12.9 Backups to Floppies

12.9.1 Can I Use Floppies for Backing Up My Data?

Floppy disks are not really a suitable media for making backups as:

However, if you have no other method of backing up your data then floppy disks are better than no backup at all.

If you do have to use floppy disks then ensure that you use good quality ones. Floppies that have been lying around the office for a couple of years are a bad choice. Ideally use new ones from a reputable manufacturer.

12.9.2 So How Do I Backup My Data to Floppies?

The best way to backup to floppy disk is to use tar(1) with the -M (multi volume) option, which allows backups to span multiple floppies.

To backup all the files in the current directory and sub-directory use this (as root):

# tar Mcvf /dev/fd0 *

When the first floppy is full tar(1) will prompt you to insert the next volume (because tar(1) is media independent it refers to volumes; in this context it means floppy disk).

Prepare volume #2 for /dev/fd0 and hit return:

This is repeated (with the volume number incrementing) until all the specified files have been archived.

12.9.3 Can I Compress My Backups?

Unfortunately, tar(1) will not allow the -z option to be used for multi-volume archives. You could, of course, gzip(1) all the files, tar(1) them to the floppies, then gunzip(1) the files again!

12.9.4 How Do I Restore My Backups?

To restore the entire archive use:

# tar Mxvf /dev/fd0

There are two ways that you can use to restore only specific files. First, you can start with the first floppy and use:

# tar Mxvf /dev/fd0 filename

The utility tar(1) will prompt you to insert subsequent floppies until it finds the required file.

Alternatively, if you know which floppy the file is on then you can simply insert that floppy and use the same command as above. Note that if the first file on the floppy is a continuation from the previous one then tar(1) will warn you that it cannot restore it, even if you have not asked it to!

Contact the Documentation mailing list for comments, suggestions and questions about this document.