[Dirvish] Dirvish & Windows alternatives

Brian Martin Brian at MartinConsulting.com
Thu Jul 5 18:52:23 UTC 2007

> The problem is that rsync + ssh together on a windows machine locks
> up.  rsync+rsh does not, but that is insecure.  Setting up a Windows
> machine to do insecure rsync+rsh through an external machine requires
> that the Windows machine is never directly exposed to the internet.
> What to do?

I use dirvish for some Windows back-ups.  I do it on an private network
where I'm not so concerned about security.  It does OK for personal data
file recovery, although I agree that a bare-metal restore is probably out of
the questions.  There are two problems, however, that I thought I'd alert
folks to:

1) Open files: cwrsync gets blocked from backing up (at least some) open
files.  Most notably, Outlook has to be down at the time of the back-up.
This could be fixed in cwrsync if someone had the time and motivation to do
it.  Windows has a "shadow-volume" function that NTBackup uses.  It's
basically an API that says "I'm taking a back-up.  Please freeze an image of
the disk and present that to me instead of the active disk."  Getting
cwrsync to use that would be a great improvement.

2) Junction points: Windows NT and on have something called junction points
(aka reparse points), that are equivalent to *nix symbolic links, and are
*not* like Windows shortcuts.  I use them primarily when relocating user
directories.  For example, if I want to relocate "c:\documents and
settings\julie" to "d:\home\julie", I'll move the directory, and then create
a junction called "c:\documents and settings\julie" that points to
"d:\home\julie".  In this way the data has moved (I like to keep the C drive
down to just the minimum to boot Windows), but anything that goes looking
for the directory at its old location on the C drive will still find the
data.  Ideally cwrsync should report the junction as a symbolic link.
Instead, it treats it as a real directory and backs up all the data "under"
it.  So I wind up with two copies of "Julie", on backed up on the C drive
and one backed up on the D drive.  My workaround is to exclude the directory
path on the C drive, but that requires that I keep track of each junction,
and means I'm hosed if I ever change my mind and move the data back without
fixing the exclude list.  

                              -Brian Martin

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