Timeshift & Similar Solutions - Safeguard & Recover Your Linux

Bayou Bengal

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Hello @wizardfromoz
Greetings from on Zakynthos Island where we are for family holidays!
Thanks for updates.

Just a question, consider @JasKinasis’s post what about MATE edition of Linux Mint ?
Is gone be supported on Mint 19?
Yes, Capt., it is going to be supported. I was just on the Linux Mint Forums and the beta version of 19 has been released for XFCE, Mate and Cinnamon. They were released this past Sunday. They also have a 32 bit version. No indication when the LTS versions will be released.
 


wizardfromoz

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Geez, I dunno ... bloke gets a good night's sleep, comes into the Office with his hand firmly clasped around a cup of coffee, gets set to answer a question, and then finds there's a page 3 where two other blokes named wizardfromoz are answering his questions :D:D:D

Later, guys ;)

(Wizard disappears in a puff of smoke, off to get more coffee)

BTW - have a good holiday, Capta and stop making me jealous :p
 

VP9KS

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Timeshift for Linux is an application that provides functionality similar to the System Restore feature in Windows and the Time Machine tool in Mac OS. Timeshift protects your system by taking incremental snapshots of the file system at regular intervals. These snapshots can be restored at a later date to undo all changes to the system.

The above paragraph is from Tony George's presence at GitHub.


Wizard’s Glossary


rsync – a Linux command used across all Families, and favoured by sysadmins for copying and synchronising files and directories (folders) across Linux/Unix systems, but also having application for the Home User. It stands for Remote Sync.

PPA – Personal Package Archive – a source on the Net for adding a repository to your system, for particular software, it then includes that software in notifying you of updates. Developed by Ubuntu, and is in Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and the like.

Clem – is Clement Lefebvre, Project Leader and Founder of Linux Mint.

Wizard’s Recommended Reading

https://www.linux.org/threads/aptik-have-settings-will-travel.4529/

I have listed my article on Aptik, above because Timeshift is from the same author – Tony George of teejeetech.in – Tony works out of India, a hive of activity in the IT world. He is also the author of Conky Manager, an industry standard for the management of conkys.


FIRST USE

Used (with Linux Mint 18.3 ‘Sylvia’ Cinnamon), which is on my /dev/sda28.

I have prepped for this exercise by creating a separate Partition as the target for Timeshift Snapshots. On my laptop this is /dev/sda32, but it could just as easily (even better) be on a totally separate physical HDD.

I have labelled the Partition “Shifted” so that it will appear as same in any of my File Managers. I have allocated 60 GiB to the partition, and, as a multi-multi-booter of Linux, I have placed it in a part of the drive whereby I can “grow” the partition, should I have need.

The 60 GiB partition has 1.12 GiB consumed in overheads from setting it up, leaving 58.88 GiB free.

Clem and his Team have taken, I believe, a forward step and released Mint 18.3 ‘Sylvia’ both Cinnamon and MATE editions with Timeshift shipping installed. I expect Xfce and KDE DEs to follow suit.

They are not the first to do so, as we will see in a future Post dealing with Manjaro (in particular, Manjaro ‘Strit’), but because of Mint’s high profile, I would expect other Distros to follow suit, just as many did in providing spins including the Cinnamon DE, which was Mint’s invention.


STAGE 1

STEPS


Find Timeshift

Cinnamon : Menu – Administration

MATE : Menu – All Applications – System Tools


  1. Right-click and add it to your Panel and/or Favourites, you will use it regularly.

  2. If you are planning to save the Timeshift snapshot generated to a separate partition or drive, have at your fingertips the device name and number … in my case it will be /dev/sda32 which I have created earlier using GParted and has 60 GiB for multiple Distros to be shifted.

  3. Launch Timeshift and sign in. The first time it starts, the Wizard (not me) will appear. The default checked at top is RSYNC, leave it as that. If you do not know of BTRFS you do not have it, but by all means ask elsewhere.
It is worth reading this first screen, as you won’t see it again unless you actively choose to run the wizard. On completion, click Next.

4. Timeshift estimates the size required to take a standard snapshot. Older versions would tell you the space required, current version does not.

5. Timeshift then snaps to a screen showing the partitions on your drive, defaulting to the root partition you are on, in my case, /dev/sda28. If the estimated size of the snapshot to be taken exceeds the amount of free space available on the target location, Timeshift will warn you.

Here I change my snapshot location to the partition I prepared earlier and referenced at Step 3, that is /dev/sda32. Click Next.

6. This will bring us to Select Snapshot Levels. The default is set at Daily and each daily snapshot will be kept for 5 days (unless altered). I do not wish to have them performed daily, so I will uncheck this, and Timeshift will warn me.

I will be performing On Demand snapshots, we will see later depicted with an alphabetic “O”.

Leave “Stop cron emails for scheduled tasks” checked, unless you know what cron is (or anacron for that matter), but again, research elsewhere if you choose. Click Next.

8. This brings us to Setup Complete, and once again, have a good read through the bulleted points. The 3rd one, featuring mention of the files and folders not included by default, is what I will be focusing on next.


Click Finish or close the window.


STAGE 2

Making Sure You Get What You Want/Need

Completing the Wizard is not all we might have to do to run Timeshift successfully.

Closing the Wizard has brought us to a new, larger window. If we take a look at the named icons:

  • Create, Restore and Delete are pretty self-explanatory, but we will use them all to see what is entailed.

  • Browse allows you to actually take a look at the files and folders contained within the snapshot. This opens an instance of your File Manager (Caja for MATE, Nemo for Cinnamon) at the spot where the snapshot is stored, and the folder structure is that which you would obtain on your Distro by choosing “File System”.

  • Settings will take us back to a greyish window like the Wizard, but with more options (Users and Filters)
  • On the right, Menu includes an option to view Timeshift Logs.
Likewise the tabbed headers, in particular Comments, will be looked at.


STEPS


  1. The first thing I focus on is Settings, and then choose Users. Why? Timeshift author Tony George does not pretend that Timeshift is a full backup solution. It is more like Windows Restore.

  2. In Users, I check all boxes (four of them). In this way, I ensure that my entire Home Folder is preserved, both data and settings. Bear in mind I do not use this folder for much, preferring external storage.

A number of the hidden folders and files are important, for my records.

3. Filters, then, shows us what we have chosen in Users, and gives us another chance to add, remove, or exclude more. When we are finished, press Close.

4. Now I am ready to Create a snapshot. Press Create. The initial estimates of time remaining may appear daunting, but as Timeshift builds up a head of steam, they reduce to a more desirable level. Times of less than 10 minutes are not unusual.

5. Once I see over 250,000 files have been saved I am in my comfort zone, because I know from experience that a number of my Distros have similar figures in their files. The process concludes with the Parsing of the log files.

We are back to the same screen or window, but now there is an occupant in the white pane, our snapshot, and it has a date and time so we do not need to duplicate that. System tells us the Distro that was captured (but with limitations I will explain soon), and Tags and Comments are of interest to us next.

M, W, D, H & B are as we saw with Select Snapshot Levels, and that is for Monthly, Weekly, Daily, Hourly, and at Boot. What was not listed there, and what is not subject to a time-frame before being culled, is O for On Demand. I use this all the time.

6. Click in the Comments field, and you will find an insertion point is placed for ready entry of text. This field has multiple uses, as you will see over time. I find it good as a timechart of what I have done with the Distro, and have still to do.

Prior to running Timeshift, I had -

  • Chosen & set my desktop wallpaper background

  • Chosen my mouse cursor theme and size

  • Installed some of my favourite additional apps

  • Synced my Firefox

  • Other customisations I employ to “feel at home” but

  • Not yet run updates
So in Comments, I type something meaningful to me, such as “Cinn full > FF synced & B4 1st upd /dev/sda28”. Enter and the text is locked in place, but can be edited any time.

This is my own shorthand for describing the contents of this “shift shot” as being the Cinnamon flavour of the Distro described under System, taken at the date and time described under Snapshot (that is start time, not finish time – logs can reveal more), with Firefox OK, and with Updates still to be performed. My Distro is on /dev/sda28.

7. Now I am off to perform those Updates, and … I am back and ready to create, and label a Timeshift snapshot, which will be incremental, that is, it will contain files and folders that have changed, or been created, since my last snapshot. I run that (only takes a short time because of the increment being relatively small) and label it, say, “Cinn DE - Updates incl New Kernel, incremental”

That is effectively all there is to it, if you are only using one Linux Distro on your computer. The video shows you reference points, and you can try it at home for yourself and get the hang of it.



Video 1 - Running Timeshift for the first time (plus incremental snapshot)


But wait, there’s more!

In subsequent Posts, and subsequent to comments from The Viewers and answering questions on what has been effected so far, I will be showing you :

  • How important that Comments field can be, if you run more than one Linux

  • How to restore your Distro, should disaster strike

  • How to install Timeshift, on other than the new Linux Mints that ship with it, across a large number of Distros from different “Families”, including RPM-based, Arch-based, Gentoo-based, and more Debian-based than just Linux Mint alone.
Cheers


Wizard

Chris Turner
Nice video, Wiz! I assume the desktop is your back window view?:rolleyes:
 

wizardfromoz

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Not mine, Paul, closer to Capta.

It's called Santorini, an island of the Cyclades in the southern Aegean Sea, perhaps Capta has visited. Devastated by a volcanic eruption in the 16th century but seems to have come back OK?

Ships as a wallpaper of choice with Linux Mint 18.3, from whence the shot was taken.

Now knock it off yer bunch of schoolboys, and tomorrow we get back to serious Timeshift stuff.

I also have news for its sibling, Aptik, coming up shortly over at

https://www.linux.org/threads/aptik-have-settings-will-travel.4529/

... so stay tuned :D

Wiz
 

blackneos940

Active Member
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Timeshift for Linux is an application that provides functionality similar to the System Restore feature in Windows and the Time Machine tool in Mac OS. Timeshift protects your system by taking incremental snapshots of the file system at regular intervals. These snapshots can be restored at a later date to undo all changes to the system.

The above paragraph is from Tony George's presence at GitHub.


Wizard’s Glossary


rsync – a Linux command used across all Families, and favoured by sysadmins for copying and synchronising files and directories (folders) across Linux/Unix systems, but also having application for the Home User. It stands for Remote Sync.

PPA – Personal Package Archive – a source on the Net for adding a repository to your system, for particular software, it then includes that software in notifying you of updates. Developed by Ubuntu, and is in Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and the like.

Clem – is Clement Lefebvre, Project Leader and Founder of Linux Mint.

Wizard’s Recommended Reading

https://www.linux.org/threads/aptik-have-settings-will-travel.4529/

I have listed my article on Aptik, above because Timeshift is from the same author – Tony George of teejeetech.in – Tony works out of India, a hive of activity in the IT world. He is also the author of Conky Manager, an industry standard for the management of conkys.


FIRST USE

Used (with Linux Mint 18.3 ‘Sylvia’ Cinnamon), which is on my /dev/sda28.

I have prepped for this exercise by creating a separate Partition as the target for Timeshift Snapshots. On my laptop this is /dev/sda32, but it could just as easily (even better) be on a totally separate physical HDD.

I have labelled the Partition “Shifted” so that it will appear as same in any of my File Managers. I have allocated 60 GiB to the partition, and, as a multi-multi-booter of Linux, I have placed it in a part of the drive whereby I can “grow” the partition, should I have need.

The 60 GiB partition has 1.12 GiB consumed in overheads from setting it up, leaving 58.88 GiB free.

Clem and his Team have taken, I believe, a forward step and released Mint 18.3 ‘Sylvia’ both Cinnamon and MATE editions with Timeshift shipping installed. I expect Xfce and KDE DEs to follow suit.

They are not the first to do so, as we will see in a future Post dealing with Manjaro (in particular, Manjaro ‘Strit’), but because of Mint’s high profile, I would expect other Distros to follow suit, just as many did in providing spins including the Cinnamon DE, which was Mint’s invention.


STAGE 1

STEPS


Find Timeshift

Cinnamon : Menu – Administration

MATE : Menu – All Applications – System Tools


  1. Right-click and add it to your Panel and/or Favourites, you will use it regularly.

  2. If you are planning to save the Timeshift snapshot generated to a separate partition or drive, have at your fingertips the device name and number … in my case it will be /dev/sda32 which I have created earlier using GParted and has 60 GiB for multiple Distros to be shifted.

  3. Launch Timeshift and sign in. The first time it starts, the Wizard (not me) will appear. The default checked at top is RSYNC, leave it as that. If you do not know of BTRFS you do not have it, but by all means ask elsewhere.
It is worth reading this first screen, as you won’t see it again unless you actively choose to run the wizard. On completion, click Next.

4. Timeshift estimates the size required to take a standard snapshot. Older versions would tell you the space required, current version does not.

5. Timeshift then snaps to a screen showing the partitions on your drive, defaulting to the root partition you are on, in my case, /dev/sda28. If the estimated size of the snapshot to be taken exceeds the amount of free space available on the target location, Timeshift will warn you.

Here I change my snapshot location to the partition I prepared earlier and referenced at Step 3, that is /dev/sda32. Click Next.

6. This will bring us to Select Snapshot Levels. The default is set at Daily and each daily snapshot will be kept for 5 days (unless altered). I do not wish to have them performed daily, so I will uncheck this, and Timeshift will warn me.

I will be performing On Demand snapshots, we will see later depicted with an alphabetic “O”.

Leave “Stop cron emails for scheduled tasks” checked, unless you know what cron is (or anacron for that matter), but again, research elsewhere if you choose. Click Next.

8. This brings us to Setup Complete, and once again, have a good read through the bulleted points. The 3rd one, featuring mention of the files and folders not included by default, is what I will be focusing on next.


Click Finish or close the window.


STAGE 2

Making Sure You Get What You Want/Need

Completing the Wizard is not all we might have to do to run Timeshift successfully.

Closing the Wizard has brought us to a new, larger window. If we take a look at the named icons:

  • Create, Restore and Delete are pretty self-explanatory, but we will use them all to see what is entailed.

  • Browse allows you to actually take a look at the files and folders contained within the snapshot. This opens an instance of your File Manager (Caja for MATE, Nemo for Cinnamon) at the spot where the snapshot is stored, and the folder structure is that which you would obtain on your Distro by choosing “File System”.

  • Settings will take us back to a greyish window like the Wizard, but with more options (Users and Filters)
  • On the right, Menu includes an option to view Timeshift Logs.
Likewise the tabbed headers, in particular Comments, will be looked at.


STEPS


  1. The first thing I focus on is Settings, and then choose Users. Why? Timeshift author Tony George does not pretend that Timeshift is a full backup solution. It is more like Windows Restore.

  2. In Users, I check all boxes (four of them). In this way, I ensure that my entire Home Folder is preserved, both data and settings. Bear in mind I do not use this folder for much, preferring external storage.

A number of the hidden folders and files are important, for my records.

3. Filters, then, shows us what we have chosen in Users, and gives us another chance to add, remove, or exclude more. When we are finished, press Close.

4. Now I am ready to Create a snapshot. Press Create. The initial estimates of time remaining may appear daunting, but as Timeshift builds up a head of steam, they reduce to a more desirable level. Times of less than 10 minutes are not unusual.

5. Once I see over 250,000 files have been saved I am in my comfort zone, because I know from experience that a number of my Distros have similar figures in their files. The process concludes with the Parsing of the log files.

We are back to the same screen or window, but now there is an occupant in the white pane, our snapshot, and it has a date and time so we do not need to duplicate that. System tells us the Distro that was captured (but with limitations I will explain soon), and Tags and Comments are of interest to us next.

M, W, D, H & B are as we saw with Select Snapshot Levels, and that is for Monthly, Weekly, Daily, Hourly, and at Boot. What was not listed there, and what is not subject to a time-frame before being culled, is O for On Demand. I use this all the time.

6. Click in the Comments field, and you will find an insertion point is placed for ready entry of text. This field has multiple uses, as you will see over time. I find it good as a timechart of what I have done with the Distro, and have still to do.

Prior to running Timeshift, I had -

  • Chosen & set my desktop wallpaper background

  • Chosen my mouse cursor theme and size

  • Installed some of my favourite additional apps

  • Synced my Firefox

  • Other customisations I employ to “feel at home” but

  • Not yet run updates
So in Comments, I type something meaningful to me, such as “Cinn full > FF synced & B4 1st upd /dev/sda28”. Enter and the text is locked in place, but can be edited any time.

This is my own shorthand for describing the contents of this “shift shot” as being the Cinnamon flavour of the Distro described under System, taken at the date and time described under Snapshot (that is start time, not finish time – logs can reveal more), with Firefox OK, and with Updates still to be performed. My Distro is on /dev/sda28.

7. Now I am off to perform those Updates, and … I am back and ready to create, and label a Timeshift snapshot, which will be incremental, that is, it will contain files and folders that have changed, or been created, since my last snapshot. I run that (only takes a short time because of the increment being relatively small) and label it, say, “Cinn DE - Updates incl New Kernel, incremental”

That is effectively all there is to it, if you are only using one Linux Distro on your computer. The video shows you reference points, and you can try it at home for yourself and get the hang of it.



Video 1 - Running Timeshift for the first time (plus incremental snapshot)


But wait, there’s more!

In subsequent Posts, and subsequent to comments from The Viewers and answering questions on what has been effected so far, I will be showing you :

  • How important that Comments field can be, if you run more than one Linux

  • How to restore your Distro, should disaster strike

  • How to install Timeshift, on other than the new Linux Mints that ship with it, across a large number of Distros from different “Families”, including RPM-based, Arch-based, Gentoo-based, and more Debian-based than just Linux Mint alone.
Cheers


Wizard

Chris Turner
Great post, good sir!..... :3 But on this 'lil Laptop of mine (the X205TA with the former Keyboard issues), I've only got liek 11 GB left of Disk space on this EMMC Card..... :< Linux is efficient with space on any given Disk, but for Timeshift..... I dunno..... :3 But I'll check it out on Debian, which Scotsgeek helped me install!..... :3
 

wizardfromoz

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TIMESHIFT NEWS - BULLETIN 3

At time of writing, the latest sub- or point release for Timeshift is available from its author, Tony George.

It is Timeshift v18.6 , with the last one being v18.4 released 1 April.

If you are new to Timeshift and wanting to get the latest, you can find it here

https://github.com/teejee2008/Timeshift/releases

If you already have Tony's PPA as a part of your updates framework, in Debian-based Distros such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint &c, it should be passing through your updates notifications imminently.

Cheers

Wizard
 

wizardfromoz

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Great post, good sir!..... :3 But on this 'lil Laptop of mine (the X205TA with the former Keyboard issues), I've only got liek 11 GB left of Disk space on this EMMC Card..... :< Linux is efficient with space on any given Disk, but for Timeshift..... I dunno..... :3 But I'll check it out on Debian, which Scotsgeek helped me install!..... :3
Hey Blackie, sorry to take so long.

When you get a chance post us here a screenshot from GParted of your current setup, and also whether you have access to something like a 16GB USB stick.

Cheers

Chris
 

blackneos940

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Hey Blackie, sorry to take so long.

When you get a chance post us here a screenshot from GParted of your current setup, and also whether you have access to something like a 16GB USB stick.

Cheers

Chris
Hey, Chris..... :3 Thank you for your help with openSUSE and Qt..... :3 I appreciate it..... :3 I currently don't have a working Charger for my ASUS, but I DID get a new Laptop for my birthday!..... :3 Check it out!..... ^^ https://www.walmart.com/ip/HP-15-bs...mory-500GB-Hard-Drive-DVD-Jet-Black/139270579
 

wizardfromoz

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@blackneos940 - Adam, g'day :)

When you see this, let me know if you got Timeshift installed on the "new" HP, or if you need a hand with any of it.

Cheers

Chris
 

wizardfromoz

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TIMESHIFT NEWS - BULLETIN 4

At time of writing, the latest sub- or point release for Timeshift, available from its author, Tony George, is as it has been for some months now.

That is, Timeshift v18.9.1 released 6 September.

It is available here.

Given the time of year, I am betting the next one we see will be a v19 early 2019.

For those with Timeshift questions if you can, tell me the version number. In your main Timeshift screen, there will likely be an icon near the right (next to Donate, perhaps) where if you click it, you will see "About". Click that to get the version details.

Cheers

Wizard
 

xXNORDXx

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Screenshot at 2019-01-09 16-11-27.png

how many times do I need to do this? daily?
 

wizardfromoz

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G'day @xXNORDXx :)

Tobey, can you give us a screenshot from Settings - Location?

Mine looks (scrolled a bit) like this





Also, one from Settings - Schedule would be good

Cheers

Wiz
 

xXNORDXx

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here is my screen shot of Timeshift
Screenshot at 2019-01-09 20-34-20.png
 

wizardfromoz

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And what does schedule say Tobey?

1. Is a box checked for Daily or Boot? If either of those applies, switch it off for now, and we can look at a schedule a little further on.

2. At Terminal, and with any external drives, even a large USB stick plugged in, can you give us the output for

Code:
df -h
?

We're getting down close to a page change, so I'll put this shot in you have supplied elsewhere, and I can repeat it if need be and we can work from it. This from Tobey's Windows 10 Pro.





Wizard
 

xXNORDXx

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I got in a pickle with trying to split the disk in half so I can have more disk space for Linux.
But I went into windows CMD had to delete a partition recovery to do it. on my chromebook right now.
Also had to wipe Linux to reinstall lol.
 

wizardfromoz

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Aww, Maaatte :):(

What can I say? Stuff Happens (& I spell stuff with 4 letters), been there, done that, got a t-shirt on the way.

I'll copy your Post above back to your usual Thread and you can tell us more about it from there

https://www.linux.org/threads/new-to-the-linux.21579/

We'll see if we can get you a bit more bulletproof, and yes, I was looking at that additional space myself :)

Wiz

NEWS FLASH

hang on, are you good now? Tell us more there.
 


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