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Backups

I use Borg for my current active backup on my laptop. Since the laptop is only schoolwork, there isn't a ton of other files to copy.

Borg has a few cool features:

  • Incremental backups only copy the differences
  • Ability to mount the backups easily for recovery

For my desktop, I use good old tar files generally for system setup. All important data on this system is generally copied to one of many external drives.

I used to use Syncthing, to sync files across my systems. I later switched to unison over ssh through my own VPN. I now just use rsync for simplicity and speed.

I have various drives, some old, some new holding backups. Critical things like family documents are redundant on my drive, at least 2 externals, and an encrypted copy on Backblaze B2.

Old drives with bad partitions are generally retired and become permanent backups after I load an important collection and leave it. I try to power them up twice a year to ensure they still work.

I use PAR2 to create parity files. I do this for both TAR and ZPAQ. I have 2 options: use files/folders and if bitrot happens, only lose 1 file, or use archives/containers, where bitrot can kill everything. However, using parity with 5% prevention should be enough to protect the entire archive.

If I have to encrypt anything, I use AES256 with GPG. If there is a fault in AES, lets be real, everyone will be screwed anyways.

Compression

I used to use XZ for compressing tar files. As of 2021-01, I have switched to ZStandard since it offers the same or slightly better ratio with -22, with MUCH faster decompression.

I will try to do a larger writeup and comparison in the future.

For compressing large amounts of files for archiving, where I won't need frequent random access, I use zpaq -m4. m5 is better but also takes forever. ZPAQ is particularly good if there are lots of duplicates.

For folders with large duplicates I rarely need, I am testing out dwarfs, since it hits a good ratio with -l7 (which uses zstd -22) and allows random access. Anything above -7 segfaults for me.

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