Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.


Relax-and-Recover is the leading Open Source bare metal disaster recovery and system migration solution. It is a modular framework with many ready-to-go workflows for common situations.

Relax-and-Recover produces a bootable image. This image can repartition the system. Once that is done it initiates a restore from backup. Restores to different hardware are possible. Relax-and-Recover can therefore be used as a migration tool as well.

Currently Relax-and-Recover supports various boot media (incl. ISO, PXE, OBDR tape, USB or eSATA storage), a variety of network protocols (incl. sftp, ftp, http, nfs, cifs) as well as a multitude of backup strategies (incl. IBM TSM, CommVault, Micro Focus Data Protector, Symantec NetBackup, Bareos, Bacula, rsync, Borg).

Relax-and-Recover was designed to be easy to set up, requires no maintenance and is there to assist when disaster strikes. Its setup-and-forget nature removes any excuse for not having a disaster recovery solution implemented.

Recovering from disaster is made straightforward by a 2-step recovery process so that it can be executed by operational teams when required. When used interactively (e.g. when used for migrating systems), menus help make decisions to restore to a new (hardware) environment.

Extending and integrating Relax-and-Recover into complex environments is made possible by its modular framework. Consistent logging and optionally extended output help understand the concepts behind Relax-and-Recover, troubleshoot during initial configuration and help debug during integration.

See [REFERENCES] for more detailed information about Relax-and-Recover.


Relax-and-Recover is written entirely in Bash and does not require any external programs. However, the rescue system that is created by Relax-and-Recover requires some programs that are needed to make our rescue system work:

  • mingetty or agetty

  • sfdisk or parted

  • grub2-efi-modules or similar package that provides Grub2 modules (/usr/lib/grub(2)/) if USB recovery on EFI is used

All other required programs (like sort, dd, grep, etc.) are so common, that we don’t list them as requirements. In case your specific workflow requires additional tools, Relax-and-Recover will tell you.


This quick start guide shows how to run Relax-and-Recover from the git checkout and create a bootable USB backup and rescue medium.

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

git clone

Move into the rear/ directory (it gets created by git clone):

cd rear/

Prepare your USB medium. Change /dev/sdX to the correct device in your environment. Relax-and-Recover will own the whole device.

This will destroy all data on that device.

sudo usr/sbin/rear format /dev/sdX

Relax-and-Recover asks you to confirm that you want to format your USB device:


The device gets labeled REAR-000 by the rear format workflow.

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

### 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

Ensure you have at least defined the OUTPUT, BACKUP and BACKUP_URL variables.

Now you are ready to create a ReaR rescue image on your USB device. We want verbose output (-v option):

sudo usr/sbin/rear -v mkrescue

The output you get will look like this:

Relax-and-Recover <version>
Using log file: /var/log/rear/rear-<hostname>.log
Creating disk layout
Creating root filesystem layout
Copying files and directories
Copying binaries and libraries
Copying kernel modules
Creating initramfs
Writing MBR to /dev/sdX
Copying resulting files to usb location

You may check the log file for possible errors or see more details what Relax-and-Recover is doing.

Now reboot your system and verify that you can boot the ReaR rescue environment from your USB device as a test. In the ReaR rescue environment log in as root (no password) and directly shut it down (it was only a test). Again boot your normal system.

In your normal system (with your REAR-000 labeled USB rescue device connected) create a backup of your system (provided your USB device has enough space) by using:

sudo usr/sbin/rear -v mkbackup

The output you get will look like the above but now with a backup done at the end.

When all went well (also check the log file), you have a bootable USB rescue medium with a backup of your system.

You are now better prepared for disaster recovery.

If your system got destroyed you can boot from your USB backup and rescue medium, log in as root into the ReaR rescue environment and call rear -v recover. This will completely re-create your system from scratch and restore your backup which will destroy and overwrite all previously existing data on your system disk. So to test if rear recover works, you need fully compatible replacement hardware where you can verify that rear recover works (at least on your replacement hardware).


On RPM based systems you should use the rear RPM package.

Preferably obtain it as described on the Relax-and-Recover homepage

Alternatively as a software developer you may manually build it from the source tree with:

make rpm

This will create an RPM for your distribution. The RPM is not platform-dependent and should work also on other RPM based distributions.

On DEB based systems you can execute the command:

make deb

Alternatively as a software developer you may install manually via:

make install

Do not mix different installation methods. You should remove a package before doing a manual installation.


To configure Relax-and-Recover you have to edit the configuration files in /etc/rear/. All *.conf files there are part of the configuration, but only site.conf and local.conf are intended for the user configuration. All other configuration files hold defaults for various distributions and should not be changed.

In /etc/rear/templates/ there are also some template files which are use by Relax-and-Recover to create configuration files (mostly for the boot environment). You can use these templates to prepend your own configurations to the configuration files created by Relax-and-Recover, for example you can edit PXE_pxelinux.cfg to add some general pxelinux configuration you use (I put there stuff to install Linux over the network).

In almost all circumstances you have to configure two main settings and their parameters: The BACKUP method and the OUTPUT method.

The backup method defines how your data is to be saved and whether Relax-and-Recover should backup your data as part of the mkrescue process or whether you use an external application, e.g. backup software to archive your data.

The output method defines how the rescue system is written to disk and how you plan to boot the failed computer from the rescue system.

See /usr/share/rear/conf/default.conf for an overview of the possible methods and their options. An example to use TSM for backup and PXE for output and would be to add these lines to /etc/rear/local.conf:


And since all your computers use NTP for time synchronisation, you should also add these lines to /etc/rear/site.conf:


Don’t forget to distribute the site.conf to all your systems.

The resulting PXE files (kernel, initrd and pxelinux configuration) will be written to files in /var/lib/rear/output/. You can now modify the behaviour by copying the appropriate configuration variables from default.conf to local.conf and changing them to suit your environment.


To use Relax-and-Recover you always call the main script /usr/sbin/rear:

# rear help

Usage: rear [-h|--help] [-V|--version] [-dsSv] [-D|--debugscripts SET] [-c DIR] [-C CONFIG] [-r KERNEL] [-n|--non-interactive] [--] COMMAND [ARGS...]

Relax-and-Recover comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details see
the GNU General Public License at:

Available options:
 -h --help              usage information
 -c DIR                 alternative config directory; instead of /etc/rear
 -C CONFIG              additional config file; absolute path or relative to config directory
 -d                     debug mode; log debug messages
 -D                     debugscript mode; log every function call (via 'set -x')
 --debugscripts SET     same as -d -v -D but debugscript mode with 'set -SET'
 -r KERNEL              kernel version to use; current: '3.12.49-3-default'
 -s                     simulation mode; show what scripts rear would include
 -S                     step-by-step mode; acknowledge each script individually
 -v                     verbose mode; show more output
 -V --version           version information
 -n --non-interactive   non-interactive mode; aborts when any user input is required (experimental)

List of commands:
 checklayout     check if the disk layout has changed
 dump            dump configuration and system information
 format          Format and label medium for use with ReaR
 mkbackup        create rescue media and backup system
 mkbackuponly    backup system without creating rescue media
 mkopalpba       create a pre-boot authentication (PBA) image to boot from TCG Opal 2-compliant self-encrypting disks
 mkrescue        create rescue media only
 mountonly       use ReaR as live media to mount and repair the system
 opaladmin       administrate TCG Opal 2-compliant self-encrypting disks
 recover         recover the system
 restoreonly     only restore the backup
 validate        submit validation information

Use 'rear -v help' for more advanced commands.

To view/verify your configuration, run rear dump. It will print out the current settings for BACKUP and OUTPUT methods and some system information.

To create a new rescue environment, simply call rear mkrescue. Do not forget to copy the resulting rescue system away so that you can use it in the case of a system failure. Use rear mkbackup instead if you are using the builtin backup functions (like BACKUP=NETFS)

To recover your system, start the computer from the rescue system and run rear recover. Your system will be recovered and you can restart it and continue to use it normally.


The ReaR project was initiated in 2006 by Schlomo Schapiro and Gratien D’haese and has since then seen a lot of contributions by many authors. As ReaR deals with bare metal disaster recovery, there is a large amount of code that was contributed by owners and users of specialized hardware and software. Without their combined efforts and contributions ReaR would not be the universal Linux bare metal disaster recovery solution that it is today.

As time passed the project was lucky to get the support of additional developers to also help as maintainers: Dag Wieers, Jeroen Hoekx, Johannes Meixner, Vladimir Gozora, Sébastien Chabrolles, Renaud Métrich and Pavel Cahyna. We hope that ReaR continues to prove useful and to attract more developers who agree to be maintainers. Please refer to the MAINTAINERS file for the list of active and past maintainers.

To see the full list of authors and their contributions please look at the git history. We are very thankful to all authors and encourage anybody interested to take a look at our source code and to contribute what you find important.