Backup and restore a specified set of files and directories to local disk or tape

Author: name contact BSD flavour

Reviewer: name contact BSD flavour

Reviewer: name contact BSD flavour


Admins should have experience using common Unix command line backup utilities. In addition, be able to recognize the device names for tape devices on BSD systems.


The common command-line backup utilities are tar, cpio, pax, cp, dd, and dump/restore. (Details on using the dd, dump, and restore utilities are covered in the following section Backup and restore a file system.)

TODO: explain differences and similarities between tools.

TODO: basic usage of tar with examples

TODO: basic usage of cpio with examples

TODO: basic usage of pax with examples

TODO: basic usage of using cp for backups with examples

Also the cpdup program is included with DragonFly and is available via NetBSD pkgsrc and FreeBSD ports packages collections (TODO: not in openbsd -- anyone want to package it?)

TODO: if there is room, quickly list other third-party backup tools (but not examples or usage details)?

Common device names for tape drivers include: st, the SCSI and ATAPI tape driver; sa, the SCSI Sequential Access device driver.

Note it is recommended that the raw interface (not block) is used, such as /dev/rst0. (TODO: maybe the recommendation is not applicable for FreeBSD or other??) (TODO: mention no-rewind like nrst0 or nsa0? , eject on close like erst0 or esa0??)


Practice Exercises

More information

tar(1), cpio(1), pax(1), cp(1), cpdup(1)