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Recovering Data from RDS using BlueBEAR ( Linux)

This guide explains how you can use the snapshot/previous version feature to recover files from the Research Data Store on Linux (Windows guide available here), without needing IT Services to recover data from backup tapes. Snapshots of files are usually available for 4 days, e.g. if you made changes on a Friday you could still recover the original file on the Monday after. The snapshot directories (see below) will be named by the date they were created.

System Requirements

  • ssh client to connect to BlueBEAR e.g. via BEAR Portal, PuTTY (Windows) or macOS’s Terminal application.

  • University VPN service (if working off-campus).


In the example below we are trying to restore files from the Research Data Store directory /rds/projects/2017/ghumraak-01.

  1. Once you’ve logged into BlueBEAR, navigate to the .snapshots directory, which exists in the parent directory (i.e. one level up) from your project’s directory, e.g:

    cd /rds/projects/2017/.snapshots

    This .snapshots directory will contain subdirectories for each of the available backups, e.g. @GMT-2021.05.14-02.00.54.

  2. Execute the ll command (a longer version of ls) to see a list of the available snapshots.


  3. Navigate to the date of the folder which you think contains the data to be recovered. For this example, the folder chosen is /rds/projects/2017/.snapshots/@GMT-2021.05.14-02.00.54/ghumraak-01/Folder A:

    cd "/rds/projects/2017/.snapshots/@GMT-2021.05.14-02.00.54/ghumraak-01/Folder A"


  4. Copy the files that are required to either (a) the original folder or (b) a new folder.


    The file or folder will replace the current version on your computer, and the replacement cannot be undone. If you need to keep a copy of the original folder then you must rename the original folder before continuing to restore the files/folders.

    1. To copy a specific file to the original location:

      cp "Pop up screenshot.PNG" "/rds/projects/2017/ghumraak-01/Folder A"
    2. Once you have created a new folder e.g. Folder A Recovered, you can copy the whole folder:

      mkdir -p "/rds/projects/2017/ghumraak-01/Folder A Recovered"
      cp -r "/rds/projects/2017/.snapshots/@GMT-2021.05.14-02.00.54/ghumraak-01/Folder A" "/rds/projects/2017/ghumraak-01/Folder A Recovered"


      Passing the -r option to the cp command will copy the directory recursively. (See for further info.)

      You can then review the files in the new folder: restore-08


Since 2018 all projects are now named with the the PI’s username-initial, followed by the project name: /rds/projects/USERNAME_INITIAL/PROJECT_NAME,

For example, if your username was skywalker and your project was called father-issue then the directory path would be:


Further Assistance

If you need further help, please raise an Other BEAR Request ticket on the Service Desk.

If you need to report a fault with the service, please raise a Report a Fault with BEAR ticket on the Service Desk.