Rsync - does it really do an *exact* copy?

martin aa martinaa at
Mon May 29 02:13:44 GMT 2006

Hi Rsync-ers

I'm simply using rsync to do an exact copy of my root (and home) partition by using the -aHv options.

When the copy is complete, I modify fstab so my root and home mount points are pointing to the newly copied partitions.

When I boot (into the new partitions), init and all the services start okay; however, when I get to "mgetty" and it passes control to "login" I get the following login error (logging in as root):

login: no shell: Permission denied.

which seems very peculiar given that:

(a) I'm logging in as root and I'm getting a "Permission denied"(!); and,
(b) the boot process works without a hitch; and,
(c) rsync is doing an exact copy.

Just to be sure it was rsync, I completed deleted my original root and home partitions (it's okay, it was a new installation) and then copied everything back (again using the -aHv options).  However, I ended up with exactly the same problem.

I can only conclude, therefore, that rsync does not make an _exact_ copy of the root partition as I first thought it would.  It also just seems very strange that it would fail at the point it has.

I've searched the web for that error message, but have been unable to find anything in regards to using rsync.

If anyone could please shed any light on what is happening here it would be most appreciated.

Thanks in advance, Martin

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