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I'm wondering if there's an easy way to backup files from a linux (Ubuntu, ext4) and Windows (ntfs) partition to an external harddrive (FAT32). I mainly use the linux partition and I tried using rsnapshot but I always get a slew of errors regarding copying of symlinks. I guess this is normal because FAT32 doesn't support symlinks.

Is there another way to back all these files up incrementally like what rsnapshot does while preserving permissions, symlinks, etc?

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Is there a reason the external has to be FAT32? Why not reformat it to NTFS or ext2/3/4? You can use Ext2 IFS or Ext2fsd so Windows can access it, too. – Velociraptors Oct 3 '10 at 3:06
ntfs won't preserve symlinks. ext you have to add drivers to windows. that's why most removable media is ntfs or fat. ntfs would be a better idea than fat supports a large max file size to the method in my solution could have larger pseudo partitions. – RobotHumans Oct 3 '10 at 4:22

make large files on the fat partition and mount them as a filesystems. then they can be formatted to look like native filesystems and all your symlinks/etc are preserved

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Sorry, can you expand on this a bit more? – Douglas Dino Oct 3 '10 at 2:58
make a 4GB file of random data(think dd if=/dev/rand of=/pathtofat32/pathtofile bs=whatever count=whatever). format the file like it's a partition(mkfs.ext3 /pathtofat32/pathtofile). mount it like you would a partition(mount -o loop -t ext3 /pathtofat32/pathtofile /mountpointforthenewfilesystem). linux doesn't care if it's a file or a device. all devices are treated like files anyway – RobotHumans Oct 3 '10 at 3:04
This is a good option. Your desire to back up onto a broken file system like FAT32 is going to end in tears otherwise. – user3463 Oct 3 '10 at 3:21

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