rsync on Windows questions

Simon Hobson linux at
Fri Jul 1 08:12:19 UTC 2016

Fabian Cenedese <Cenedese at> wrote:

> I'm having problems with the user rights. The backup works
> ok but after restoring some files I can't access them.

That's to be expected.
NTFS has a very rich permissions system and rsync won't be capturing that. While it's a PITA, your best best is resetting permissions after restore. It's probably as 'simple' (for your own documents etc) to select the top level folder they are in, go to permissions, and have Windows re-apply them recursively - but as to the exact steps, I can't remember as Windows is something I avoid as much as I can get away with.

It's actually rather funny, but sad, that NTFS has a security model waaaaaay more capable and nuanced than most Unix systems (even some with ACLs) - yet until relatively recently, Windows didn't take advantage of this.

> And a second question: Do --copy-dest or --link-dest
> help on local targets? Or does this create even
> more stress on the disk?

I don't think NTFS supports hard links, and if it doesn't then link-dest won't work anyway.

Overall, while rsync is a good tool for many things, for backups in the Windows world it's probably not a good fit except for your own documents where it's "easy" to reset file permissions after a restore. Trying to do other than documents (ie the system and applications) is pretty well guaranteed to lead to security permissions screwed up to the point where it's not worth doing the backup in the first place.

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