fsarchiver man page

fsarchiver ā€” filesystem archiver


fsarchiver is a system tool that allows you to save the contents of a filesystem to a compressed archive file. The filesystem contents can be restored on a device which has a different size and it can be restored on a different filesystem. Unlike tar/dar, fsarchiver also creates the filesystem when it extracts the data to devices. Everything is checksummed in the archive in order to protect the data. If the archive is corrupt, you just lose the current file, not the whole archive.


fsarchiver [ options ] savefs archive device ...

fsarchiver [ options ] restfs archive id=n,dest=device[,mkfs=fstype,mkfsopt=options,label=newlabel,uuid=newuuid] ...

fsarchiver [ options ] savedir archive directory ...

fsarchiver [ options ] restdir archive destination

fsarchiver [ options ] archinfo archive

fsarchiver [ options ] probe [detailed]



Save device filesystem to archive.


Restore filesystems from archive. This overwrites the existing data on device. Zero-based index n indicates the part of the archive to restore. Optionally, a filesystem may be converted to fstype and extra mkfs options specified. newlabel and newuuid override values stored in the archive.


Save directories to archive (similar to a compressed tarball).


Restore data from archive which is not based on a filesystem to destination.


Show information about an existing archive file and its contents.


Show list of filesystems detected on the disks.


-h, --help

Show help and information about how to use fsarchiver with examples.

-V, --version

Show program version and exit.

-v, --verbose

Verbose mode (can be used several times to increase the level of details). The details will be printed to the console.

-o, --overwrite

Overwrite the archive if it already exists instead of failing.

-d, --debug

Debug mode (can be used several times to increase the level of details). The details will be written in /var/log/fsarchiver.log.

-x, --experimental

Allow to save filesystems which support is considered experimental in fsarchiver.

-A, --allow-rw-mounted

Allow to save a filesystem which is mounted in read-write (live backup). By default fsarchiver fails with an error if the device is mounted in read-write mode which allows modifications to be done on the filesystem during the backup. Modifications can drive to inconsistencies in the backup. Using LVM snapshots is the recommended way to make backups since it will provide consistency, but it is only available for filesystems which are on LVM logical volumes.

-a, --allow-no-acl-xattr

Allow to to save a filesystem when ACLs and extended attributes are not supported (or are disabled) by the kernel. By default fsarchiver fails with an error if it cannot access ACLs and extended attributes, since they would not be saved. If you do not need ACLs and extended attributes preserved then it is safe to use this option.

-e pattern, --exclude=pattern

Exclude files and directories that match specified pattern. The pattern can contain shell wildcards such as * and ? or may be either a simple file/dir name or an absolute file/dir path. You must use quotes around the pattern each time you use wildcards, else it would be interpreted by the shell. The wildcards must be interpreted by fsarchiver. See examples below for more details about this option.

-L label, --label=label

Set the label of the archive: it is just a comment about its contents. It can be used to remember a particular thing about the archive or the state of the filesystem for instance.

-z level, --compress=level

Valid compression levels are between 0 (very fast) and 9 (very good). The memory requirement increases a lot with the best compression levels, and it is multiplied by the number of compression threads (option -j). Level 9 is considered as an extreme compression level and requires an huge amount of memory to run. For more details please read this page: http://www.fsarchiver.org/Compression

-s mbsize, --split=mbsize

Split the archive into several files of mbsize megabytes each.

-j count, --jobs=count

Create more than one (de)compression thread. Useful on multi-core CPUs. By default fsarchiver will only use one (de)compression thread (-j 1) and then only one logical processor will be used for the task. You should use this option if you have a multi-core CPU or more than one physical CPU on your computer. The typical way to use it is to specify the number of logical processors available so that all the processing power is used to (de)compress the archive very quickly. You may also want to use all logical processors but one so that your system stays responsive for other applications.

-c password, --cryptpass=password

Encrypt/decrypt data in archive. Password length: 6 to 64 characters. You can either provide a real password or a dash (-c -). Use the dash if you do not want to provide the password in the command line. It will be prompted in the terminal instead.


save only one filesystem (/dev/sda1) to an archive

fsarchiver savefs /data/myarchive1.fsa /dev/sda1

save two filesystems (/dev/sda1 and /dev/sdb1) to an archive

fsarchiver savefs /data/myarchive2.fsa /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1

restore the first filesystem from an archive (first = number 0)

fsarchiver restfs /data/myarchive2.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/sda1

restore the second filesystem from an archive (second = number 1)

fsarchiver restfs /data/myarchive2.fsa id=1,dest=/dev/sdb1

restore two filesystems from an archive (number 0 and 1)

fsarchiver restfs /data/arch2.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/sda1 id=1,dest=/dev/sdb1

restore a filesystem from an archive and convert it to reiserfs

fsarchiver restfs /data/myarchive1.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/sda1,mkfs=reiserfs

restore a filesystem from an archive and specify extra mkfs options

fsarchiver restfs /data/myarchive1.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/sda1,mkfs=ext4,mkfsopt="-I 256"

restore a filesystem from an archive and specify a new filesystem label

fsarchiver restfs /data/myarchive1.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/sda1,label=root

restore a filesystem from an archive and specify a new filesystem UUID

fsarchiver restfs /data/myarchive1.fsa id=0,dest=/dev/sda1,uuid=5f6e5f4f-dc2a-4dbd-a6ea-9ca997cde75e

save the contents of /usr/src/linux to an archive (similar to tar)

fsarchiver savedir /data/linux-sources.fsa /usr/src/linux

save a filesystem (/dev/sda1) to an archive split into volumes of 680MB

fsarchiver savefs -s 680 /data/myarchive1.fsa /dev/sda1

save a filesystem and exclude all files/dirs called 'pagefile.*'

fsarchiver savefs /data/myarchive.fsa /dev/sda1 --exclude='pagefile.*'

generic exclude for 'share' such as '/usr/share' and '/usr/local/share'

fsarchiver savefs /data/myarchive.fsa --exclude=share

absolute exclude valid for '/usr/share' but not for '/usr/local/share'

fsarchiver savefs /data/myarchive.fsa --exclude=/usr/share

save a filesystem (/dev/sda1) to an encrypted archive

fsarchiver savefs -c mypassword /data/myarchive1.fsa /dev/sda1

same as before but prompt for password in the terminal

fsarchiver savefs -c - /data/myarchive1.fsa /dev/sda1

extract an archive made of simple files to /tmp/extract

fsarchiver restdir /data/linux-sources.fsa /tmp/extract

show information about an archive and its filesystems

fsarchiver archinfo /data/myarchive2.fsa


fsarchiver is considered stable for Linux filesystems such as EXT4 and XFS but unstable for NTFS.


fsarchiver was written by Francois Dupoux. It is released under the GPL2 (GNU General Public License version 2). This manpage was written by Ilya Barygin and Francois Dupoux.


30 December 2009