How to extract a backup


When the worst happens—or you want to test your backups—the first step is to figure out which archive to extract. A good way to do that is to use the rlist action:

borgmatic rlist

(No borgmatic rlist action? Try list instead or upgrade borgmatic!)

That should yield output looking something like:

host-2023-01-01T04:05:06.070809      Tue, 2023-01-01 04:05:06 [...]
host-2023-01-02T04:06:07.080910      Wed, 2023-01-02 04:06:07 [...]

Assuming that you want to extract the archive with the most up-to-date files and therefore the latest timestamp, run a command like:

borgmatic extract --archive host-2023-01-02T04:06:07.080910

(No borgmatic extract action? Upgrade borgmatic!)

Or simplify this to:

borgmatic extract --archive latest

The --archive value is the name of the archive to extract. This extracts the entire contents of the archive to the current directory, so make sure you're in the right place before running the command—or see below about the --destination flag.

Repository selection

If you have a single repository in your borgmatic configuration file(s), no problem: the extract action figures out which repository to use.

But if you have multiple repositories configured, then you'll need to specify the repository to use via the --repository flag. This can be done either with the repository's path or its label as configured in your borgmatic configuration file.

borgmatic extract --repository repo.borg --archive host-2023-...

Extract particular files

Sometimes, you want to extract a single deleted file, rather than extracting everything from an archive. To do that, tack on one or more --path values. For instance:

borgmatic extract --archive latest --path path/1 --path path/2

Note that the specified restore paths should not have a leading slash. Like a whole-archive extract, this also extracts into the current directory by default. So for example, if you happen to be in the directory /var and you run the extract command above, borgmatic will extract /var/path/1 and /var/path/2.

Searching for files

If you're not sure which archive contains the files you're looking for, you can search across archives.

Extract to a particular destination

By default, borgmatic extracts files into the current directory. To instead extract files to a particular destination directory, use the --destination flag:

borgmatic extract --archive latest --destination /tmp

When using the --destination flag, be careful not to overwrite your system's files with extracted files unless that is your intent.

Database restoration

The borgmatic extract command only extracts files. To restore a database, please see the documentation on database backups and restores. borgmatic does not perform database restoration as part of borgmatic extract so that you can extract files from your archive without impacting your live databases.

Mount a filesystem

If instead of extracting files, you'd like to explore the files from an archive as a FUSE filesystem, you can use the borgmatic mount action. Here's an example:

borgmatic mount --archive latest --mount-point /mnt

This mounts the entire archive on the given mount point /mnt, so that you can look in there for your files.

Omit the --archive flag to mount all archives (lazy-loaded):

borgmatic mount --mount-point /mnt

Or use the "latest" value for the archive to mount the latest archive:

borgmatic mount --archive latest --mount-point /mnt

If you'd like to restrict the mounted filesystem to only particular paths from your archive, use the --path flag, similar to the extract action above. For instance:

borgmatic mount --archive latest --mount-point /mnt --path var/lib

When you're all done exploring your files, unmount your mount point. No --archive flag is needed:

borgmatic umount --mount-point /mnt

Extract the configuration files used to create an archive

New in version 1.7.15 borgmatic automatically stores all the configuration files used to create an archive inside the archive itself. They are stored in the archive using their full paths from the machine being backed up. This is useful in cases where you've lost a configuration file or you want to see what configurations were used to create a particular archive.

To extract the configuration files from an archive, use the config bootstrap action. For example:

borgmatic config bootstrap --repository repo.borg --destination /tmp

This extracts the configuration file from the latest archive in the repository repo.borg to /tmp/etc/borgmatic/config.yaml, assuming that the only configuration file used to create this archive was located at /etc/borgmatic/config.yaml when the archive was created.

Note that to run the config bootstrap action, you don't need to have a borgmatic configuration file. You only need to specify the repository to use via the --repository flag; borgmatic will figure out the rest.

If a destination directory is not specified, the configuration files will be extracted to their original locations, silently overwriting any configuration files that may already exist. For example, if a configuration file was located at /etc/borgmatic/config.yaml when the archive was created, it will be extracted to /etc/borgmatic/config.yaml too.

If you want to extract the configuration file from a specific archive, use the --archive flag:

borgmatic config bootstrap --repository repo.borg --archive host-2023-01-02T04:06:07.080910 --destination /tmp

See the output of config bootstrap --help for additional flags you may need for bootstrapping.

New in version 1.8.1 Set the store_config_files option to false to disable the automatic backup of borgmatic configuration files, for instance if they contain sensitive information you don't want to store even inside your encrypted backups. If you do this though, the config bootstrap action will no longer work.

New in version 1.8.7 Included configuration files are stored in each backup archive. This means that the config bootstrap action not only extracts the top-level configuration files but also the includes they depend upon.

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