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#1 2022-08-04 15:45:13

ComputerBob
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[SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

See thread title.

I have a fully-configured ISO that was created by Refracta Snapshot.

I'm running it right now as I type this from it on my Ventoy bootable flash drive.

My problem is that I NEED TO INSTALL IT to my hard drive, because I completely messed up Devuan on my hard drive. When I try to boot Devuan from my hard drive now, it stops and throws tons of error almost immediately.

But the .ISO that I created works great as a LIVE Devuan, but it doesn't automatically mount the other partitions that the hard drive's fstab automatically mounts (like my separate /data partition).

I can find NO INSTRUCTIONS ANYWHERE for how to INSTALL the Refracta-created .ISO -- all I ever see is articles all over the internet that tell how to CREATE the .ISO, and a few forum posts, here and there, that mention "just install the .ISO and you're good to go!"

Would someone please explain how to install the .ISO, so that I can restore Devuan to my hard drive?

THANK YOU for helping me!

UPDATE: Is it maybe because Ventoy is keeping me from seeing some kind of Refract Snapshot INSTALL option?

Last edited by ComputerBob (2022-08-04 16:02:44)


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#2 2022-08-04 16:00:43

golinux
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

ComputerBob wrote:

I can find NO INSTRUCTIONS ANYWHERE for how to INSTALL the Refracta-created .ISO -- all I ever see is articles all over the internet that tell how to CREATE the .ISO, and a few forum posts, here and there, that mention "just install the .ISO and you're good to go!"

Would someone please explain how to install the .ISO, so that I can restore Devuan to my hard drive?

Try https://refracta.org/documents.html

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#3 2022-08-04 16:24:26

ComputerBob
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

Well, that explains a lot.

It looks like DON'T HAVE THE REFRACTA INSTALLER!

How do I install the Refracta Installer? I have both Refracta base and gui installed, but I only see Refracta Snapshot.

And there is refractasnapshot  in /usr/lib/, but there is nothing about refractainstaller in there.

I don't even see refractainstaller in Synaptic package manager or in APT:

root@T3500:/usr/lib# install refractainstaller
install: missing destination file operand after 'refractainstaller'
Try 'install --help' for more information.
root@T3500:/usr/lib# apt install refractainstaller
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree... Done
Reading state information... Done
Package refractainstaller is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source
However the following packages replace it:
  refractainstaller-gui refractainstaller-base

E: Package 'refractainstaller' has no installation candidate

???

Last edited by ComputerBob (2022-08-04 16:27:14)


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#4 2022-08-04 16:33:05

ComputerBob
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

I used APT to install refractainstaller-gui

and now Refracta Installer appears in my System menu, along with Refracta Snapshot.

Now I'll see if it works, or if maybe there's some other problem, maybe caused by Ventoy?

Thanks for the link to Refracta documentation. I've been looking for that since last night. Unfortunately, "Refracta" searches also turn up many links to the Refracta operating system.


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#5 2022-08-04 18:46:41

Camtaf
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

For future reference, add the word linux to your searches when looking for a distro. smile

If you didn't include refracta snapshot/refracta installer in your snapshot, then you won't have it in the .iso, however, I believe you can install it temporarily in your live session, then create another snapshot, or install from the live session, (as long as you didn't 'load to ram', in which case, I don't think the installer will work).

To add programs whilst running 'live' just use the regular apt-get update, then apt-get install <program name>
(That should work, if I remember rightly.)

Last edited by Camtaf (2022-08-04 18:55:51)

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#6 2022-08-05 19:28:10

ComputerBob
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

Yes, I searched for "linux" and "refracta." That's why I kept finding stuff about Refracta Linux. I may be stupid, but I'm not dumb.  wink

In the past 2 days, I've spent 24 harrowing hours on this issue. Yes, you read that correctly. Twelve hours a day for two days.

NOW, I'm finally up and running again.

No matter what I tried, NOTHING would see my separate data partition.

This morning, I finally restored a 3-month-old backup of all of my data to a completely different place inside my home folder, which is mounted separately.

I think my problem is that I used to know a lot more about this stuff.

I used to be able to do a fresh install, and then -- with a couple of commands -- see all of my data.

Not so any more. It's been several years since I had to do it (I've done dist-upgrades for many years). I just don't remember the magic that I used to use to see my data.

None of this is anyone's problem but my own.

As for Refracta Snapshot and Refracta Installer, once I was able to find and APT install the installer, BOTH worked really quickly and easily.

Until that LAST step of the installer, when I thought it was going to congratulate me on restoring my snapshot, but instead, it gave me a lecture about BIOS and GPT and boot, and partitions. Other people probably know what to do. I didn't.

So I spent several hours, trying to get past the bootup black screen with the grub prompt.

Using my wife's PC, I found an excellent how-to by Carla Shroeder. Step-by-step instructions. Easy to understand.

I followed every step. EVERY STEP. Still got the grub prompt.

At the end of Carla's article, it says something like, "If you STILL can't get it to work, you'll need to use something like Super Grub2."

So, I downloaded Super Grub 2. It saved as an image (picture) file. When I tried to open it, my wife's computer spit up, trying to open it with LibreOffice Draw or GIMP or something.

So, I re-downloaded it. But when I tried to boot from it, the end of the boot process suddenly stopped and said something about waiting for the internet. Multiple boots, same problem.

That was how EVERYTHING went for me, for 2 DAYS. Run as fast as you can, and then suddenly slam into a wall. Sheesh.

Long story short, a fresh install, plus restoring 3-month-old backups, and many hours of painstaking configuration, finally got my system back to exactly where it was 3 days ago.

Don't ever have two strokes, if you can help it.  wink

Thanks if you tried to help me, or if you bothered to read this entire rant.

Last edited by ComputerBob (2022-08-05 21:10:16)


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#7 2022-08-05 22:22:57

nixer
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

Hi ComputerBob,
For future reference, to install the set of refractatools that will allow you to build and install a custom iso, try this command:

apt install refractasnapshot-base refractainstaller-base

These two programs will allow you to create and install a custom iso with the commands

refractasnapshot

and

refractainstaller

from the command line.  These are not gui programs.  Although they are not gui programs, they can probably satisfactorily create and install most snapshots.

You have already found the command for the gui programs so I will not mention those.

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#8 2022-08-06 00:13:49

ComputerBob
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

Thanks for reading my lo--ong post (!!!), AND FOR REPYING!

I also appreciate your tips about installing the command-line versions of Refracta.

After all the trouble that I just experienced, I don't know if I'll EVER have the courage to even TRY any sort of system backup again. I'm still kind of trembling, even after a couple hours of nervously watching TV.



For now, I'll just "live life," and if the idea eventually takes hold in my brain, I may try to figure out how to edit my rsync steps that I've used for years to backup only my DATA, so that they will work with my restored backup data's new location.

(In reality, that feeling may be mostly result of "shell shock." Maybe I'll change my mind some day, and want to try backing up my fully-configured system again.)

If I do, I'm sure that your suggestions will come in very handy. Thank you.

Last edited by ComputerBob (2022-08-06 00:17:08)


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#9 2022-08-06 18:46:38

nixer
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

"I don't know if I'll EVER have the courage to even TRY any sort of system backup again
...
I may try to figure out how to edit my rsync steps that I've used for years to backup"

Just in case you are interested, this is the command that I use to backup a running system.  I have used this mainly to transfer a local build system to a remote location.  It can just as easily work locally. 

I use the "--delete" option as I also use this to keep an updated backup of an existing system.  If you are simply coping data over, then this would not be needed. I want to keep a system backup in sync, so I use it.

rsync -aAXv --exclude={"/swapfile","/dev/*","/proc/*","/sys/*","/tmp/*","/run/*","/media/*","/mnt/*","/lost+found"} /* /backup/folder/location/ --delete

If you were to use this to move data over from a backup location to the root system location then please unmount all locations "umount -a" before moving data over.  Don't want the --delete option to delete a mounted location! i.e. /mnt/data /media/folder, etc.

Notes:
- If you were to use the command to copy the backup over to the root location, then you might have to re-create the swapfile.
- If rsyncing to a remote location make sure the important files will be retained.  By this, I mean to copy the remote fstab, /etc/network/interfaces file over to the files to be rsynced so that they will be on the remote server when rebooted.

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#10 2022-08-06 20:11:58

ComputerBob
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

Cool! Thank you!

I just got as far as your rsync command itself, and I felt my eyes glaze over!  wink

But it looks like it could be a good possibility for my future.

Because my brain is still too exhausted to actually read and understand your rsync command, could you tell a couple of things?

Would your rsync script backup my / only, or would it also backup my separate /home (with all of my newly-restored data in it)?

Did you include a "restore" script in your post? Again, my brain cells are currently still too full to even try to look.  wink

Once you somehow restore your backup to your local (or network) computer, what do you have to do to get it to boot, other than just use rsync to copy all of the system files into place? That's the part that still ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIES me. I've always felt very safe when my system is backed up, but I've recently learned (from my long and bitter experience) that a backup does me no good unless I can RESTORE it so that it will work.   wink

AGAIN, THANK YOU!   wink

Last edited by ComputerBob (2022-08-06 20:25:35)


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#11 2022-08-07 12:05:43

nixer
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

First of all, I am far from being an expert using rsync.  I acquired that line of code from somewhere on the internet from someone who uses rsync to backup and restore their system.  I will try to explain, and I hope that I do not give you any bad advice... (-;

Would your rsync script backup my / only, or would it also backup my separate /home (with all of my newly-restored data in it)?

It depends on if you tell it to, or not.  (-;  Currently, as the code is displayed, it would copy the /home folder and all its contents because it is not shown in the excluded section.

Let's look at this line of code in some detail.  Here is the entire line of code:

rsync -aAXv --exclude={"/swapfile","/dev/*","/proc/*","/sys/*","/tmp/*","/run/*","/media/*","/mnt/*","/lost+found"} /* /backup/folder/location/ --delete

Let's take it apart:
- "rsync -aAXv" type "man rsync" in the terminal to see what these flags are
- "/* /backup/folder/location/" This is the source and destination of data to be copied.
- "--delete" means to delete the file in the destination location if it does not exist in the source location.  Respect this --delete, as it can be very destructive.
 
Explanations:
--  The above is telling you to rsync (copy) the entire root filesystem "/*" but to exclude (omit from the copy) these folders/files:
--  the  /swapfile, because it is can be large
--  /dev , /proc , /sys , /tmp , /run .  These folders are populated with content as the system boots so they need not be copied over, but the empty folders should be copied over to make it easier if you had to restore the backup. The /lost+found is leftover data which need not be retained.
--  /media , /mnt  These are normally mount points so their data need not be copied over.

Notes:
- within the exclude section of the code, "/dev/*" will copy only the /dev folder with no content within it, whereas "/dev" will omit the entire folder and its contents.
- to make the backup simpler, you could remove the swapfile from the exclude section.  Then it would be copied over and thus included in the restore - moving the destination folder back into the source location.  Within the line of code  "/* /backup/folder/location/", these are the source and destination locations.
- You mentioned the /home folder.  It can easily be omitted during the copying by including it within the exclude section of the code.  For example the exclude section would look like this

--exclude={"/swapfile","/dev/*","/proc/*","/sys/*","/tmp/*","/run/*","/media/*","/mnt/*","/lost+found","/home/*"}

Restore the backup:
You could reverse the source and destination locations and it should work.  For clarity, now the source and destination are reversed.  The source is the backup and the destination is the original source location of the root folder.

So, this is an example of the restore code, it is almost identical but slightly altered by reversing the source and destination locations:

rsync -aAXv --exclude={"/swapfile","/dev/*","/proc/*","/sys/*","/tmp/*","/run/*","/media/*","/mnt/*","/lost+found"} /backup/folder/location/* / --delete

But beware of the /media and /mnt part of the code.  Make sure that there are no mounted partitions, remote locations, etc. mounted on the system!  Otherwise, including the mnt and media sections will --delete their contents!  Run as root "umount -a" in the terminal and verify that there is no mounted content.
- the resore command above will not move the swapfile back into position, thus it would have to be re-created.  Adjust the code to include or exclude the swapfile based on your need.

Once you somehow restore your backup to your local (or network) computer, what do you have to do to get it to boot, other than just use rsync to copy all of the system files into place? That's the part that still ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIES me.

It terrified me too.  The way that I learned to trust this process is by moving a local system created in virtualbox into a remote system on a vps or another virtualbox guest system.  The process is the same, the only difference is the destination location in the code.  I have on several instances used this code to move a local system onto a remote virtual private server, which is the same process as "restore" as you mention above.
The only problems that I have seen are with two files: /etc/fstab  and  /etc/network/interfaces .  To get around this I make sure that the necessary files are included in the source files before transferring.  Or, I alter the files to be correct before attempting to reboot.
You may have an issue with the boot process hanging initially with a message referring to "unable to ... suspend or remove..." or something like that.  If so, wait until it boots, and run as root

update-initramfs -u

This will rebuild the initramfs boot image.

Questions?  I will be glad to help, if I can.  But I would test this myself before I actually "trusted" it.  You are on the right path in thinking about the restore process before it is actually needed.  For me, testing within and across virtual machines was necessary and very helpful.

Last pointers:
For testing purposes, the sources and destination folders can be local folders or remote ssh filesystem locations, which would make the line of code pretty long.  Don't get discouraged as it will function as it should.
Second, know the difference between locations shown with a  /folder  and  /folder/* .  "/folder/*" will copy/restore the folder and its contents. 
Lastly, please respect the --delete function.  For this reason, in the event of a catastrophic system failure, I would not mind doing the restore in several commands and not a one-line command.  I am not an expert and I would not want to move the backup back into the root folder location unless I copied all the files.  In simpler words, the --delete command may delete all of the original files when you did not copy but some of the files.  I know I sound confusing, but testing will give you an idea of what this entire command can do.  It is pretty powerful.

Sorry to be so long, but this is a powerful piece of code, and very helpful.  It is worth testing and using.  In writing it up, I realize that I need to test a few things to understand it better than I do.

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#12 2022-08-07 14:52:50

ComputerBob
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

WOW!

I'm really thankful for what I can tell is your excellent explanation. This morning, I am able to START to understand its details. Not enough to actually USE your suggestions, but at least I am starting to understand.

This morning, I watched a few YouTube videos on grsync, and I'm thinking of trying that to simply backup only my DATA to my external USB hard drive. It appears to be A LOT easier and less complicated to use than my old, existing rsync script, and it may be exactly what I want/need for THAT purpose.

I don't have any knowledge of installing/using any type of virtualbox, and my only other computer is my wife's computer. But I can never risk trying anything on that, because my wife has worked from home for many years, for a company that's hundreds of miles away, using that computer.

Yes, I got that all set up for her, back when I knew what I was doing.  wink

But I don't know what I'm doing any more, to be able to recreate her computer's setup, if I were to do anything that messed it up.

So I will continue to let my brain "heal" from my recent backup/restore fiasco, and see if I eventually get to the point where I am willing to buy a used PC, to use for experimenting with backing up and restoring my computer's system files.  wink

THANK YOU for understanding my condition and situation, and THANK YOU for your replies!

Last edited by ComputerBob (2022-08-07 15:07:57)


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#13 2022-08-07 18:45:08

nixer
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

I am glad to help ComputerBob! 

see if I eventually get to the point where I am willing to buy a used PC, to use for experimenting with backing up and restoring

For what it is worth, virtualbox, or qemu is pretty easy to use.  There should be lots of tutorials online to help you get started.  A quick web search should be a good starting point.  These virtualization programs are easier than dealing with another physical machine. 

Good luck!

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#14 2022-08-08 16:02:17

chris2be8
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Posts: 148  

Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

I would *not* use --delete for restoring. It will delete any files on the target that are not in the backup. So you would lose any newly created files.

And I would be very wary of using it when backing up the system. If an important file, such as the kernel, got deleted by mistake and you didn't notice before running a backup you would lose the backup copy of it as well.

Also note it's a very good idea to test restoring things before you need to do it for real.

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#15 2022-08-08 18:58:41

rayburn
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Registered: 2019-08-06
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

chris2be8 wrote:

I would *not* use --delete for restoring. It will delete any files on the target that are not in the backup. So you would lose any newly created files.

And I would be very wary of using it when backing up the system. If an important file, such as the kernel, got deleted by mistake and you didn't notice before running a backup you would lose the backup copy of it as well.

Also note it's a very good idea to test restoring things before you need to do it for real.

I would agree re the --delete option,  I always use the 'n' option first before running the command for real. The 'n' option gives you the opportunity to do a 'dry run' first,  and with the 'v' option (verbose), you get to see what the command does before running it for real.

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#16 2022-08-08 23:24:05

ComputerBob
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Re: [SOLVED] How to INSTALL the .ISO that Refracta Snapshot creates?

Thanks, chris2be8 and rayburn,

I already knew those tips, but then again, you two didn't know that I already knew them and even understood why they make sense.    wink

So your tips were very right-on and very appreciated.

And, to be perfectly honest, it's probably only a matter of time before I won't know those things any more, so reminders are a good thing for me.   wink

Thanks, again!


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