rsync for transferring harddrive images

jw schultz jw at
Thu Oct 9 03:01:29 EST 2003

On Wed, Oct 08, 2003 at 01:14:37PM +0200, chris at wrote:
> Hi,
> I have a project where I have to backup (copy /dev/hda on a server) and
> recover (copy back) hardrives from the clients. I tried this with rsync
> using:
>   BACKUP:  rsync /dev/hda user at host:/path/to/image
>   RECOVER: rsync user at host:/path/to/image /dev/hda
> There is a problem when accessing devices like /dev/hda. The transfer
> aborts after a few seconds with the error message:
>   write failed on /dev/hda: Success
>   unexpected EOF in read timeout
> Any suggestions?
> Also I want to save those images zipped at the server. Is this possible? I
> thought of using a pipe or a fifo. Can the algorithm of rsync work
> correctly then?

Rsync sees /dev/hda as a device special file in the /dev
directory.  Rsync cannot operate on block devices.  Device
nodes are a little like symlinks in that a decision must be
made whether to operate on the the device (follow the link)
or simply copy the node.

Rsync also does not support having the source and
destination not be bit-for-bit the same, including size
so you cannot sync an uncompressed file with a compressed

It may be there is another utility that can do what you
wish.  Perhaps pysync could be tweaked (significant tweak)
to do it.  To do it with rsync you would need to copy the
device into a file prior to sycing, perhaps using bzip2
on it.

	J.W. Schultz            Pegasystems Technologies
	email address:		jw at

		Remember Cernan and Schmitt

More information about the rsync mailing list