Getting Started

This quick start guide will show you how to run Relax-and-Recover from the git checkout and create a bootable USB backup.

Start by cloning the Relax-and-Recover sources from GitHub:

git clone

Move into the rear/ directory:

cd rear/

Prepare your USB media. Change /dev/sdb to the correct device in your situation. Relax-and-Recover will ‘own’ the device in this example.

This will destroy all data on that device.

sudo usr/sbin/rear format /dev/sdb

Relax-and-recover asks you to confirm that you want to format the device:


The device has been labeled REAR-000 by the ‘format’ workflow.

Now edit the ‘etc/rear/local.conf’ configuration file:

cat > etc/rear/local.conf <<EOF
### write the rescue initramfs to USB and update the USB bootloader

### create a backup using the internal NETFS method, using 'tar'

### write both rescue image and backup to the device labeled REAR-000

Now you are ready to create a rescue image. We want verbose output.

sudo usr/sbin/rear -v mkrescue

The output I get is:

Relax-and-Recover 1.13.0 / $Date$
Using log file: /home/jeroen/tmp/quickstart/rear/var/log/rear/rear-fireflash.log
Creating disk layout
Creating root filesystem layout
WARNING: To login as root via ssh you need to setup an authorized_keys file in /root/.ssh
Copying files and directories
Copying binaries and libraries
Copying kernel modules
Creating initramfs
Writing MBR to /dev/sdb
Copying resulting files to usb location

You might want to check the log file for possible errors or see what Relax-and-Recover is doing.

Now reboot your system and try to boot from the USB device.

If that worked, you can dive into the advanced Relax-and-Recover options and start creating full backups. If your USB device has enough space, initiate a backup using:

sudo usr/sbin/rear -v mkbackup

That is it. Your hard disk can now safely fail.