I accidently removed a file from my home directory, and I need it
back. How can I get a backup copy restored?
All user volumes (home directories) are backed up on a regular basis.
Part of the backup process is the generation of backup volumes, or
online backup copies. In general, backup volumes are created every
morning shortly after midnight, and they exist, unaltered, until the
next time a backup volume is created. One result of this is that users
may now restore their own accidentally deleted files from their backup
volumes in most situations.
Restoring deleted files from a backup volume can be done in most
cases. These cases will meet the following criteria:
The most recent backup volume was made at some point when the
file in question existed. This means that if you delete a file
that you just created, chances are, it hasn't made it to a
The user must recognize that he or she wants that file restored
before the next backup volume is made (generally in the early
If your situation meets these criteria, then you should be able to
recover your files by yourself, or with the help of a consultant or
operator. If you do not meet these criteria, or you are unsuccessful,
your next step of action should be to contact the Help Desk and
request a restore from the tape backup.
Please note the following when requesting a restore from tape:
Restoring files from a backup tape is a labor intensive and time
consuming process. For this reason, unfortunately, in most cases we
can only perform up to two restores from tape to help retrieve your
lost files. So please request your restore date(s) carefully.
Backups on each day are made from a snapshot of your files as they
existed on or around midnight of that day. Requesting a restore
for 1/14/08 (a Wednesday), for example, will give you access to your
files as they existed when you quit working on Tuesday.
Restoring files from your AFS backup volume:
Before getting started, regardless of what operating system you are
on, you will need to get to a unity% or eos% prompt. Brief directions
for our systems are listed here:
Unix/Linux: Open a new terminal window or use default terminal window.
Windows or Macintosh: Follow the instructions on http://oit.ncsu.edu/afs/unix-and-linux-command-line-
Every instruction listed below that is labeled a "command" needs to be
entered at this unity% or eos% prompt.
Step One: Getting Started
You will need to know some things before you get started.
- The name of the file(s) you want restored
- The location of the file(s) you want restored
- The name of your volume
You can determine this by using the command:
fs examine ~/
It will output something like:
Volume status for vid = 537008297 named users.wufpak
Current disk quota is 20000
Current blocks used are 10593
The partition has 214269 blocks available out of 1872775
We're interested in the last bit of the first line. The name of this
volume is users.wufpak
- Where (in which cell) your volume lives You can determine this by
using the command:
fs whichcell ~/
It will output something like:
File /ncsu/wufpak lives in cell 'unity.ncsu.edu'
- A mountpoint directory This can be anything you want; to make life
easier and less confusing, this should be a directory or file that
does not already exist.
Step Two: Go Home
Use the cd command with no arguments to move to your home directory.
Make sure you do not have any directories named backup already. To
do this type
If you have a directory already named backup you may need to move it.
Step Three: Mount Your Backup Volume
First, you need to tell your computer where to access your backup
volume. This is done by a process called mounting. The general form of
the command to mount your backup volume is:
fs mkmount -dir mountpoint directory -vol volume.backup -cell cell
The full command for a real user might look like:
fs mkmount -dir backup -vol users.wufpak.backup -cell unity.ncsu.edu
or fs mkmount -dir backup -vol users.w.wolfpack.backup -cell
Generally, If you are not in engineering and you want to make a
backup. You can use this command
fs mkmount -dir backup -vol users.yourunityid.backup -cell
Obviously- You need to replace yourunityid with your id in the
Step Four: Retreive Your Files
Now that you've mounted your backup volume, use the cd command to go
to that directory. cd ~/mountpoint where mountpoint is the mountpoint
directory from above. You are now in the "root" of your home directory
as it was at the time the backup volume was made. Use the cd command
to change to the directory in which the file you wish to restore was
in. Then use the cp command to copy that file back to your real home
cp restore.html ~/
Repeat Step Four for each file you wish to restore
If you have problems getting to your backup volume, with errors such
as "Connection Timed Out" or "Volume not Available", this may be due
to the fact that your volume was moved, and no online backup is
available. In this case, you will have to request a backup restore
from tape, which will take a little longer. For more information on
tape restores, see:
Step Five: Go Back Home
Use the cd command with no arguments to move to your home directory:
Step Six: Unmount Your Backup Volume
The command for unmounting a volume is very similar to the command
to mount it:
fs rmmount -dir mountpoint directory
For our two ficticious users, it would look like:
fs rmmount -dir backup
If you are looking for a solution on how to restore a file from a
locker, see Solution number 2167.