How to Create Backups with Fsarchiver on Linux -

Fsarchiver is a free software utility that let us create file-level backups of one or multiple filesystems in a single archive. One big advantage of this kind of backup is that we can restore it on a filesystem smaller than the original one (but of course large enough to contain all the files); this is usually impossible when performing block-level backups, using tools like partclone or dd.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

If you want bare-metal backup and restore to work, DON’T exclude /dev and /proc or you will probably have to mkdir them from your live-cd restore environment before your system will boot as expected.

I run fsarchiver from the live system with no LVM (but I’m not running any databases like *sql) and it has been stable for years, countless restores to P2V with no issues - except before rebooting into the restored VM, you should modify certain files in /etc such as:

/etc/network/interfaces , etc/rc.local , etc/hostname , etc/hosts. And /etc/fstab if certain drives that would otherwise automount are not included in the VM.

Systemrescuecd** has fsarchiver built in and has been very handy for doing P2V to VMs and occasionally restoring bare-metal if an upgrade went sideways.

** distrowatch dot com/table.php?distribution=systemrescue

Regardless, always test your restores - in a VM if possible, otherwise to an external bootable USB or separate internal drive. Fsarchiver has proven more useful than tar because it stores all the metadata by default as part of the backed-up filesystem. (And it has compression and multi-cpu support.). It’s a wonderful free backup program for Linux.

www dot fsarchiver dot org/attributes/