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Linux - Move back in time backups

Back in time is mainly a Linux backup tool which uses rsync to perform efficient incremental backups. This quick post shows you how to successfully move back in time backups to a different location. If you try to copy the folder using a file explorer it ends up trying to copy a vast amount of data which isn't actually there. My photos backup totals around 120 GB but trying to copy this manually resulted in the file explorer reporting 1.1 TB of data to be copied.

This is due to rsync using hard links, with each subsequent backup performed a hard link is created to unchanged files. Just copying this directory will treat each hard link as individual files - thus drastically increasing the destination size.

Use the following command:

rsync -avhH --progress /SOURCE /DESTINATION

-a = Archive Mode
-v = Verbose
-h = Human Readable
-H = Preserve Hard links
--progress = Show progress during transfer

This will successfully copy the directory preserving all the hard links, the destination will have the correct size. Then it is just a matter of opening back in time and changing the backup destination.


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