Learn how easy it is to sync an existing GitHub or Google Code repo to a SourceForge project! See Demo

Close

Sbackup can silently eat your backups!!!

Help
2009-05-02
2013-02-05
  • kcramakrishna
    kcramakrishna
    2009-05-02

    First - congratulations to the team for a wonderful tool which I rely on daily to take backups. Kudos to them but I also wish to bring to attention a very dangerous situation where the tool can loose backups !!!

    I also strongly urge a status bar tied to the new notification system in Jaunty.

    Sbackup ate my backups.
    This happened when I was doing a clean install of Jaunty by removing Hardy.

    1. I use the tool 'Simple Backup and restore' regularly.
    2. I had configured it to store the backup files into an external hard drive named "KC".
    3. I took a full backup the first time I used this tool (almost a year back) and tested it by restoring from the backup and everything worked fine.
    4. I have been backing up (incremental backups) regularly at least once a fortnight. I look at the processes to verify and have noticed that the tar and gz processes run as expected.
    4. I also took a backup just before formatting.
    5. After formatting, when I tried recovering, I realised that the last backup in the hard drive was about 3-4 months back.

    So what happened to all the backup files ???? I think I solved the mystery ......Read on to know.

    1. My external drive is named "KC" and when mounted is accessible via "/media/KC"
    1.1 I configured 'Simple Backup and restore' to backup to "/media/KC".
    2. About 3-4 months, back, I clicked on backup without noticing that my external drive was not attached.
    2.1 Half way thorough the backup, I realised it, aborted the backup, attached the external drive and started the backup again.
    3. Unknown to me, the 'Simple Backup and restore' tool did a very dangerous thing. When the external drive was not attached, it went ahead an created a directory called "KC" in "/media".
    4. So, when I attached the external drive, Ubuntu mounted it to "/media/KC_" - notice the underscore in "KC_".
    5. Since 'Simple Backup and restore' was configured to use "/media/KC", it happily backed up everything to my laptop harddrive and not my external drive.
    6. When I formatted my harddrive, I lost all backups in "/media/KC".
    7. I should have done a simple copy/paste of the important folders from hard disk to external drive but my supreme confidence in SBackup and my inherent stupidity made me decide against it and I paid the price.

    Please be very careful when taking backups and do try a restore at least once a month. These kind of stupid problems can be easily detected and corrected by doing a test restore to a different PC or distro every month or so. I had Fedora on a separate partition. If I had tried a restore in Fedora, I would have found this error during the restore. (Don't try on the same machine/partition as it will restore perfectly.)

    This story has a happy ending - I used testdisk to recover data from the deleted partition. I used testdisk to also recover backups files from my laptop harddrive.

    I am lucky to have recovered all my data but I strongly urge the developers to rethink this feature of sBackup silently creating directories. I would recommend that you pop up a message to confirm new directory creation and any such actions which can result in unintended consequences. Better still, force the user to create a directory explicitly i.e. not just clicking on "OK" but force him/her to type the folder name. This will not be a very big usability issue as we don't create/change backup directories often. This will further reduce accidents like mine.

     
    • I am aware of this problem. I have been preparing a bugfix version for some time fixing this bug and segmenting backups into <4Gb chunks to help people that backup to FAT32 filesystems. The backup part is working, but I still have not put enough free time together to get the restore tools working with the slightly changed backup format.

      The new version of SBackup will only create the folder when the user selects it from the GUI interface. If the destination folder does not exist, the backup will not take place.

      I should also be able to use the new notification system to give minimal status updates about the backup. They have finally added a simple command line tool to send notifications without having to add dbus complexity to a backup tool.

       
    • Randy N.
      Randy N.
      2009-05-12

      I have an issue with my Ubuntu (8.10) system.  I had an older external USB drive that I wanted to backup to, that didn't have enough room, and or the FAT32 thing messed it up. 

      I didn't realize until after it had sat overnight backing up that the other drive was a FAT32. I thought the program had locked up so I killed it.

      I also tried Home Backup. (not trying to place blame on any program, but just trying to figure out how to un-do what I did done) ....

      Well. Now my hard drive is acting more like a CD-ROM than a Drive, and I can't get anything to act right. I change file permissions, I try to get online with FireFox, but when it tries to write to the hard drive it crashes. 

      I'm able to access my file system, and log on, etc, but nothing seems to "stick" It's really strange.  - I have other partitions that have other Distro's on them, and a Thumb drive. But this is something that I didn't expect. :0

      I was just trying to find something to get my home dir saved so I would feel comfortable with a backup done, so I could do an Ubuntu upgrade.  At this point,  I'm not sure what's happened.

      Any ideas or clues as to what can be done would be awesome. :)

       
      • It sounds to me like your drive is full... what does the "df" command tell you ?

         
        • Randy N.
          Randy N.
          2009-05-13

          Says it's full. But every time I try to delete something, it fills back up. !??!? LOL! Wassup with that? 
          I'm not a Linux Guru so I'm not sure whats going on.  Weird!

          Filesystem           1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
          tmpfs                  1032708    243260    789448  24% /
          tmpfs                  1032708        68   1032640   0% /dev
          /dev/sda1            234418848 226119708         0 100% /media/sda1       <- looks Full to me.
          /dev/sdc5            312484256 154115136 158369120  49% /media/sdc5
          /dev/sda3             39571276   6375048  31186112  17% /media/disk-1
          /dev/sdd1               247988     87990    159998  35% /media/disk
          /dev/sdd1               247988     87990    159998  35% /media/sdd1

           
        • Randy N.
          Randy N.
          2009-05-13

          OK.  Large Backup file found in my \var\backup dir.  Deleted. I don't think that anything is running in the background to create a new one. 

           
    • Randy N.
      Randy N.
      2009-05-12

      I have an issue with my Ubuntu (8.10) system.  I had an older external USB drive that I wanted to backup to, that didn't have enough room, and or the FAT32 thing messed it up. 

      I didn't realize until after it had sat overnight backing up that the other drive was a FAT32. I thought the program had locked up so I killed it.

      I also tried Home Backup. (not trying to place blame on any program, but just trying to figure out how to un-do what I did done) ....

      Well. Now my hard drive is acting more like a CD-ROM than a Drive, and I can't get anything to act right. I change file permissions, I try to get online with FireFox, but when it tries to write to the hard drive it crashes. 

      I'm able to access my file system, and log on, etc, but nothing seems to "stick" It's really strange.  - I have other partitions that have other Distro's on them, and a Thumb drive. But this is something that I didn't expect. :0

      I was just trying to find something to get my home dir saved so I would feel comfortable with a backup done, so I could do an Ubuntu upgrade.  At this point,  I'm not sure what's happened.

      Any ideas or clues as to what can be done would be awesome. :)

       
  • mrbhave
    mrbhave
    2009-10-17

    Randy, have you looked at the .Trash-1000 folder?  When you delete a file on a usb drive in Ubuntu, it generally gets moved to this folder (rather than being permanently deleted).  You can also unmount the drive after deleting items (this will prompt you to permanently delete the items that are marked for deletion).