Drakbackup

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Drakbackup follows along the same lines as the rest of Mandriva's easy to use wizard toolset. It takes away a lot of the confusing "system administrator speak" that sometimes goes along with utilities such as this, and replaces it with simple sentences that even the novice PC user can understand.

Let's take a look at drakbackup and go through the simple process of backing up your system using Mandriva's wizard for the "non-techie" computer user.


Contents

Step 1 - Launch the backup wizard

You can find Mandriva's backup utility by launching the Mandriva Control Center and clicking on the System tab. Scrolling down the window, you'll find the Backups icon.

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Clicking on the Backups icon launches the drakbackup utility, as seen here:

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Drakbackup gives you a few options on how to backup your system. You simply choose from the menu how detailed of a backup you wish to do.

Clicking on Wizard Configuration is the simplest solution. It will ask you if you wish to back up system files, user files, or both. Then it asks you for a destination, or where do you wish to backup to (hard drive, CD/DVD, or across a network).

In this demonstration, we'll choose Advanced Configuration - although advanced is still pretty darn simple to do.


Step 2 - Configure your backup setting

You now get a menu that is quite easy to understand. Here is where you tell Mandriva What you wish to backup, Where you wish to backup to, and When you want the backup to occur.

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Just click on each of the boxes, one at a time, and answer the questions Mandriva asks you.


Step 3 - What?

First up, is the What. In the screenshot shown above, click the What button and you'll be presented with this input screen:

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For this demonstration, I'll backup some of my System files, my User files and a few Other files. So, I'll just click on on the System button and tell Mandriva the system files I want it to backup for me.

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A nice thing about drakbackup is that the default settings are logical choices. So, if you're faced with a question (or setting) you don't quite understand, going with default is a pretty safe bet.

In the screenshot above, I've chosen to backup my /etc directory and left the incremental option selected. If you'd like a brief description on what each of the options mean, you can hover your mouse pointer over them and you'll get a pop-up box that summarizes what the option is all about.

When you're done, click the Save button and you'll return back to the previous screen.

Now we'll look at the User backup settings. I now click on the User button.

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I have two users currently on my system... my own user account and the "root" account. I'll leave both of these accounts checked off. But if you have more user accounts on your system, and you don't wish to backup all of them, you can uncheck the ones you'd like to omit.

I'll also go with the incremental backups here, as well. Then, I click the Save button to go back to the previous menu.

Now I'll include an additional directory to my backup, so I click the Other button.

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You can add any other additional directory from your system here by clicking the Add button, then using the tree view of your system's directory, highlight the directories you wish by clicking on them and Save them to your configuration.

The directories you have chosen will then appear in this window. As you can see here, I've added the /root directory to my backup. When I'm done, I click Save.

I'm done telling Mandriva What I want to backup, so when I get back to menu screen at the beginning of Step 3, I click Save.


Step 4 - Where?

Now we tell Mandriva where we wish to save our backup. From the Step 2 screen, click the Where button. You have a few choices, as shown in this menu:

image:backup_8.jpg

I'm going to save my backup to a USB hard drive I have plugged in to my PC. However, you can also burn your backup to CD/DVD, transfer it to another PC on a network, or copy it to a tape device.

For this demonstration, I will click on the Hard Drive button.

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I then need to tell Mandriva the path to the drive and the folder I wish the backup to be stored on/in, so I do that either typing in the path in the first box on this window, or I click on the icon of the folder and navigate to the drive and folder via the GUI directory tree view.

I can then specify the amount of storage space I wish to allocate for backups in the box below. But, I'll leave it at the default size (how much space is actually available on the USB drive).

When I'm done, I click on the Save button.

If you know a thing or two about compression formats you can specify such things by clicking on the More Options button in the Advanced Configuration menu. However, it's not something you're required to do.

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Again, if you don't know all that much about file compression, you can leave the defaults as they are and just click the Save button to proceed.

So, basically, we're all done with the configuration of our backup wizard. Upon your return of the What, Where, When screen, click the Save button once again. This will take you back to drakbackup's main menu screen.


Step 5 - Review and begin backup

We can now review our backup configuration by clicking on the View Configuration button.

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This screen simply shows you what you're about to do. Everything looks good, so I'll now click on the Backup button to begin the backup process.

The progress screen will now appear and keep me informed at how my backup is going. When the Total Progress bar reaches 100%, my backup is complete and I can then click the OK button.

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Our backup is now complete. When drakbackup finishes, it gives you a report on what files it was able to backup for you, as seen here:

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Just for good measure, I'll take a peek at the contents of the folder I told drakbackup to save the backup.

image:backup_14.jpg


Summary

Okay, so I now have a copy of my important folders and files stored away on my USB hard drive.

From all the other backup utilities I've tried, this was the most straight forward and easy to understand. Mandriva really does make system administration a task that most any novice (or expert) computer user can do with little effort, when compared to any other OS (Linux or otherwise).

But drakbackup is only one of many wizards available within Mandriva's MCC module; the gem that makes this Linux distribution stand out from all of the others.

Advanced -- Profiles

Backups can be a bit more flexible, and complex, by creating additional backup "profiles". The backup configured above is saved in a plain-text configuration file found at /etc/drakxtools/drakbackup/drakbackup.conf. By Clicking on File in the menu in the upper left-hand corner of the drakbackup window, a user can select Save profile as... and save the configuration with a descriptive name. For example, the configuration profile might be saved as daily_backup.conf.

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From there, simply configure this profile in the way described above making whatever changes are appropriate in the wizard configuration screens.

These changes would allow the user to, for example, backup only a specific directory of files everyday. The backup job could be configured to run as a separate cron job independently of any other backup jobs that are configured.

To edit this profile, the user would need to open drakbackup, click File in the upper-left hand menu, then click Load profile and select the configuration file to be edited in the dialog that appears.

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