I'm backing up directories on a Fedora machine onto an NTFS drive (fuseblk according to df -T) and it seems to go just fine with this:

ls -t | sed -e "1,"$n"d" | xargs -d '\n' rm -rf

nice rsync -azv \
--link-dest=$DestDir/current \
--delete \
--delete-excluded \
$SrcDirs $DestDir/incomplete_backup-$Date

mv $DestDir/incomplete-backup-$Data $DestDir/Backup-$Date
rm -f $DesDir/current
ln -s $DestDir/Backup-$Data $DestDir/current

This gives me nice rolling backups and I can limit how many historical versions I have with the n variable.

What I notice is that if I execute the backup twice within a few seconds, I get a very long list of modified files. Exploring further with the -i switch, I see that all the files are flagged as having permissions changes. If I specify --no-perms, this fixes the problem. Assuming it is actually a problem.

My questions are: Why are permissions not being preserved? Does this situation negate my rolling backup concept? Any other details I should be considering?

  • Are you sure that --link-dest even works on NTFS? Perhaps it has been updated, but last time I looked the fuse driver didn't support hardlinks for ntfs. – Zoredache Feb 14 '14 at 0:52
  • @Zoerdache - excellent question and clearly of interest. I may simply reformat to ext4 as tink suggested below, but I would be interested to know the answer to hardlinks on NTFS. – KirkD_CO Feb 14 '14 at 17:46
  • Hmmm. I've been going from HFS+ to NTFS with similar behavior. But in my case, it is updating all NTFS directories every time, but files, only the ones it should be. superuser.com/questions/1111844/… – WGroleau Aug 12 '16 at 5:32

No, the permission are not preserved. NTFS has no knowledge of Linux ownerships and permissions.

  • Instead of NTFS, copy the files to some Linux compatible file system, e.g. ext3 or ext4, and the permissions will be copied over. – Kevin Panko Feb 13 '14 at 21:42
  • 2
    And this is why rsync keeps trying to set the permissions on every backup, correct? No files are copied, but it tries to modify permissions? – KirkD_CO Feb 13 '14 at 23:05
  • Correct. If you want to avoid that format the NTFS device w/ ext2/3/4 (jfs, xfs, reiser, ... anything Linux native) :) – tink Feb 14 '14 at 0:23

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