Methods for SD card image backup

Is there a way to perform an image backup of my system, without removing the SD card? I run HA on a Raspberry Pi 3, with a 32 Gig SD card. Prior to any big upgrades, or if I have made significant configuration changes, I like to get a full image backup of my SD card in case I want to do a full metal restore which is easy. But removing my SD card and getting an image is sometimes tedious and the win32diskmanager I use, is sometimes flaky.

Anyway, I am not apposed to upgrading and doing things differently if it means I am better protected if I need to restore, I just done know what possiblities there are.

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I’d like to hear of a better way, too.

My approach is to do regular backups and have another SD card ready to re-configure if necessary. The restore process is pretty easy, so no worries there. I update my system once a month, after the release updates have slowed a bit, so I’m never too far off the latest and greatest version.

That said, my regular backups are simply copying the contents of the config directory to my NAS. No way would I routinely use the built-in HA backup process, which copies the entire backup TO the SD card, where it would be useless if you ever really needed it. I only do that once a month, before each version upgrade, and even that is probably shortening the life of my SD card.

There’s an FR suggesting the ability to back up to external storage. Feel free to up-vote it!

My approach is to remove the SD card and make a Win32DiskImager backup once a month. The SD card I removed becomes the backup in a rotation of 3 other SD cards. The target of the Win32Disk is now the “production” SD for running the system.

This give me the confidence that the “backup” actually works and I can drop back to any of three previous months.

I also use Home Assistant Google Drive Backup.

Is is tedious? Yes. But it’s less tedious than testing backups or recovering from a disaster. Plus I have working copies for other purposes.

I guess the only thing I don’t like, is removing sd cards all the time. Plus reading and writing from SD cards wear them out. Thanks for reminding me about the google drive backup, I just set that up it is sweet. Too bad there is not a way to do an image of the sd card remotely and on a scheduled bases much like you would do a snapshot of a virtual machine. But I dont want to go virtual machine becuase I like having my home assistant on separate hardware, my Pi 3 has worked flawlessly for 3 years. I have only had to restore once because of a corrupt sd card.

That’s why I have 4 high quality SD cards in my backup rotation. None have failed yet (going on 3 years myself) but it will be an easy recovery when one does.