Automatically Backing up a USB Drive with RSYNC (KDE)

USB Drives of all kinds need to be backed up and the best backup is an automatic one (it’s the only way to make sure that it gets done!).

So here is one recipe for doing just that using RSYNC and some BASH scripting magic.

I’ve split this into two files. You don’t have to do this of course and one may well be better for you. I used two because I can run the second one manually as well. Put everything in if you want to backup each drive individually, however, note that KDE produces an annoying extra dialog (a security warning) asking if you really want to run the autorun.

    This resides in the root of the USB drive and is executed automatically by KDE when the drive is detected (though not if the drive is attached when booting)
    This is a bit of a nasty hack, I have manually configured a list of drives that might be attached so that I can back them all up together. Not elegant but it works for me.


# KDE will automatically run an executable file called: .autorun, autorun or (in that order)
# Alternatively, a non-executable file called .autoopen or autoopen can contain a file name
# of a non-executable file on the media which will be opened with the default app for that file.
# See:

# Also see:
# for some interesting ideas

# Where are we running from? e.g. /media/usbpen1
mediaDir=$(echo $0|sed 's/autorun//')

kdialog --title "USB Drive Backup" --yesno "I'd like to backup the USB drives, can I?"
if [ $? = 0 ]; then
echo " OK Selected, I'm going"
echo "Autobackup run: `date`" >usb-linux-auto-backup.log
exec ~/bin/
echo " Cancel selected, so do nothing - bye."
#! /bin/bash


echo "Starting USB Backup: `date`"
echo "Starting USB Backup: `date`" >~/Backups/usb-backup-manual.log

# From
# To

dcopRef=`kdialog --progressbar "Starting backup - press cancel to stop further processing (no next step)" 4`
dcop $dcopRef showCancelButton true

#until test "true" == `dcop $dcopRef wasCancelled`; do
for f in "CF2G1" "SD1G1" "USBPEN1" "USBPEN2"
dcop $dcopRef setLabel "Backing up $MNT/$f  ==>  $TO"
echo "--------------------------------------"
echo "$f  ==>  $TO"
inc=$((`dcop $dcopRef progress` + 1))
sleep 2
if [ -e $MNT/$f ]; then
  dcop $dcopRef setProgress $inc
  RSCMD="rsync --recursive --times --delete-during --stats --human-readable -h $MNT/$f $TO"
  echo $RSCMD
  echo $RSCMD  >>~/Backups/usb-backup-manual.log
  dcop $dcopRef setLabel "RSYNC for $f finished"
  dcop $dcopRef setProgress $inc
  dcop $dcopRef setLabel "$MNT/$f not mounted"
  echo "$MNT/$f not mounted"
  echo "$MNT/$f not mounted"  >>~/Backups/usb-backup-manual.log
echo "======================================="
sleep 2

dcop $dcopRef close

echo "End: `date`"
echo "End: `date`" >>~/Backups/usb-backup-manual.log

Note the use of KDialog to provide a minimal GUI. In the second file, KDialog produces a progress bar.

Also note the RSYNC parameters. These are always painful to get to grips with so it is nice to have an example to work from. In this case I am backing up so I am making sure that the backup is an exact copy of the original (as opposed to synchronising which would allow changes to happen on either side).

Enabling VirtualBox access to USB ports (OpenSUSE 11.0)

By default, OpenSUSE 10 & 11 come preconfigured WITHOUT usbfs active. Unlike Ubuntu, everything is ready to go but the fstab setting is “noauto” so it doesn’t seem to get loaded even when VirtualBox wants it.

The fix for this is simple and is listed in the VirtualBox User FAQ. In “/etc/fstab” change the line for usbfs to:

 usbfs /proc/bus/usb usbfs auto,busgid=XXX,busmode=0775,devgid=XXX,devmode=0664 0 0 

Where XXX is the group id of the vboxusers group which can be discovered in YAST or from the command line:

 grep vboxusers /etc/group 

That’s it, no other changes should be needed.
Now mount it with:

 mount usbfs

(All of these commands and edits have to be done by root or sudo).
OpenSUSE 11.0 does not automatically mount the usbfs on reboot so either do it manually after a reboot and before using VirtualBox or find a way to activate it automatically (and let me know hey? 😉

Update 2008-08-17: Thanks to “timdor” from the OpenSUSE Forums who lets me know a way of automatically mounting usbfs.
“To mount usbfs at boot add ‘mount usbfs‘ without the quote marks to /etc/init.d/boot.local“. Thanks timdor.