Copying one's home directory to an external hard disk

Todd Zullinger tmz at
Thu Nov 29 20:15:40 UTC 2007

Robin Laing wrote:
> With the cost of drives today, I would just use cp -a.  I have not
> used rsync so I cannot comment on that.

You owe it to yourself to try rsync, Robin. :)

For something like a backup of your home dir, it would be perfect.
The first run isn't much different than cp -a (except that you can use
options like --progress to get more details about the operation).  But
the second time you run it to update your files, there's a major
difference, since rsync will intelligently copy only the parts of the
files that are different between you home and your backup.  The
ability to include and exclude various files based on name or shell
globs is also incredibly useful for backups.

I use rsync a lot, even for copies on the same box.  It's one of those
tools that once you start using, you can't imagine not having (command
line crack, perhaps? :).

Todd        OpenPGP -> KeyID: 0xBEAF0CE3 | URL:
A prejudice is a vagrant opinion without any visible means of support.
    -- Ambrose Bierce

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