[nmglug] Recommendations for rsync backup subsequent to Debian release upgrade

Tom Ashcraft trailerdog234 at comcast.net
Sat Dec 31 17:07:28 PST 2022

Happy New Year nmglugers,

Yesterday I finally got around to doing a 'release upgrade' on the 
laptop I most often use (hence the reluctance and tardiness; HP-Notebook 
running Debian 10 Buster KDE to Debian 11 Bullseye KDE.)  This performed 
"in-place" versus my more traditional "nuke-n-pave" procedure (ref 

In preparation, and per said ref recommendations among others, I also 
performed a full-system rsync backup onto an external spinning USB drive 
which had/has relatively modest extra space remaining.

I used this command:

sudo rsync -aAXv --delete --exclude=/dev/* --exclude=/proc/* 
--exclude=/sys/* --exclude=/tmp/* --exclude=/run/* --exclude=/mnt/* 
--exclude=/media/* --exclude="swapfile" --exclude="lost+found" 
--exclude=".cache" --exclude="Downloads" --exclude=".VirtualBoxVMs" 
--exclude=".ecryptfs" / 

I know I could bunch all those '--excludes' between braces, etc., but 
I'm lazy, and despite wading through the man page now and then I can 
never remember or fully comprehend all the ins and outs of rsync.  So on 
the rare occasions that I actually bother to do a full backup, I just 
copy and paste the above in a text console with minimal modifications 
(usually only the source and destination specifications).  I got the 
exact command string from some old notes I originally made mostly from 
an Average Linux User article and watching some YouTube videos.

So in theory I now have what should be a sufficiently functional 
full-system and home directory copy with which to restore the entire, 
but now superceded, Debian 10 installation--if for some reason that 
should have become, or should in the future become, desirable.

That now seems relatively unlikely and undesirable as, at least at 
present, everything I've checked in the upgraded Debian 11 appears to be 
present and working properly.

And now that I have the new upgrade, it seems reasonable--especially 
since tomorrow is New Year's Eve and everything--that I should promptly 
do another rsync system backup to protect my new investment of time and 
effort and also the new data related to and stored in the now 
substantially modified system.

So I was thinking that I would just change the name of the destination 
directory in the external USB drive to reflect the fact that it would 
now be a Debian 11 backup as opposed to a Debian 10 backup, and do the 
same rsync command above, again.

The size of the net delta between the Debian 10 and 11 backups should be 
relatively small, right?

But I'm also wondering about things like the flags --delete and 
--exclude=".cache" and --exclude ".ecryptfs".  And maybe I should review 

I want to "strike while the iron is hot" before attrition and the 
demands of the new year destroy my focus and resolve.  But I also want 
to err on the side of caution.

So my remaining questions are:  1) am I about to do anything stupid?; 
and, 2) does anybody have any thoughts or suggestions about rsync and 
backups that I should be aware of or might benefit from?



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