Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've had a lot of issues recently with HDDs so I'm about to make huge backups of everything, but I need some suggestions. First, here is my current setup:

  • SSD1: 128 GB with debian + my debian "home directory", I use it as a portable o.s. so I didn't create 2 partitions for it, o.s. and home directory are on the same partition, a 120GB partition with a 5GB swap partition
  • SSD2: 80 GB (2 x 37.27 GB RAID0) it's a RevoDrive which contains my Windows 7 o.s. (the raid is internally built to improve performance)
  • HDD1: 2 TB which contains all my Windows 7 Data (Users folder, Programs folder and similar)
  • HDD2: 3 TB which will be used for backups only: 2 TB for HDD1, 128 GB for SSD1, 80 GB for SSD2, ~600 GB free

So, because this is not a "hdd cloning" but backups with syncing (I would like to keep them up-to-date without re-copying the entire hdd, which will take a lot of time), and because I usually work on linux and not on Windows, I was thinking about using rsync.

What are my options to backup windows o.s., do I require to clone the hdd or can I just copy files from one hard disk to another and next time I reinstall windows I can just copy everything over it and it will work, or is the HDD cloning required?

What about linux, is ok to just copy the entire o.s. (files, no hdd cloning)?

Last but not least, what issues can I have if windows is actually on a RAID 0 drive and (probably) my next drive will be a single one (128 GB, still bigger than the currently used 80 GB) and what options do I have to mount the revodrive on linux?

share|improve this question
Do you use windows infrequently enough that a simple windows VM could replace it? It would simply your setup significantly. – spuder Jul 28 '13 at 0:03
No sorry, I use windows for gaming so VM can't replace it for obvious performance reasons :( – Fire-Dragon-DoL Jul 28 '13 at 0:13
I use Crashplan Desktop (free) to backup my files to a 3tb drive. It is mulitplatform, does incremental backups and can even backup to other computers on your lan or friends desktops. – spuder Jul 28 '13 at 0:17
That software looks really good, I'm trying it. – Fire-Dragon-DoL Jul 28 '13 at 1:37
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Firstly, From Linux I would make sure all the drives were present, create partitions for both windows and Linux on your 3TB drive and simply dd the system partitions. This way if things go south with your system drives you can be up and running with your old OS and all your programs in a reasonable amount of time.

For the data, If you are using Linux most of the time there should be no reason why Rsync couldn't continually backup your Windows/Linux partitions and all the data to separate partitions on the 3TB.

That's how I would do it.

Also, I don't see any problem with moving your RAID 0 array to a single drive in the future. Raid arrays are still seen as single entities from the OS perspective and could easily be cloned over no problems.

share|improve this answer
Thanks a lot, just one question: what if I rsync the entire debian o.s. will be easy to just copy it back to a new drive to have it up and running? Dd is not an option for debian because there is my home directory in the same partition, and I want it to be synced ALWAYS (yea, not a weekly backup with dd, I would like to make daily backups, same for /etc and /opt directories). – Fire-Dragon-DoL Jul 28 '13 at 0:15
You can't rsync the bootloader unfortunately which is where dd would come in handy. You can however boot from a live linux distro, grab the bootloader and system partition with dd and use rsync while the os is running to make continuous backup syncs of /home /etc and /opt – Scandalist Jul 28 '13 at 1:00
This sounds good. If I have an o.s. crash I can also just reinstall linux over an hard drive and overwrite all data with rsynced data, I think it works in that way too. – Fire-Dragon-DoL Jul 28 '13 at 1:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .