SD Card Backup



  • Hi guys,

    would like to know how you guys do a backup of the SD card. When i put the card into my win 10 pc it show me two partitions. And with the win32diskimager i only can choose one letter (e: or f:).
    So how do you make your backups?

    thank you


  • Moderator

    You can’t put it in a Win machine and “see” it. Those partitions are unix specific, and Windows can not read them, at least one of them it can not read. Different filesystem. If you need a backup, your question should be: what do I want to back up?

    • The file system can be recovered simply by burning a new image on the SD card and reconfiguring
    • MagicMirror can be reinstalled by doing a 'git pull'

    As far as MM is concerned, what’s user configurable is your config.js. Any modules you’ve installed can be reinstalled with a simple 'git pull' to the repository. So you can cut and paste your config.js into Notepad. You can use FTP to transfer it …

    For the other, system specific configurations, you can copy all of those config files over to a Win machine.

    Honestly, I don’t backup my MM. I don’t see a need to. It’s easy enough to recover, unlike a Windows machine and all the applications on it. I can wipe the card, and start from scratch and have it back up and running within 15 minutes. Try doing that with a Win machine … unless you’re doing a full system image restore, which still takes longer.

    And I’ve been running computers, servers, all types of systems for decades … an rpi running MM isn’t worth doing a backup on. And mine even contains copies of my own code that I’ve written. But since that stuff is also on github, again I don’t see a need to bother. A simple 'git pull' and 30 seconds later I have it all again.


  • Moderator

    @KirAsh4 Thats how I think, too, except that you technically need git clone ... instead of git pull. :)


  • Moderator

    If you still want to backup your sd card you could read this: https://www.linux-tips-and-tricks.de/en/backup

    I don’t entirely agree with the guys above me. I don’t want to compile and reinstall additional libraries, setup the pi again, do the hassle with the tv screen, …



  • Well, i was asking because on my raspberry pi there are running more services then just the MM. Airplay, OwnCloud, webserver and a little bit smarthome… so i am a big fan of doing backups, cause the time i spent is “unpayable” :P
    i am not the “linux-junkie” so when the sd card will crash in about one year it will take me much time too make a new one running, cause i will have forgotten very much ^^
    The link above looks pretty interesting. a “live-backup” while the rpi is running sounds good. will take a look at it.



  • Hi,

    I´m a little bit scared. Just yesterday I think about backup my sd card. and how I will do it. I use quickly google and found the webpage @yawns linked too. I like to test it if I had some more time. But maybe someone can share her/his experience about useing it.

    greets gismo



  • This is what I use https://www.thefanclub.co.za/how-to/dd-utility-write-and-backup-operating-system-img-and-iso-files-memory-card-or-disk

    This runs on Linux though. Look for free ghost or disk clone software if you want to stick to windows. They shoulnt care what is on the disk (sd card)



  • I was wondering this same thing myself. I wanted to backup my raspberry pi sd card to another card that I have which is alot faster. Turns out the raspberry pi site has instructions on how to do this


  • Moderator

    In your predicted year that your rpi will crash, everything would have been upgraded anyway, libraries, OS, other programs. It makes more sense to redo it from scratch rather than reloading old (and in some cases, obsolete) software back on. What’s the point in doing that, and then spend another several hours upgrading, and recompiling anyway? Even Raspberry Pi’s OS gets upgraded a few times a year …

    Honestly, this is how people get themselves in trouble with security patches that are never applied. They have a device running, in their mind it’s fine, and yet it has gaping security holes that are addressed in future upgrades. Seriously folks, stay ontop of updates, upgrades, and what not. Don’t juse assume a backup from a year ago, or even 3 months ago, is “just fine”. None of my OS (I said OS, not config files) backups are more than a few days old.



  • @KirAsh4 In general I agree with you. Systems with an outdated level of security patches shouldn’t be used at all. They are welcome by botnets.

    But if you create a backup on a regular base - let’s say every week - your backup will not be seriously vulnerable. If you have to restore the backup for any reasons the first activity has to be to update the OS to the latest security level and everything is fine. Even if the backup is a couple of months old this works. If the backup is older than one year the OS most probably is out of service and shouldn’t be used any more. So as long as you create a regular backup every month and keep only some older backup versions (e.g. 3) you’ll be fine.

    But I also agree with you that depending on your OS experience you have you also can just save version.js on a regular base via rsync and setup the system from scratch to recover. But people with less OS experience who are happy they managed to setup and configured their box will be happy to just kick off the restore followed by ‘sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade’ in order to recover.


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