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How would you like to backup your Linux and Windows machines? There's a huge amount of available backupsoftware.

Which one fits best?

Well, that depends.

I prefer it simple and I want full control. No proprietary fileformats, no packed archives, no tapes and no clumsy GUI to deal with.

Linux backup

On the Linux side I have been using rsync for backups for over an decade now - it just works. In combination with hardlinks it is easy to retain daily, weekly, monthly and even quaterly backup sets.

Restores are really fast - pick the desired file(s) and copy them where ever you want.

Back in the early days I wrote my own rsync wrapper scripts, inspired by Mike Rubels rsync snapshots (

Later on I learned about the existence of rsnapshot ( and since then I've been using it, too.

Wouldn't it be cool to use the same principle on Windows? Fortunately that's really possible. But it requires a bit of fiddling.

Windows backup

Besides rsync there is a tool from Microsoft which comes close to rsync (but it is not the same): robocopy.

What's needed to use rsync on Windows for your backups:

  • rsync for Windows (part of Cygwin)
  • a bunch of scripts to wrap the logic
  • some useful, but optional tools from Microsoft for extended features
    • vshadow64.exe/vshadow32.exe (to make use of the Volume Shadow Copy Service)
    • dosdev.exe (to assign a drive letter to a Volume Shadow Copy)

I found two solutions on the net, which might do exactly what I want:

Both are a bit dusty now, but that shouldn't be a fundamental problem.

backup.txt · Last modified: 2013-12 by tb
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