restore subtrees of a backup to changed paths?

4. Given those problems, should we prefer to use duplicity directly?

Michael Terry (mterry) said : #3


re: #2: Deja Dup can run as root, but it will not be as well-integrated. Assuming you don't regularly log in as root, it wouldn't automatically backup. So you'd run it manually and even then, it wouldn't integrate with your current session (like warn you when logging out that it's still running) because it would be on a different dbus bus. In general, it's not recommended just because it hasn't been well-tested and isn't an "intended" use. It *should* work, but I've not spent time on it.

re: #3: yes. You can restore the whole thing to a changed path or restore a part of the backup to a changed path (see

re: #4: my focus for Deja Dup was for user data. This is a use case I'm interested in, but do not cater for. I would be interested to hear how Deja Dup works for you, if you are feeling adventurous, but otherwise I'd say use duplicity directly. It's more suited for running from cron and such.

Masi (soopo) said : #4

How has Deja-dup been designed for backing up on different filesystem than the data?

It seems that the issue is still active because I cannot backup my ext4 home directory to NTFS disc.

I propose: make .tar/.zip directory/directories of the backupped files and sync those instead. May not be so convenient but, at least you, you do not close permissions. Store dumps in PostSQL. Make frontend which can access those. It should be possible.

Similar issue here:

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