ComTech: IT Support Stirling

How to schedule a backup in Linux Mint 12

Today I will show you how to schedule a backup in Linux Mint 12 so that your precious data is safe.

Linux Mint 12 comes with the Backup Tool shown below which allows you to backup your data and software installed on the system but unfortunately it doesn’t allow you to schedule backups.  For that we need the cron daemon.

The cron daemon uses the crontab file  (think Task Scheduler in Windows) which allows you to set the backup schedule.  The beauty of using cron is that it works ON ALL LINUX DISTRIBUTIONS not just Linux Mint. You don’t need to install cron as it comes installed by default.

Ok time to get your hands dirty.  Open up a terminal and type “su” and when prompted enter your root password.  Next you want to open up the crontab file.

Next type “gedit /etc/crontab” in a terminal.  The crontab file should look similar to the table below.


M H Dom Mon Dow User Command
1 9 * * * Root Tar -cvf/media/dev/sdb/backup.tar /home


M = minutes

H = hours

Dom = every day in the month

Mon = every month

Dow = every day of week (e.g 1-5 would be Monday to Friday inclusive)

User = user who can perform this task

Command = what is getting backed up and where is it getting sent to

So in the above example I have backed up a folder called home (/home) to a folder called backup.tar which is on sdb (/dev/sdb/backup.tar) at 1 minute past 9 everyday in the month, every month.  The authorised user is root and the command to be used is tar -cvf.

When you have configured the crontab file save it and exit.  Your backup schedule is now set.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

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