Moving your data to a backup device

Making a copy on a floppy disk

Formatting the floppy

On some Unix systems, users have access to the floppy disk device. The name of the device may vary depending on the size and numer of floppy drives, contact your system admin if you are unsure. On sensibly administered systems, there will likely be a link /dev/floppy pointing to the right device.

fdformat is the low-level floppy disk formatting tool. It has the device name of the floppy disk as an option. fdformat will display an error when the floppy is read-protected.

tille~>fdformat /dev/fd0H1440
Double-sided, 80 tracks, 18 sec/track. Total capacity 1440 kB.
Formatting ... done
Verifying ... done

Using the dd command to dump data

The dd command can be used to put data on a disk, or get it off again, depending on the given input and output devices. An example:

tille~>dd if=images-without-dir.tar.gz of=/dev/fd0H1440
98+1 records in
98+1 records out

tille~>dd if=/dev/fd0H1440 of=/tmp/images.tar.gz
2880+0 records in
2880+0 records out

tille~>ls /tmp/images*

For more information on the possibilities of dd, read the manpages.


The dd can also be used to make a raw dump of an entire hard disk.

Making a copy with a CD writer

On some systems users are allowed to use the CD writer device. There are some graphical tools available to make it easier on you. One of the popular ones is xcdroast, which is freely available. Both the KDE and Gnome desktop managers have facilities to make your own CDs.

Backing up data using a tape device

This is done using tar (see above), ufsdump (on some systems) or a proprietary backup application. Entire books have been written about tape backups, refer to our readinglist in Appendix 2 for more information. Keep in mind that databases might need other backup procedures because of their architecture.

Working with tapes is a system administration task beyond the scope of this document.