The snapshot feature enables saving changed and deleted files ahead of a new synchronizing task. The snapshot saves the current state of all files in a separate directory ahead of any changes or deletions. Changed and deleted files can then be restored utilizing the copy single files features. The full restore will copy the last snapshot from remote storage to either the source directory or a temporary restore directory.

  • snapshots works on both local attached disks and remote hosts
  • standard rsync sync tasks (backup tasks) cannot be converted to snapshots, creating snapshots starts with a full sync in the first snapshot catalog (~/snapshots/catalogtobackup/1)
  • the snapshot feature utilizes the --link-dest parameter to rsync, please use either version 3.1.2 or 3.1.3 of rsync
  • use copy files function for restore of single files or catalogs

How does the snapshots works?

Every snapshot is in sync with local catalog at the time of creating the snapshot. Previous versions of files can be restored from snapshots. The snapshot is by utilizing the --link-dest parameter to rsync. The rsync parameters for snapshots are:

--link-dest=~/snapshots/Documents/n-1 \ /Volumes/Home/user/Documents/ \ user@remote.server:~/snapshots/Documents/n


  • n is the number of snapshots
  • and /Volumes/Home/user/Documents/ is the source catalog
  • and the remote catalogs is ~/snapshots/Documents/

The source catalog is never touched, only read by rsync. RsyncOSX creates the snapshots within the remote catalog. The ~ is expanded to the user home catalog on remote server. Utilizing snapshot on local attached disks require full path for remote catalog.

  • ~/snapshots/Documents/1 - snapshot 1
    • a full sync when snapshot is created
  • ~/snapshots/Documents/2 - snapshot 2
    • the next snapshots saves the changed files and makes hard links for files not changed
  • ~/snapshots/Documents/n - snapshot n
    • n is the latest snapshot

When the old snapshots are deleted, the filesystem takes care of saving the real files which are hard linked. In the sample above the remote catalog ~/snapshots/Documents/ is selected as root of snapshots.

Create a snapshot task

In the samples below:

  • the source catalog is /Volumes/Home/user/Documents/
  • and the snapshots in catalog ~/Documents/ on server freenas.local

To create a snapshot task select snapshots as type.

Execute view

Ready for next snapshot

The rsync command shows the command to be executed. Important: do not copy and paste command for execution within a terminal window. RsyncOSX saves the number n to the configuration. The number n is the next snapshot number. The number n is used when computing the parameter for rsync and is picked up from the configuration.

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Snapshot administration

The administration part supports delete of n - 1 snapshots. The last snapshot n is never deleted. After a delete the view is updated to reflect the current number of snapshot catalogs. The number of snapshots to be deleted are marked red.

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Logs, search and restore

A full restore of the latest snapshot by utilizing the full restore. It is recommended to restore to a temporary catalog.

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By utilizing the copy files functionality single files or catalogs can be restored from snapshots. Logs are marked with snapshot number.

Execute view

Filter all files in snapshot #65.

Execute view

Written on April 10, 2018