I'm trying to back up my Macbook Pro using this rysnc script to an external USB drive:

sudo rsync -avxE --progress / /Volumes/backupdrive/... which I found here: https://serverfault.com/questions/269996/optimal-backup-to-swappable-hard-drive-with-rsync-on-osx

It keeps hanging on files in /private/var/... though, and after seeing this post: What I can delete from /private/var/vm? I'm wondering if I need to back up /private in the first place. I'm also curious about /.DocumentRevisions-V100/..., /tmp, et cetera? Are there any other large directories that I can exclude from the backup safely?

As a followup, I notice when rsync hangs, that mds_store is using a lot of CPU. Can I use mdutil to disable indexing on my external drive to save space/time? I only use the drive for backups, although there are a lot of photos (tens of GB) backed up that might benefit from indexing (at least retaining thumbnails).

  • Just out of curiosity, what advantages do you see for rsync over Time Machine? – Seamus May 6 at 13:34
  • Well 1) I want to learn/understand how this stuff works, 2) open source, and 3) (this was years ago, so may no longer be accurate) but I read some horror stories that Time Machine backups could get fully corrupted if one file got corrupted, – float13 May 6 at 22:03
  • I heard that rsync is difficult to get right. You could use CCC which uses rsync. I'd want the absolute confidence in my backup. I use timemachine and CCC. With ccc you can boot the volumen to verify that your back was succesfull. – historystamp May 6 at 23:24

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