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I think my HDD might have crashed. I don't want to lose data if this happens again. I have dual boot Windows/Ubuntu system. What is the best way to backup data and other software settings in Ubuntu? I don't care much about Windows partition, important stuff is in Ubuntu. I have 1 Tb external HDD (laptop HDD is of 500 gb total).

One way would be to run rsync every day (or via cronjob) to backup everything to external HDD. What might be better ways of achieving this (backup)? Also are instant backup software recommended? Are there any disadvantages of instant backup as opposed to daily rsync?

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rsync is pretty much perfect, what more do you need? – terdon Dec 5 '12 at 16:03
@terdon is there a way to "copy" the system settings (e.g. terminal preferences, display settings) that can be applied in the next re-install? – user13107 Dec 5 '12 at 16:04
@user13107 - I moved all my actual settings I care about to a folder in my user-folder and symlink them over to the appropriate places. It may not be the 100% best way to do it, but I will at least have what I need should my system die. (Stuff like {bashrc,conkyrc,bash_profile,etc.}. – nerdwaller Dec 5 '12 at 16:10
Yes, just include your home directory in the rsync command. These settings are usually stored in small text files in your $HOME. Either in the ~/.config/ directory or as dot files in $HOME (eg ~/.emacs) – terdon Dec 5 '12 at 16:11
@user13107 - That depends on what file to which you are referring. I do the home folder ones too because then I am more focused on them (so ~/Documents/system_configs/conkyrc would need to be to ~/.conkyrc. I also have the system-wide profile for my home server set, so that one is /etc/profile from the ~/Documents/system_configs/server_profile etc. Along the same vein, my samba config and sshd_config as well. Of course, you need to maintain permissions (so really, the holding pattern is so I can go to one place for everything, whether as root or my normal user). – nerdwaller Dec 5 '12 at 16:54

If you have your data right next to your computer, you are still vulnerable to anything that affects your local area, such as your house burning down. If you want extra reliability and don't have too much stuff to backup, I recommend an online service, such as Crashplan.

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The only thing that service offers is that's not already built into *nix is storage but there are lots of places to store offsite that are cheaper or free or something he already has. – Rob Dec 5 '12 at 16:27
That's true, but I wanted to name an example of offsite storage and that was the first one that came to mind. – David Dec 5 '12 at 16:31

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