Using the samba backup script

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Revision as of 15:41, 5 February 2013 by Mmuehlfeld (talk | contribs) (First draft of a samba4 backup and recovery HowTo)
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The content of this document is adjusted to samba 4.x.

This is a tutorial about backup and restore of samba in hope that it will be usefull. But it comes WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY!

Until this line is removed, consider this document as a DRAFT, that may contain faults or is missing something!


If you have multiple DCs you should not simply restore the database files like described below. This could cause an inconsistend domain between your DCs.

If just one samba DC is broken, join it to the domain after reinstalling samba (remove all samba databases before). Everything will be sycronized again - except SysVol replication, what isn't implemented yet.

If the whole domain is broken on all DCs, you should post on the samba-technical mailing list on to discuss the best way to fix this.

How LDB and TDB files can be backuped/restored

If plan to modify the 'backup_samba' script or create an own solution, you'll find here some usefull information:

  • You must never copy a running database!
  • .ldb and *.tdb files can be backuped online with 'tdbbackup'
  • Files created by tdbbackup, are full abd normal TDB files. tdbbackup does the extraction safely.
  • Backups of *.ldb files can be just renamed (remove the *.bak) to their old name to restore.

About the backup_samba script

Samba provides a very basic backup shell script for it's databases. This requires that your whole samba installation is on one place (like /usr/local/samba/). If you have used configure options to store pieces of samba in different locations, you can adjust the script or use it as a base to write your own script.

Because this script is very basic at the moment, there are some things to know, if you plan to use it unchanged:

  • The script doesn't backup extended ACLs. This results in that you'll lose the permissions e. g. on the SysVol share. If you have a tar version that supports the --xattrs option (see the tar manpage), you should add this option to all 'tar' commands inside the script. This enables tar to keep extended ACLs in the archives


The backup script of samba isn't installed, when you run 'make install'. It's recommented that you copy it from the sources directory (source4/scripting/bin/samba_backup) to your system, like /usr/sbin, and set secure permissions:

# cp ..../source4/scripting/bin/samba_backup /usr/sbin
# chown root:root /usr/sbin/samba_backup
# chmod 750 /usr/sbin/samba_backup

Adust the following variables inside the script to your needs:


Create the destination folder, you have configured in the $WHERE variable and set permissions:

# mkdir /usr/local/backups
# chmod 750 /usr/local/backups

Start the backup script for a first test

# /usr/sbin/samba_backup

If the script exits without an error, you should find three files in the destination folder:

  • etc.{Timestamp}.tar.bz2
  • samba4_private.{Timestamp}.tar.bz2
  • sysvol.{Timestamp}.tar.bz2

If your test backup succeeded, you should add a cron-job for daily backup:

# crontab -e

Add the following line to backup daily at 2am:

0 2 * * *       /usr/sbin/samba_backup


The following restore guide assumes, that you backuped your databases with the 'samba_backup' script. If you have your own script, adjust the steps.

It's always recommented, that you restore the backuped databases to an installation that contains the same samba version, you made the backup on! Never do a restore and an version change at once!

If your whole system is broken, you have first to setup the whole machine like described in the HowTos (Active Directory Controller or Member Server).

Remove the folders, that we will restore (samba must not be running!):

# rm -rf /usr/local/samba/etc
# rm -rf /usr/local/samba/private
# rm -rf /usr/local/samba/var/locks/sysvol

Now unpack your latest working backup files to their old location

# cd /usr/local/backups
# tar -jxf etc.{Timestamp}.tar.bz2 -C /usr/local/samba/
# tar -jxf samba4_private.{Timestamp}.tar.bz2 -C /usr/local/samba/
# tar -jxf sysvol.{Timestamp}.tar.bz2 -C /usr/local/samba/

Rename *.ldb.bak files in the 'private' directory back to *.ldb. With GNU find and Bash this can be done at once by:

# find /usr/local/samba/private/ -type f -name '*.ldb.bak' -print0 | while read -d $'\0' f ; do mv "$f" "${f%.bak}" ; done

If your backup doen't contains extended ACLs (see section About the backup_samba script, you have to run

# samba-tool ntacl sysvolreset

At last you have to fix the hardlinks for the DNS databases, that got lost during backup/restore. The steps you'll finde here: A note on DNS problems.

Now you can start samba and test if your restore was successfull.

Hint: It is of course possible to restore single databases out of your backups, if you know which one is broken. But make sure, that some databases may be linked to others. So be carefully that you don't get an inconsitent system! If you are unsure if your broken database relies on others, you should ask on the samba-technical mailing list on