How should I be using rsync with FAT32/VFAT

Kevin Korb kmk at
Tue Jan 16 18:51:50 UTC 2018

You don't have to change the system setting just change the TZ env
variable in the terminal you run rsync in.

On 01/16/2018 01:30 PM, John Long via rsync wrote:
> Thanks a lot, Kevin.
> I have a new Linux box and tried to set it to UTC but I think gnome
> outsmarted me...
> I'll use -rt and maybe ignore timestamps entirely rather than the
> window. If I find something wrong on the USB stick I can always copy it
> again. I love the -c option, but it takes forever on slow media.
> John
> On Tue, 2018-01-16 at 13:27 -0500, Kevin Korb via rsync wrote:
>> #1 yes, you should use -rt instead of -a as everything else in -a is
>> incompatible with vfat.
>> #2 timestamps will always be a problem on vfat.  It has a 1 or 2
>> second
>> resolution so --modify-window=2 is a common solution.  However, if
>> you
>> live somewhere that has yearly clock changes (we call it daylight
>> savings time) those will cause the timestamps to be off by an hour on
>> top of the 1-2 second problem.
>> The only potential solution I have ever found for #2 is to always run
>> rsync in a time zone that does not have clock changes (ie env TZ=UTC
>> rsync --modify-window=2 ....)  This way rsync will copy the
>> timestamps
>> using the same interpretation of what they mean.
>> On 01/16/2018 12:48 PM, John Long via rsync wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> I have been using rsync for over ten years. Thank you! It is a
>>> great
>>> tool.
>>> Recently I had the misfortune to have to use it to sync files to a
>>> USB
>>> stick that is for a platform that only supports FAT32.
>>> After missing the point a few times and having it copy some of the
>>> same
>>> directories and files needlessly I saw the timestamps on the source
>>> files (in reasonable filesystems like JFS, XFS, etc.) were a few
>>> seconds different from those on the VFAT filesystem on the USB
>>> check.
>>> Looking around the net this is a popular issue with FAT32 and
>>> people
>>> get around it by ignoring timestamps or by using -rt instead of the
>>> usual -a
>>> Do you have recommendations on the best way to keep file trees in
>>> sync
>>> when one of them is FAT32 and the other is a real filesystem?
>>> Thanks,
>>> John Long

	Kevin Korb			Phone:    (407) 252-6853
	Systems Administrator		Internet:
	FutureQuest, Inc.		Kevin at  (work)
	Orlando, Florida		kmk at (personal)
	Web page:
	PGP public key available on web site.

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