About a year or so back I only had a desktop, then came a compaq laptop and then came a eee 1000H netbook, and as I moved from one computer to another, I had to endure pain of moving my stuff across them, honestly by far I did them only manually…yes :-s Recently a friend dropped the name “rsync”, I had heard about it but it never really hit me how useful it could be.

Long story short, another solid reason why I love linux: rsync, baby!

Here’s a scenario, I have a netbook with my user folder sindhu that I want to sync with the user folder on my desktop named sindhu, here’s how I did it…

Step 1: (Assuming you are using Gnome on Ubuntu) Fire up your synaptic package manager as root and get “grsync” (it should automatically get ssh installed as well, but if you have already have it installed then do a sudo /etc/init.d/ssh start and turn it on from your gnome-terminal)

Step 2: The installed Grsync should show up under Internet submenu in Ubuntu Menu

Step 3: Run it, make sure you have ssh running like I said before and then find out the ip of your computer that you want to sync to, i usually know my internal IP by checking in connection information under the wifi icon, yes of course for those still wondering you computers must be connected in some way!

Step 4: see screenshot, you should be getting some idea!

screenshot-grsync-backing_up_home
Grsync screenshot

As you can see the whole thing is self explanatory, I can save my “session” by clicking Add, my internal IP is 192.168.1.3, the other options I have set are to give me more information on the transfer, here’s another screenshot…

screenshot-grsync-backing_up_home_tab2
Grsync showing Advanced Options tab

see? How I excluded my “.” hidden files and directories of the user folder from being copied? why? I mean I could want to sync those also, but my netbook has jaunty and desktop is still inteprid besides I use emerald on netbook and metacity on desktop, so it’s best I leave their settings seperate, that’s why am excluding my settings from being copied. Similarly I have choosen to exclude my Dropbox folder (its a service that autosyncs across computers anyway :P)

If you want to learn more command line options that you can pass to suit your needs of backup/sync you must check out this wiki.

Step 5: One you are done setting the options, click “Execute”, it will ask you the password to the user’s account on the computer you are trying to sync to, once confirmed, you will see the progress bar and that’s all there is to it :) In case of any errors, you will notified of them, they are pretty descriptive so you should be able to figure out what went wrong.

Anything else? Drop a comment!

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