Restoreing Dump on FreeBSD headless server

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Mon Jan 4 19:01:17 UTC 2010

On Mon, Jan 04, 2010 at 07:08:51PM +0100, bsd wrote:

> Hello folks, 
> I would like to know how to proceed in order to restore a dump from a 
> backup headless server (remotely using ssh). 

> How am I supposed to proceed, should I first install the server (a FreeBSD 
> Fresh install with spare partition) then restore the dump on an empty 
> partition ?  

Depends on what you have and what you want to restore.
Is the reason for the restore because the old disk went belly up?
Or did you just nuke some stuff accidently.   Is the restore the
boot disk or an extra work disk?   

In the first case, yes you will need to create something on the disk - 
some sort of filesystem.   Probably that would mean using a fixit
image to boot and do an fdisk(8), bsdlabel(8) and newfs(8).   

It the second case, the filesystem[s] is[are] still intact and you
only need to do an 'interactive' restore of just the files you want.
IF you are doing an intereactive restore and if you have room, it may 
be easiest to copy the whole dump file over to some big space on the 
system and run the restore from that copy.  Then you can just ssh in 
and run it just as if it was setting beside you.

The same might not be true if you are replacing a destroyed disk 
because the restore will be a complete one and no file selecting
will be necessary.

If you cannot get physical contact with the machine, and the disk was
damaged and replaced, you may have to learn how to do a network boot 
and install.   I have never had to do that so am not a good one to guide 
that process.   

In either case of having to create slices, partitions and filesystems,
you do not have to do a complete system install.  You need to do just
enough building to have the filesystems created and mountable.  The fixit
is just fine for that.   If you can get that going remotely, then
do the fdisk, bsdlabel and newfs-s from that and then restore from 
the dump to the new filesystems.   Forget about doing a real install.

> Should the new empty partition be the exact same size as the dumped 
> partition ? 

It just has to be large enough to hold what you restore.
In fact, it is a good time to increase or adjust filesystem sizes if
you have more room on the replacement disk.

> Is there a tool that could allow me to restore remotely ? 

You can use rsh(1).   I have done that.    
Probably some specific ssh method too, but I am so old I haven't
done one with that new fangled secure ssh yet...


> Any advice or howto will be (very) welcome. 
> Thanks. 
> P.S. Happy new BSD year !! 
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> Gregober ---> PGP ID --> 0x1BA3C2FD
> bsd @at@
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