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UNIX Scripting FAQ

Tips and Tricks

Fast Personal Backup by gamerland
Posted: 24 Apr 03

If you are going to make a number of changes or just want to backup your own home directory as needed, I came across this utility (GPL) to do it.  While it can be modified to do different types of backups, in its simpliest form, you run it and it  creates a backup "snapshot" of your directory.  Works great:

I put the code here in case it should disappear.  Please DOWNLOAD it from the link to ensure you have the most recent copy.

Also, do your sysadmin a favor, and do not backup things that get caught in the normal backup.  

#! /bin/sh
#                         F L A S H B A C K
#                         -----------------
#                           by John Walker
#                      http://www.fourmilab.ch/
#   Ever accidentally typed something like "rm * .o" after
#   a busy day's productive editing?  FLASHBACK makes
#   snapshots of the directory you're working in (and any
#   subdirectories) to a common backup directory from which
#   you can restore clobbered files as required.  FLASHBACK
#   reports the size of the backup directory after adding
#   the new backup so you'll know when it's time to get rid
#   of old backups.
#   WHERE is the directory in which you want backups to be kept.
#   This should ideally be on an NFS (or whatever) mounted
#   location on a different machine than the one you usually
#   work on or, failing that, a file system stored on a
#   different physical device than the one you usually edit
#   within.
#   Unless you want to fiddle with how flashback names its
#   files or creates backups, you shouldn't have to change
#   anything below this comment.
#   Working directory translated to backup file name
WHAT=`echo $PWD | tr / - | sed s:-::`
#   ISO 8601 date and time
WHEN=`date +%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M-%S`
#   Extension to append to backup archives to indicate file type
#   Command used to back up files.  If you don't want to back up
#   subdirectories, you'll need to create a list of non-directories
#   with find and feed that to tar (or whatever archive tool you use).
WHO="tar cfv - ."
#   If the backup directory doesn't exist, ask if the user
#   wants to create it.
if [ ! -d $WHERE ]
    echo Backup directory $WHERE does not exist.
    echo -n "Would you like to create it (y/n) ? "
    read confirm
    if [ "$confirm" = "y" -o "$confirm" = "Y" ]
        echo mkdir $WHERE
        mkdir $WHERE
        if [ ! -d $WHERE ]
            echo Unable to create backup directory $WHERE -- exiting.
            exit 1
        echo Backup aborted.
        exit 1
#   Okay, let 'er rip
if [ $? != 0 ]
    echo $0: Error creating backup.
    exit 1
#   Make the backup read-only to prevent tragedy if you
#   fat-finger "c" for "v" when extracting with tar.
chmod 444 $WHERE/$WHAT-$WHEN$HOW
#   Now obtain the size of the backup directory and let the
#   user know, just in case it's time for some housekeeping.
#   This command assumes a System V style "du" with the "-k"
#   option; if you're using a BSD-style system, such as SunOS
#   4.x, you'll have to modify the following command.  "du -s"
#   should work on most systems.
HOWMUCH=`du -sk $WHERE | cut -f1`
echo $0: $HOWMUCH kbytes in $WHERE
exit 0

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