Two Microsoft laptops on a table in an office during the holidays
Two Microsoft laptops on a table in an office during the holidays // Photo by Windows
raspberry pi

A quick (raspberry) pi recovery

some excerpt

Disaster recovery.

I’m using one of the four RPi at home to power two old speakers I’ve bought on eBay, they’re fantastic to listen to, and I’m surprised again and again at their quality and clarity (Phonar M3’s in case you’re interested).

I was listening to a bit of music when my brain decided I needed to back up my RPi, just in case. And when some files didn’t want to back up, I decided to call the following command:

sudo chmod -R 777 /etc

And before I knew it, I couldn’t log in anymore through SSH. With that, the inspiration for this post arrived.

I have two scenario’s when using RPi to recover now.

Scenario 1: Backup and Restore

I’m using restic1 for this purpose. It’s super quick, efficient, works out of the box when your Pi is freshly installed and it’s easy to restore.

  • Install restic through apt-get install restic (might need to sudo)
  • Connect to your network server (I’m using NFS - amazon, dropbox and others are supported)
  • Restore your backup with restic; restic restore2

Scenario 2: Flat Fresh Install

Since the first scenario didn’t work for changing the rights on my /etc/ folder - pasting what I needed to do as a reminder for myself:

  • Setup RPi according to my own manual
  • Setup /etc/fstab to mount the right folders
# <file system>     <dir>       <type>   <options>   <dump>	<pass> /var/backups  nfs      defaults    0       0
  • Setup hifiberry Amp23 — this thing truly is a box of magic!
  • Run the following script:
sudo apt install -y zsh byobu mc restic docker-ce docker-ce-cli python3-pip neofetch figlet

This script installs a bunch of software using apt (ubuntu's package manager) with:

  • ZSH (I prefer .oh-my-zsh4 on top)
  • Byobu
  • MC — Midnight commander
  • Restic
  • Python 3's package manager (pip3)
  • Docker
  • Neofetch / figlet (fun stuff for the terminal)

Add the RPi to Swarm

  • Run docker swarm join-token worker on your host node

  • Run the join command you get in return on your worker node

  • Run docker node ls to see it

  • Install docker compose $ sudo pip3 install docker-compose for scripts you run on the machine itself. (sonoshttpapi for instance isn’t a great candidate for swarm mode)

  • I really like bpytop $ sudo pip3 install bpytop to look at my reviews, it's also pretty sexy on a big screen!

curl -fsSL | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs

Installs NodeJS / NPM

npm i -g crontab-ui node-red

Installs crontab-ui and node-red using npm


Crontab-ui is a web-based GUI for scheduling cron jobs, it’s easy to use, and lets you manage cron jobs without having to deal with VI or nano.

  • I’ve added a small bash script to crontab-ui itself to start itself (yes, very meta)


I’ve mentioned Restic in scenario1 before this, it’s nice and quick.

  • I run a batch script called from an NFS share (will insert the script later on)
  • Add backup job to crontab, to run regularly (e.g., hourly, depending on the importance)


The main pain I had when ‘killing’ the machine was nodered, the flows take a lot of my time to create, not backing them up a failure I’ve made a few times now.

  • Run node-red with --settings settings.json and --userDir DIR


Roonbridge is how I get music played on my RPi. The software is outstanding, managing music ‘fun’, and it supports countless options for DSP to optimise my speaker setup.

Shairport-sync is a reverse engineered project that allows me to AirPlay(2) content on my RPi. It’s quick, responsive and the delay minimal.


  • Copy the following bits from your ~ (home) directory:
    • /.byobu
    • /.config
    • /.gitconfig
    • /.oh-my-zsh
    • /.profile
    • .zprofile
    • .zsh_history
    • .zshrc

The last step is personal preference, I have a specific byobu / zsh configuration I enjoy working with. YMMV.

Short Update and a Tip!

I've started using syncthing to sync my home directory to skip the file syncing. It also does a little bit of magic for autocompletion for instance. Try it out!

Comments? Questions? You are welcome to leave your remarks below!





This is a WIP
Content is never static, I'll create, read, update and delete whenever I think that makes sense.

Feel free to add your comments to this page so I can keep things relevant!

One Reply to “A quick (raspberry) pi recovery”

  1. Nice resource! Once you’ve figured out the installation steps to go through, you may also want to consider creating an installation script that you keep easily accessible to yourself.

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