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Recipe 16.12. Installing rsync on Windows Clients

16.12.1 Problem

You're running a mixed LAN, and you would like to back up your Windows clients on your Linux rsync server.

16.12.2 Solution

On all the Windows clients, install Cygwin, rsync, OpenSSH, and a Linux text editor. Then make a few Windows-specific tweaks, and you can use rsync just like on Linux clients.

To get all of these, visit and download setup.exe to your Windows PC. Click "Install from Internet," then proceed through the installation steps until you get to the Select Packages menu. In the +Net menu, select rsync and OpenSSH. In the +Editors menu, select an editor.

Now you need to add Cygwin's path to Windows. On Windows 95/98/ME, add C:\Cygwin\bin, or whatever your path is, to the SET PATH= statement in AUTOEXEC.BAT. Then reboot.

On Windows NT, go to Control Panel System Environment tab. Add the path setting to the end, then click the Set button. Click OK. You won't need to reboot.

On Windows 2000/XP, go to Control Panel System Advanced tab, then click the Environment Variables button. Double-click on the PATH statement in the System Variable screen, append the path, then click OK. You won't need to reboot.

Remember to separate your PATH statements with semicolons. Now your Windows PC is ready to make rsync and rsync over ssh transfers.

To use Cygwin, open an MS-DOS command shell, and start up Cygwin like this:


administrator@powerpc ~$

This puts you in a nice, familiar Bash environment. Alternatively, you can run an application directly from the C: prompt:

C:\cygwin\bin\rsync -av -e ssh  stationery  stinkpad:test

16.12.3 Discussion

For running rsync on Windows, use all the same commands as on Linux. Just remember to be careful of filepaths—Windows uses backslashes instead of forward slashes, and drive letters:

C:\cygwin\bin\rsync -av -e ssh  stationery  stinkpad:test

Cygwin creates a nice native Linux environment on your Windows system, and it comes with a large assortment of Linux utilities. If Cygwin doesn't include a Linux program you want to use, you may be able to make it work by compiling it on Windows. See for details.

16.12.4 See Also

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