Verifying backups

Ronald F. Guilmette rfg at
Wed Sep 30 21:18:43 UTC 2015

In message <560C4A51.4040702 at>, 
Kevin Korb <kmk at> wrote:

>First off, --fileflags --force-change are not in my man rsync so I
>don't know what those are.

These are probably (Free)BSD specific.  Here's what the man page says:

	--fileflags             preserve file-flags (aka chflags)
	--force-change          affect user/system immutable files/dirs

>Second, you should look into using either ZFS subvolume snapshots or
>rsync --link-dest to maintain multiple backups.

Thank you, but I have no real interest in switching to ZFS just now.

>Now, for your actual question...
>Add --itemize-changes to your standard command line.  -v is almost
>entirely useless without it anyway.

Thanks!  I certainly did not know about that option!

>To figure out and fix what is corrupt you have 2 paths:
>1. Add --checksum for a single pass.  This will take forever as rsync
>checksums everything even things it shouldn't expect to match (even
>things that are only on one end!).  Anything that checksum finds that
>rsync wouldn't have otherwise found would have a 'c' but not a 't'.

I don't understand what you mean about 'c' and 't'.  Are you talking
about what will appear in the (itemized) change log?  I am guessing so.

>2.  Add --ignore-times for a single pass.

NOW I am REALLY confused!  I don't understand at all what the functional
difference is between these two options:

	-c, --checksum              skip based on checksum, not mod-time & size
	-I, --ignore-times          don't skip files that match size and time

Could you please explain?  Both of these options would seem to me to have
exactly the same/identical effect.

>...  Normally this doesn't take
>as long as --checksum.  However, since you are using an external USB
>device which means you are also using --whole-file...

No, I am *not* using the --whole-file option.  Indeed, up until this
moment, I didn't even know that option existed!  I thank you for
bringing it to my attention.  Now I plan to be using --whole-file
in future when making all of my backups.  (Because most of the files
I back up are binary media files, I think that the delta algorithm
is not really saving me that much in terms of run-time.)

Having said that however, I need also to say that your comment (just
above) is, for me, puzzling and downright cryptic.  Yes, I am doing
my backups to an external USB-connected device.  But what has that
fact got to do with the --whole-file option?  I see no obvious
connection at all.

>... this will probably be even slower than --checksum.

Why would using the --whole-file option during my attempts to verify
my backup files cause things to run even slower?  (This is not at
all obvious.)

>Either way, you need to get your system writing files correctly.

Oh yes, clearly.  I believe (for now) that simply having proper cooling
applied to the external drive in question may be sufficient to prevent
corruption of files put on the drive in futire.  (I did run one of the
LONG built-in drive self-test passes on this drive after I found that
some files on it had been corrupted, but results from that were 100% OK.
So I think the drive perhaps just got a bit flaky during a time when I
*did not* have an small utility fan right next to it and pointing at it.
I _do_ have that now.)

Thank you for all of your detailed responses.


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