Solved Re: cp -ar to external harddrive

Bryan Hepworth bryan at
Mon Dec 12 17:55:47 UTC 2005

> On Tue, 2005-12-06 at 07:33 +0000, Bryan Hepworth wrote:
>> Hi Everyone
>> I'm trying to back up /home to an external hard drive (maxtor usb) and
>> wanted to keep the file permissions but when I do a
>> cp -ar /home /media/usb it complains about not being able to do the
>> permissions and they all go across as root instead.
>> Anyone know where I'm going wrong?
> Your USB drive is probably formatted as FAT32, which has no concept of
> file ownership or permissions.
> Options are to reformat the USB drive as a filesystem such as ext2 or
> ext3 that supports Unix-style owners and permissions, or to use a
> different tool to do the backup, such as tar, where the permissions can
> be encapsulated within the backup target file, e.g.
> cd /home; tar cf /media/usb/home.tar .
> Paul.
> -- 


Thanks for your suggestion - I re-jinked the harddrive to ext3 and 
everything is fine now. I couldn't get Fedora to re-do it though it kept on 
complaining when writing the fdisk changes so I eventually lost patience and 
used ubuntu on another machine to nuke the drive and get ext3 on it.

It's working exactly as planned now.

Thank you.


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