Feature #5301: Clone or backup system for the persistent volume
Document a way to manually backup persistent data
We want to have a good backup system for persistent data (#5301). Some progress has been made on this front since 1.5 years, but it's unclear when we can actually implement it. Meanwhile, how about we spend the smallest possible amount of time documenting how to do such backups by hand? I've been requested that several times recently, and so far neither users requesting it nor I had realized that… most of the work is already done in
So it seems that a low-hanging fruit, with a pretty good cost/benefit ratio, is waiting to be picked: we could expand a little bit the scope of that page existing page, just enough to satisfy this additional use case (that I can specify more clearly if needed), and then link it from
wiki/src/doc/first_steps/persistence.mdwn in a way that makes users aware of it.
What do you think?
#3 Updated by cbrownstein 7 months ago
I'm thinking: Should we detail (1) the process for creating a LUKS partition on a new device; and (2) how to copy persistent files to that LUKS partition? The instructions in
wiki/src/doc/first_steps/persistence/copy.mdwnsuggest installing Tails on the new device, which shouldn't be needed for backup purposes.
I'm thinking: Should we detail (1) the process for creating a LUKS partition on a new device; and (2) how to copy persistent files to that LUKS partition? The instructions in [...] suggest installing Tails on the new device, which shouldn't be needed for backup purposes.
This sounds like a good idea to me. However, both types of copy might be needed: some people will want to have an external backup, others will want to have a copy of their entire Tails device.
There could be two type of instructions:
- using the command line
- using GUI tools
I personally always need a way to backup my data as the #1 rule of data security, even more important than all the encryption and anonymity stuff. It can't wait. Having all my data on just one flash drive is intolerable: for example may God help me if I ever forget to eject it before I unplug it.
So even though I'm just a beginner to linux, here's what I worked out and use:
I have a secondary USB tails stick with plenty of extra space on it as 'persistent' space set up.
I plug that in when I'm already running my primary copy of Tails and enter the password to decrypt it.
It opens up as a 'TailsData' drive.
Then I enter a command similar to this one (mine is modified a bit for my own situation) in my root terminal (cause I hate the non-root one) to copy a few things of interest to me and keep them safe:
cp -uvr /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/bookmarks /media/amnesia/TailsData/ ; cp -uvr /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/icedove /media/amnesia/TailsData/ ; cp -uvr /home/amnesia/Persistent /media/amnesia/TailsData/
Which will also perform updates instead of recopying the same files.
It works great except that:
1. it tends to create the new directories and backups without further access, so if/when I don't like that I hit it with this command:
chmod -R 777 /media/amnesia/TailsData/bookmarks /media/amnesia/TailsData/icedove /media/amnesia/TailsData/Persistent
2. if I load Tails off the secondary USB stick the persistent volume doesn't work within booting the secondary Tails: from checking little files created there Tails seems to somehow detect that the Persistent volume has been interfered with and disable it for the Tails boot. But the secondary copy of Tails serves me as on OS backup, and the persistent volume still works as a plugin when loaded within the primary Tails, so they are both functional for me even if they don't work together at the same time.
If it helps me, maybe it helps someone else too.
UPDATE: I just realized that the following command to backup everything persistent, from primary Tails currently running to secondary USB stick of Tails mounted for its with persistent encrypted space, might work if secondary free space is not limiting; I can't test it now because my secondary USB stick is too small:
cp -uvr /live/persistence/TailsData_unlocked/*.* /media/amnesia/TailsData/
(Like I said, I'm new)
And the reason I prefer the root terminal is I hate having to ask for permission on my own computer. :)
#10 Updated by cbrownstein 6 months ago
Thank you for the input, Velexx. I think users familiar with the command line (like yourself) could use something along the lines of what you've proposed. But, users unfamiliar with the command line might have a problem.
In #12109, sajolida made the following comments, which I think make a lot of sense:
We usually try to avoid as much as possible having people to do stuff on the command line; and when we do so, we try to keep it as simple as possible
... from my experience with people who are not used to the command line, it's usually fine for them to copy paste stuff in there blindly but one of the most confusing aspect is that successful commands do not return anything (silence means success).