• We had to restore from a backup today after a failed software update. Backup was from 0000 EDT and restored it at 0800 EDT so we lost about 8hrs. Today is 07/20/2024. More info here.

Linux Backup and Restore


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Nov 26, 2020
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Hi, so I am in the middle of a transition to a Linux world. I have made a choice on the hardware (another thread on this forum). But I need your help to figure out the approach for the backup and restore procedures. The ideal scenario is the following:
  1. Once the initial OS (I will go with Pop!_OS) is installed I want to have a Point 0 - as the starting backup in case something goes wrong.
  2. The documents will be located on another physical drive with a separate archive mechanism.
  3. The main scenario is to create backups with the main OS as soon as I have made any major changes.
  4. The desired outcome is to have an easy and quick way to restore OS from the backup when:
    1. The system crashed completely.
    2. I've made irreversible changes, that require the usage of the backup.
Can you please point out the possible solutions/applications/approaches that can be investigated further?

You will want a system backup tool and a file backup tool. For backing up and restoring your whole system to a point in time timeshift will probably do for your situation. The first backup you make manually and then afterwards it will do it on a configured schedule and you can configure it using a graphical interface.

For backing-up and restore files I use borbackup, but you will probably want something with a graphical interface? Take a look at the first chart on this page and find one that suits your needs, although I think the ones on the second chart my be easier for you since most of them have graphical interface option and the first chart they don't. Be sure to check what that the tool supports file backup and isn't just a restore to a point in time tool, I know timeshift doesn't but if I remember correctly BackInTime does.
Investigate Timeshift thoroughly.
It will save your sanity when/if you screw up.

I keep just two snapshots per month. I delete one and Create another once every two weeks. I do not use the scheduler.

I keep the snapshots on an external drive.
What you are talking about is a system recovery tool, and a file backup/restore tool.

Timeshift is a decent recovery tool, but you MUST be careful about how it's setup. Don't use it as a backup, just a targeted recovery from bad updates.

For file backup/restore use an rsync-based tool. There are a lot of them.
first method rsync and editing crontab job for automating process (its a good method for testing skills)
Timeshift's engine is rsync, John. :) - it just isn't set up (yet) to work across a network or remotely.

I don't use backup. I have 59 Linux Distros (today) on this rig, and every one is set up with Timeshift.

Any questions on Timeshift I can field at my Thread



Chris Turner
Chris, I have no problem with Timeshift being rsync based. In my experience on other forums, Timeshift is one of the least understood, and most problematic recovery or backup applications in Linux - for new users. It is very likely the number one, or number two cause of filesystem full errors that I've ever seen.

That does not make it bad, it just means be very careful with how it's set up. If it's used for spot OS update recovery, then it needs to be managed so that the recovery points are removed periodically or immediately if the OS update proves good and useful. If it is used as a backup and restore tool, then it must be set up to backup files to external resources that can be, or are isolated from the filesystem being backed up - such as a NAS or removable USB devices.

Simply advising, "Use Timeshift, or Grsync, or xyz", especially to a new user, does a disservice without addressing some aspect of what the tools can/should be used for. That's why I always try to first tell what I use (or don't use in the case of the OS/"system") and describe how I use it.

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