Learning how to Back up a Raspberry Pi using rsync

As I started to develop on a Raspberry Pi under Raspbian I needed to find a way to back up the system I’m working on.

I will try to set up this using the linux command rsync.

Install rsync

If not yet installed just run this command:

sudo apt-get install rsync

Set up File to Exclude Directories not Needed

Excluded from a backup should be (* will have those directories created on the target media but kept empty):


Name this file rsync-exclude.txt and put it in a directory you might call backup in your /home/pi directory.

Using rsync Manually

For now I want to run rsync manually from a remote Computer via ssh as I am still in development and want to manually keep track of my snap shots.

The basic rsync syntax is:


The option -a takes care that all rights and users are transferred to the target medium.

To backup my Pi that I access by SSH from remote to an attached USB storage I use this command:

sudo rsync -aHv --delete --exclude-from=backup/rsync-exclude.txt / /mnt/backupdirectory

Make sure that you have mounted the USB device before to /mnt by the following commands.

Find out your devices’ name:

sudo fdisk -l

You will find something like /dev/sdb1 as the name of your device. Then mount it using that name:

sudo mount /dev/sdb1(e.g.) /mnt


Resources I’ve Been Using to Learn This:




in German: https://wiki.ubuntuusers.de/rsync/

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