Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Copying a Postgres Database from one laptop to another

I needed to copy a Postgres database from the dev environment on my previous laptop to my current laptop. The process was relatively easy.

The Setup on both machines was Ubuntu running under Oracle virtualbox on Windows 10.

I needed to go to Ubuntu on the old machine . and run the following command in Terminal. I had to put quotes around the db name since it had hyphens in the db name.


pg_dump the_db_name > the_backup.sql

Note – you might want to make sure that the database is not being used when you try to copy it. I decided to use my Google Drive account to move the file. It was only 300k I opened Google drive in chrome, went to the folder for that client and uploaded the SQL file.

I then went to the new machine and opened chrome and Google Drive. I downloaded the sql file to my downloads folder. The following command from terminal re-created the database on my new machine


psql the_new_dev_db < the_backup.sql

I got a bunch of key errors, probably because I had previously created the database. I believe that if the database didn’t exist, you would probably have to create the users and the associated roles.

At any rate, this trick save a LOT of time.

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