Minimal Linux backup -- don't forget rpm

Make sure to back up the right directories when doing a minimal Linux backup.

Minimal Linux backup -- don't forget rpm
Rick Cook

Backing up Linux? Make sure you get the right directories, as this tip suggests. If you have a backup tip, why not send it in? We'll enter you in our tips contest and you might win a nifty prize.


A minimal backup consists only of those files you need to get the system up and running again. Some administrators only do minimal backups on non-critical machines. Others do minimal backups daily in addition to the incremental backs.

Although what goes into a minimal backup for a Linux system depends very much on the particular system and the needs of the organization, there are a few directories that are usually considered basic. Many of these, such as /root, /home and /etc are common to Unix systems as well. However, when you do a minimal backup on a Linux system don't forget to back up /var/lib/rpm. This is the database for the remote package manager used by most Linux systems to handle updates and some customizations to the operating system. Without it, restoring a Linux system is a lot harder than it should be.

An excellent source of information on backing up Linux in general is http://www.linux-backup.net/app.gwif.html which includes links to FAQs, scripts, HOWTOs and other resources.


Rick Cook has been writing about mass storage since the days when the term meant an 80K floppy disk. The computers he learned on used ferrite cores and magnetic drums. For the last twenty years he has been a freelance writer specializing in storage and other computer issues.

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Related Book

Linux Book, The, 1/e
Author : David Elboth
Publisher : Prentice Hall
Published : Mar 2001
Summary :
If you're new to Linux, it can be a real challenge to find the right Linux book: they either cover the wrong distribution, or are too technical, or conversely, too superficial. The Linux Book offers the perfect balance: all the information you need to install, configure, maintain, and network a Linux system without having your intelligence insulted or wading through thousands of pages of unnecessary technical gibberish.


This was first published in August 2001

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