Easy file/folder backup for beginner

Snobbias

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Hey everyone! I'm a new Linux user. After some distro hopping I ended up on POP OS. I'm trying to get rid of Windows altogether but I still lack a backup solution. I've searched extensively and found lots of alternatives, but most seem too complex to install or are to difficult to use. Right now I'm using Deja Dup which is easy enough, but I'd like a few more options:

1. Needs to have a GUI
2. Needs to be installable by a complete beginner
3. Scheduled backups (set and forget)
4. Backup to network locations (i.e. local NAS)
5. Ability to create several different backup jobs with different parameters.
6. Incremental backups with versioning would be a huge bonus.

When searching for backup for linux I end up with almost only open source software, but I wouldn't mind proprietary paid software until I get more used to Linux.
 


f33dm3bits

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Hello @Snobbias, welcome to linux.org! You can look at once of these,
then look for one that has both a graphical interface and cli support. That way you can use the graphical interface if you want and you will be able to setup a scheduled job using cron with the cli.
 

jglen490

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I use rsync for backups, which is a CLI thing. However, it does have a few GUI iterations such as Grsync. No doubt others will chime in with suggestions. Be careful with some that are touted as backup solutions, but "out of the box" are point in time recovery solutions. Even so, some of the better ones can be configured as actual backups.
 

Snobbias

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Hello @Snobbias, welcome to linux.org! You can look at once of these,
then look for one that has both a graphical interface and cli support. That way you can use the graphical interface if you want and you will be able to setup a scheduled job using cron with the cli.
Thank you for your advice. It seems I need to read up on cron first to make this work. Most of those programs seem to be sync oriented and after a lot of tinkering I managed to get resilio sync up and running. I will give Grsync a shot as well.
 

jglen490

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My backup is never done with a cron job. My backup goes only and always to one of four different external drives, that are never mounted on boot, never attached to my PC until needed, and once done are immediately unmounted and physically removed to a storage location.

A write to an external drive done purely with a cron job, is no better than a recovery point and - in my opinion - not an actual backup.
 

Snobbias

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My backup is never done with a cron job. My backup goes only and always to one of four different external drives, that are never mounted on boot, never attached to my PC until needed, and once done are immediately unmounted and physically removed to a storage location.

A write to an external drive done purely with a cron job, is no better than a recovery point and - in my opinion - not an actual backup.
I'm not sure I follow you. My plan is to automate the backup as much as possible so I don't even need to think about it. Problem is I don't know anything about ssh, cron, rsync, NAS permissions and so on...

However, I've now learnt to create cronjobs, and I think I can handle rsync. I've enabled ssh on my Synology NAS and I'm able to connect using my admin account. I've even managed to exchange keys to the NAS so I won't need to type a password (for the admin account). I suppose this is a requirement for complete automation?

Now I ran into a different problem. I'd rather not give my Linux OS complete access to the NAS. I'd prefer to create a -backup- user on the NAS which only has access to the backup share. But when I try to ssh using the backup account I get "permission denied". I read that only an admin account can ssh into the NAS so I don't know how to exchange keys with the backup account. Maybe I should add the backup account to the admin group? But won't that give the backup account full access? I'm so confused.

So much to learn all at once. I need a break.

Edit: Just a little addition: I've hooked up an external USB drive to the NAS since I figured it would somehow be safer if the NAS was in charge of the permissions to that share. And that's the drive I'm going to use for backups.
 

Snobbias

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Sorry for spamming this thread, but I ended up using my NAS admin account to SSH into the NAS although it doesn't feel quite right. So now I have a simple backup solution although it's gonna get messy to clean up since it just adds files incrementally if I understand correctly.

I can't help but feel there must be a better solution. For instance, should I use anacron to run missed backups? How do other new Linux users set up their backup? I think this was quite complicated.
 

f33dm3bits

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My backup is never done with a cron job. My backup goes only and always to one of four different external drives, that are never mounted on boot, never attached to my PC until needed, and once done are immediately unmounted and physically removed to a storage location.

A write to an external drive done purely with a cron job, is no better than a recovery point and - in my opinion - not an actual backup.
Depends on what type of backup you are making, there is file backup and system backup, if you are talking about software such as timeshift then I agree with you that isn't a backup but just a recovery point and timeshift doesn't claim to be backup software. I find being able to restore my personal files more important than being able to restore my whole system from a backup, I can just reinstall the system if needed and then restore my files. So I use borgbackup in a daily cronjob to backup my files to several remote locations, and I have been able to restore files when needed so it works as what I set it up for so it's an actual backup.
 
Last edited:

Condobloke

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Carosone

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Hey everyone! I'm a new Linux user. After some distro hopping I ended up on POP OS. I'm trying to get rid of Windows altogether but I still lack a backup solution. I've searched extensively and found lots of alternatives, but most seem too complex to install or are to difficult to use. Right now I'm using Deja Dup which is easy enough, but I'd like a few more options:

1. Needs to have a GUI
2. Needs to be installable by a complete beginner
3. Scheduled backups (set and forget)
4. Backup to network locations (i.e. local NAS)
5. Ability to create several different backup jobs with different parameters.
6. Incremental backups with versioning would be a huge bonus.

When searching for backup for linux I end up with almost only open source software, but I wouldn't mind proprietary paid software until I get more used to Linux.
don't try over! For you is good Linux mint 20 (is you have cpu 64b) or Linux mint 19.3 (if you have cpu 32b) it's very much simple
 

Snobbias

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don't try over! For you is good Linux mint 20 (is you have cpu 64b) or Linux mint 19.3 (if you have cpu 32b) it's very much simple
What backup would I use in Linux Mint? And would that be simpler than any other Linux distro? Please elaborate.

(I did try Linux Mint for a week but it wasn't for me.)

Trying to figure out Borg now. Maybe setup a Borg server on a Raspberry Pi and connect a drive to it. Sounds like a fun challenge. I've started to assume there is no easy solution for us Linux noobs when it comes to backup.
 

70 Tango Charlie

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Greetings Sno,
Have you heard of Timeshift?
It is a very good backup program and not that difficult to follow.
Old Geezer, TC
 

Snobbias

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Greetings Sno,
Have you heard of Timeshift?
It is a very good backup program and not that difficult to follow.
Old Geezer, TC
Greetings mr. Charlie and thanks for your participation. And yes, I've tried it but if I understand correctly it only creates snapshots of the files locally? I'm looking at some different options but I might resort to rsync/cron.
 

Condobloke

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Timeshift is similar to applications like rsnapshot, BackInTime and TimeVault but with different goals. It is designed to protect only system files and settings. User files such as documents, pictures and music are excluded. This ensures that your files remains unchanged when you restore your system to an earlier date. If you need a tool to backup your documents and files please take a look at the excellent BackInTime application which is more configurable and provides options for saving user files.....or clonezilla......etc etc Clonezilla is a bit harder to figure out, but is ultra reliable.

To install backintime :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bit-team/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install backintime-qt4

or, you may find it in the software manager for pop os (i am not sure, I do not use pop os)


BackinTime has a good reputation.

On the other hand, if deja dup is doing the job for you, why change ? (if its not broken, dont fix it ?)

In either case, I would thoroughly recommend Timeshift. It can save you easily and simply, from those omg moments.
All you need is an external hard drive.......All i keep is 2 snapshots per month (your needs may vary)......that takes up approx 24GB each, and I simply replace one each fortnight. Takes around 4 minutes to do so. I include the 'User Home Directories'...By selecting that in Settings....(by default they are excluded unless enabled in settings.)
 

ReginaBob

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My backup is never done with a cron job. My backup goes only and always to one of four different external drives, that are never mounted on boot, never attached to my PC until needed, and once done are immediately unmounted and physically removed to a storage location.

A write to an external drive done purely with a cron job, is no better than a recovery point and - in my opinion - not an actual backup.
Yea,after trying some rediculously complicated backup programs,I got out my trusty 2TB external drive and copied everything to it the old fashion way(drag and drop).It lives in the closet until needed(every time I bork my system and need to do a clean install)I also have copies of all the important stuff on another external drive and on my laptop.Haven't figured out how to get backup offsite in case my house burns down.
 

Snobbias

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Timeshift is similar to applications like rsnapshot, BackInTime and TimeVault but with different goals. It is designed to protect only system files and settings. User files such as documents, pictures and music are excluded. This ensures that your files remains unchanged when you restore your system to an earlier date. If you need a tool to backup your documents and files please take a look at the excellent BackInTime application which is more configurable and provides options for saving user files.....or clonezilla......etc etc Clonezilla is a bit harder to figure out, but is ultra reliable.

To install backintime :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:bit-team/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install backintime-qt4

or, you may find it in the software manager for pop os (i am not sure, I do not use pop os)


BackinTime has a good reputation.

On the other hand, if deja dup is doing the job for you, why change ? (if its not broken, dont fix it ?)

In either case, I would thoroughly recommend Timeshift. It can save you easily and simply, from those omg moments.
All you need is an external hard drive.......All i keep is 2 snapshots per month (your needs may vary)......that takes up approx 24GB each, and I simply replace one each fortnight. Takes around 4 minutes to do so. I include the 'User Home Directories'...By selecting that in Settings....(by default they are excluded unless enabled in settings.)
Thanks for your suggestions, it's really appreciated. I've tried backintime Timeshift but frankly I don't care about the system files for now since I don't mind reinstalling the Linux distro if needed.

Timeshift Backintime however seems really potent. I haven't figured out how to make it work over the network yet, but locally it seems stable. Still learning about exchanging keys and setting permissions. I think I will use Timeshift for pure backups.

Now, let me just tell you about my old Windows 10 setup: I used to have folders for music, movies, and "My documents" that were automatically synced to the NAS using Resilio sync. Most people here suggest a more primitive approach to backup (i.e. insert a USB disk, copy files, and remove the disk) but syncing folders manually would be a real hassle. And I use Keepass to manage passwords and due to laziness I just installed Dropbox to sync the Keepass file so I can use it on my phone as well.

My plan however is to try to get everything to work with software that doesn't spy on me. I don't trust Dropbox and I'm not sure about Resilio sync.

For sync, I need software on the NAS as well, and since Synology supports rsync I guess that's the way to go? It supports programs like GoodSync Server, IDrive, MEGA, Syncthing, Resilio sync and probably a few others. Now I have to find a solution that me, a Linux noob, actually can get to work.

PS I'm now on Manjaro KDE Plasma; it seems I'm not done distro hopping.
 
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wizardfromoz

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Snobbias

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:) @Snobbias ... I see you are reading up on Timeshift, and welcome to linux.org

See my post here, on a similar matter

https://www.linux.org/threads/linux-backup-and-restore.32026/post-108578

That is, Timeshift is not yet capable of being used over networks.

That being said, it is very potent, as you have commented.

Cheers

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
Hi mr. Wizard. I'm sorry I messed up my post, Timeshift and Backintime should switch places (I will edit it). Nevertheless I just read your thread about Timeshift so I set it up anyway. I guess it can't hurt to back up the system files after all.

On a side note, I chose Btrfs when i reformatted a drive (from NTFS). Would Ext4 be better or it doesn't matter? I will use it only for backups.
 


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