rsync preserve attributes, permissions/ownership and times without being root non-root user

One of the purposes of rsync is to backup whole filesystems and archive them but how can you do that properly and restore things to normal if all permissions and ownerships are not preserved from your root filesystem?

It's not desirable to have everything running as root, especially not just for an rsync.

The Easy rsync preserve permission solution for non-root users

sudo is the answer and all you have to do is edit /etc/sudoers

At the end of the file add a line like below (on both source and all target rsync systems).

*Replace "username" with your actual username of course

username  ALL = NOPASSWD: /usr/bin/rsync

The "NOPASSWD" part does as you'd expect, it allows you to sudo to the rsync command without requiring any password, otherwise it would be impossible to script this process and would make rsync useless for automated backups.

Make sure you add the following when running your rsync backup:

--rsync-path="sudo rsync"

That flag ensures that the ownership and permissions can be preserved even as root on the target system for your non-root user.

Also remember on the source systems to always run rsync with sudo


sudo rsync -Pha --rsync-path="sudo rsync" --ignore-errors --exclude=/media  --exclude=/proc/* --exclude=/sys/* / user@destination:/location/


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