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rdiff-backup is a command line tool that backs up one directory to another, possibly over a network. The target directory ends up a copy of the source directory, but extra reverse diffs are stored in a special subdirectory of that target directory, so you can still recover files lost some time ago. The idea is to combine the best features of a mirror and an incremental backup. rdiff-backup also preserves subdirectories, hard links, dev files, permissions, uid/gid ownership, modification times, extended attributes, acls, and resource forks. Also, rdiff-backup can operate in a bandwidth efficient manner over a pipe, like rsync. Thus you can use rdiff-backup and ssh to securely back a hard drive up to a remote location, and only the differences will be transmitted. Finally, rdiff-backup is easy to use and settings have sensical defaults.


  • Step 1: Make sure you have librsync installed on your system. If not downlaod the package, extract the contents, and then execute the following commands:
make install
  • Step 2: Install rdiff-backup (you will need Python v2.2 or later)
python setup.py install

That's it! You are ready to start making regular backups.

Using rdiff-backup

  • In most cases, the command
rdiff-backup dir1 dir2

will work out-of-the-box to backup dir1 to dir2.

rdiff-backup dir1 user@system::/dir2

will backup dir1 to dir2 on a different system (provided rdiff-backup is installed on both systems). rdiff-backup also comes with a lot of up-to-date documentation.

See also

External links