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Bash script to back up X copies of a file, and rotate them.
Shell Roff
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Bash Script for Backing up Files

This script backs up one or more files to a target directory, and keeps rolling copies up to a set number. For example, you could back up a file and the last 6 versions, with a structure that might look like:


The original file overwrites 1, 1 overwrites 2, 2 overwrites 3, etc.

Real-world usage would be to run this in cron.


Set the Options (see below for details), then simply run $ ./


  • FILES_TO_BACKUP ="$(pwd)/testfile.txt $(pwd)/test2.txt" # Full path to the file you want to back up, add more files separated by spaces
  • FILE_BACKUP_EXTENSION =".bak" # Extension to append to backup file including period. This can be blank
  • BACKUP_LOCATION ="$(pwd)/backups/" # Directory where backups should be stored, include trailing slash
  • COPIES_TO_KEEP ="5" # The number of old copies to keep

Planning Improvements

  • Read command-line variables so it's possible to overwrite the variables hard-coded in the sprint. e.g. ./ --files=./testfile.txt --count=5 --target=./backups/ --ext=.bak to make it a more general-purpose tool
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