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Feature #12214

Feature #5301: Clone or backup system for the persistent volume

Document a way to manually backup persistent data

Added by intrigeri over 1 year ago. Updated 2 months ago.

Status:
In Progress
Priority:
Normal
Assignee:
Category:
Persistence
Target version:
Start date:
02/06/2017
Due date:
% Done:

0%

QA Check:
Ready for QA
Feature Branch:
segfault:doc/12214-persistence-backup
Type of work:
End-user documentation
Blueprint:
Starter:
Affected tool:

Description

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 wiki/src/doc/first_steps/persistence/copy.mdwn :)

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?

backup.mdwn - first_steps/persistence/backup.mdwn (1.9 KB) segfault, 02/13/2018 03:44 PM

Backup Documentation.png View (136 KB) segfault, 07/30/2018 12:39 PM


Related issues

Related to Tails - Feature #11627: Consider updating the default system partition's size Resolved 08/10/2016
Related to Tails - Feature #12705: Update the size of the system partition to >= 4 GiB Resolved 06/15/2017
Related to Tails - Feature #14624: Document how to migrate persistence to a new USB stick or update the system partitions of an existing device Confirmed 09/12/2017
Related to Tails - Feature #14605: Improve documentation on "Manually copying your persistent data to a new USB stick" Confirmed 09/05/2017
Related to Tails - Bug #10391: Useless step in https://tails.boum.org/doc/first_steps/persistence/copy/ Rejected 10/19/2015
Related to Tails - Bug #15685: Test manually creating a disk image as a backup technique Resolved 06/25/2018
Related to Tails - Feature #13457: Test backup script by a2 Confirmed 07/12/2017
Blocks Tails - Feature #15941: Core work 2018Q4 → 2019Q2: Technical writing Confirmed 09/11/2018

History

#1 Updated by sajolida over 1 year ago

I think it's a good idea. I'm happy to review plans of people interested
in working on this (or do it myself if I have the time).

#2 Updated by intrigeri over 1 year ago

  • Type of work changed from Discuss to End-user documentation

Thanks! I think that's all I needed to drop the "needs discussion" bit.

#3 Updated by cbrownstein over 1 year 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.mdwn
suggest installing Tails on the new device, which shouldn't be needed for backup purposes.

Comments?

#4 Updated by intrigeri over 1 year ago

  • Assignee set to sajolida
  • QA Check set to Info Needed

#5 Updated by sajolida over 1 year ago

#6 Updated by u over 1 year ago

cbrownstein wrote:

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.

Comments?

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

#7 Updated by cbrownstein over 1 year ago

  • Assignee changed from sajolida to cbrownstein

#8 Updated by Velexx over 1 year ago

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.

#9 Updated by Velexx over 1 year ago

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 over 1 year 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

and

... 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).

#11 Updated by sajolida over 1 year ago

  • Status changed from Confirmed to In Progress

#12 Updated by sajolida over 1 year ago

  • Related to Feature #11627: Consider updating the default system partition's size added

#13 Updated by intrigeri over 1 year ago

  • Related to Feature #12705: Update the size of the system partition to >= 4 GiB added

#14 Updated by u over 1 year ago

  • Related to Feature #5301: Clone or backup system for the persistent volume added

#15 Updated by sajolida over 1 year ago

#16 Updated by sajolida over 1 year ago

  • Related to deleted (Feature #5301: Clone or backup system for the persistent volume)

#17 Updated by sajolida over 1 year ago

  • Parent task set to #5301

#18 Updated by BitingBird about 1 year ago

  • Assignee changed from cbrownstein to spriver
  • Target version set to 2018

#19 Updated by BitingBird about 1 year ago

  • Subject changed from Consider documenting a way to manually backup persistent data to Document a way to manually backup persistent data

#20 Updated by BitingBird about 1 year ago

  • Assignee changed from spriver to segfault

#21 Updated by sajolida about 1 year ago

  • Related to Feature #14624: Document how to migrate persistence to a new USB stick or update the system partitions of an existing device added

#22 Updated by sajolida about 1 year ago

  • Related to Feature #14605: Improve documentation on "Manually copying your persistent data to a new USB stick" added

#23 Updated by sajolida about 1 year ago

  • Related to Bug #10391: Useless step in https://tails.boum.org/doc/first_steps/persistence/copy/ added

#24 Updated by u 9 months ago

Might also be worth looking at the proposal in #14605.

Segfault: do you still plan to work on this? If yes: fine. If not, maybe crbrownstein or spriver are interested?

#25 Updated by segfault 9 months ago

Segfault: do you still plan to work on this? If yes: fine. If not, maybe crbrownstein or spriver are interested?

Yes, but I don't know when I will have time for it. It would of course be great if someone else wanted to do it.

#26 Updated by intrigeri 8 months ago

#27 Updated by segfault 8 months ago

intrigeri wrote:

See a PoC Tails stick duplication script: https://mailman.boum.org/pipermail/tails-dev/2018-January/012008.html

The way I understand it, this ticket is not about shipping a custom backup solution, like these scripts are, but document a way to use existing tools to backup the persistent data. IMO, we should add a comment on #5301 about these scripts, and consider using them when working on #5301.

#28 Updated by segfault 8 months ago

  • File backup.mdwn added
  • Assignee changed from segfault to sajolida
  • QA Check changed from Info Needed to Ready for QA

I drafted something to document manually backing up to, and restoring from, an encrypted volume.

I took into account the remarks on #14605, which I find valid, and chose to document copying files using the root terminal instead of nautilus with root permissions. For the usage of the command line, I oriented myself on the documentation of how to check the file system of the persistent volume.

sajolida, would you mind reviewing this?

#29 Updated by sajolida 7 months ago

  • Blocks Feature #14758: Core work 2017Q4 → 2018Q1: Technical writing added

#30 Updated by sajolida 7 months ago

  • Blocks deleted (Feature #14758: Core work 2017Q4 → 2018Q1: Technical writing)

#31 Updated by sajolida 7 months ago

  • Blocks Feature #15411: Core work 2018Q2 → 2018Q3: Technical writing added

#32 Updated by sajolida 6 months ago

  • Assignee changed from sajolida to cbrownstein

Cody: I'm assiging this one to you as part of the big problem space "Persistent storage vs Backups".
Please check which parts of it are the best to tackle first.

#33 Updated by segfault 3 months ago

  • Related to Bug #15685: Test manually creating a disk image as a backup technique added

#34 Updated by segfault 3 months ago

Adding a screenshot of the resulting documentation page

#35 Updated by segfault 3 months ago

  • Feature Branch set to segfault:doc/12214-persistence-backup

Setting the feature branch. Documentation branches are based on master, right?

#36 Updated by cbrownstein 3 months ago

Hi!

segfault wrote:

Setting the feature branch. Documentation branches are based on master, right?

Correct.

I want to review your branch but I don't know where to pull it from. Alternatively, since only backup.mdwn is being modified, I can apply your changes to master then build and review that.

#37 Updated by segfault 3 months ago

I want to review your branch but I don't know where to pull it from.

My Tails repository is https://gitlab.com/segfault3//tails

#38 Updated by sajolida 2 months ago

  • Assignee changed from cbrownstein to sajolida
  • Target version changed from 2018 to Tails_3.9

Cody: if you don't mind I'll take over this problem space for some time since I've been working on #15685 lately.

#39 Updated by sajolida 2 months ago

  • Target version changed from Tails_3.9 to Tails_3.10

#40 Updated by u 2 months ago

#41 Updated by sajolida about 1 month ago

  • Blocks deleted (Feature #15411: Core work 2018Q2 → 2018Q3: Technical writing)

#42 Updated by sajolida about 1 month ago

  • Blocks Feature #15941: Core work 2018Q4 → 2019Q2: Technical writing added

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