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Home » Backups

Command-line backup methods

Submitted by on November 22, 2005 – 6:01 pm 3 Comments

The following is a brief overview of standard Unix comman-line utilities used for data backup on Solaris systems. Most of the information below is also applicable to other unixoid systems.

Common backup/copy methods:

tar | gzip

Basic syntax for creating *.tar.gz archive is:

tar cvf - . | gzip > target.tar.gz

Common tar options include:

-c: Create a tar file
-t: List the contents of a tar file
-x: Extract or restore a tar file
-v: Verbose


Create tar file of /etc/mail:

cd /etc
tar cvf mail.tar mail

Extract contents of mail.tar file to /backup/mail directory:

cd /backup
tar xvf mail.tar


Copy files from the current directory to tape:

pax -w -f /dev/rmt/0

Show tape contents:

pax -v -f /dev/rmt/0


dd is commonly used to copy disk slices and entire disks. Here’s an example that will copy disk c0t0d0 to the disk c0t1d0:

dd if=/dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s2 of=/dev/rdsk/c0t1d0s2 bs=128

If you are looking to make a copy of the boot disk, check out this script.

ufsdump | ufsrestore

These two commands are used in concert to duplicate filesystems. Take a look at this script that uses ufsdump | ufsrestore to duplicate boot disks.


Copy /var and its contents to /var2:

find /var -depth -print | cpio -pudm /var2

Copy directory and its contents to tape:

ls -R | cpio -oVc > /dev/rmt/0

Copy tape backup back to directory:

cpio -icvD < /dev/rmt/0

Copy directories and files contained in the “list” to tape:

cpio -ov list > /dev/rmt/0

Restore data from tape while preserving timestamps:

cpio -icvum < /dev/rmt/0

Read contents of the tape:

cpio -ict < /dev/rmt/0

volcopy (Solaris-specific)

This example will copy the /export/home filesystem from disk c0t0d0 to disk c0t0d1

volcopy -F ufs /export/home  /dev/rdsk/c0t0d0s3 - /dev/rdsk/c0t0d1s3  -
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  • soccermaster1 says:

    WinRar v3.61 – Rar.Exe

    Archive name : C:BackupAccounts.Exe
    Files to be stored : E:Accounts*.* (also sub directories)
    Archive format : Rar
    Compression method : Best
    Split to volumes : 700 mb
    Update mode : Add & replace
    Archiving options : Create SFX archive
    Create solid archive
    Put authenticity verification
    Put recovery record
    Test archive files
    Lock archive
    NTFS options : Save file security
    Save file streams
    File paths : Store full paths
    Backup options : Clear attribute “Archive” after compressing
    File time to store : Store last access time
    Files to process : Of any time
    Set archive time to : Latest file time

  • dubmecrazy3 says:

    I have uploaded a .tar.gz file to a web server using FileZilla Client, but I want to know … is there a way to unzip/expand the file that I already uploaded? Because when I unzip it on the computer first it takes forever to upload. :(

    Help please :) Thanks!

  • Mr SoLo DoLo says:

    The commands are:


    CP –HELP

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