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Timeshift & Similar Solutions - Safeguard & Recover Your Linux



wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
OK, that's good :)

In Settings - Schedule, switch everything off for the moment, and we'll comeback and have a look at that tomorrow my time.

In a new Terminal, run the command

Code:
blkid
Instead of a screenshot look at your Toolbar in your Reply Pane and 4th from right is an oblong with a plus sign, click that and you can choose Code. Before you do, in Terminal menu - Edit - Select All, right-click in the highlighted text and copy, then back into linux.org, choose Code and paste between the "meta" flags.

Have a play with your new baby.

See you soon

Wiz
 

Shmu26

New Member
How to manage snapshots?
In Schedule, the only one ticked is daily, and I set it to keep 2 snapshots, but I see 5 saved snapshots listed.

If I want to clean them up, what's the smart way to do it? Are they linked to one another?
 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
How long has the tick been in place ?

Where are the snapshots saved ?....Have a look there as well to see how many are actually saved
 

Shmu26

New Member
How long has the tick been in place ?

Where are the snapshots saved ?....Have a look there as well to see how many are actually saved
The tick has been in place longer than several of the snapshots.
They are really saved, I just checked.
 

Shmu26

New Member
I am on Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon and using the version of timeshift as it was installed by default. Except that I put the number of snapshots to save down to 2, in order to save space.
 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
The answer for why there are more than expected will need to come from @wizardfromoz ....I do not know why

Deleting a snapshot....go to the drive where they are saved....right click in an empty space and select 'open as root'.....(password will be asked for)

Then right click whichever snapshot you are going to get rid of and select 'delete'

That'll do it.
 

Shmu26

New Member
The answer for why there are more than expected will need to come from @wizardfromoz ....I do not know why

Deleting a snapshot....go to the drive where they are saved....right click in an empty space and select 'open as root'.....(password will be asked for)

Then right click whichever snapshot you are going to get rid of and select 'delete'

That'll do it.
Thanks Bro. Maybe the issue was caused because I did not delete the old snapshots the right way. I simply deleted them from the Timeshift GUI. Now I am starting with a clean slate and we will see.
 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
Way to go !!!....let us know if that pans out for you.
 

wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
OK, my ears are burning :)

(Wizard appears in a puff of smoke, humming "Let's Do The Timeshift Again!")

..let us know if that pans out for you.
... and hopefully it does.

@Shmu26 is using the default setup from 'Tessa' Cinnamon, that is Linux Mint 19.1.

Clem and his Team (Clement Lefebvre - CEO & Project Leader, Linux Mint) began installing Tony George's Timeshift with LM 18.3 'Sylvia', then backported it to 18.2 and 18.1 (not sure about 18.0 'Sarah').

At that time, it was pretty much exactly as Tony designed it.

With the release of the 19 series of Mint, Clem either of his own doing, or perhaps with contributing help from Tony George, put their own stamp on Timeshift a little, making it more aggressive with "nags" to get you to set a schedule, and other small changes. These do not occur for users of Timeshift installed on other Distros. Current version is v19.01 released 20 January 2019.

Timeshift, by default, throughout its deployment in any Distro, will, if you do not tell it otherwise, setup a hidden folder in your Home folder or partition. This will be called

.timeshift - note the dot.

Within that folder are subfolders for the types of Snapshot, whether they be Daily, Boot, Weekly, whatever. Some will be empty, if no snapshots of that type have been taken. With those of a type that have been taken, their contents will have curved arrows, perhaps, indicating they are symlinked (shortcutted) to the main folder, called "snapshots".

"snapshots" contains every snapshot of every type taken (until they are deleted if an expiry time is set), and the folders are marked with Datestamp and Timestamp.

If you have just completed a fresh install of Mint 19 and upwards (19.1), when you first launch Timeshift and go through its Wizard, you will see by default it is set to Daily. There is a timing system set up by default, whereby, if you do not set it otherwise, Timeshift will take that first Daily snapshot within the first 24 hours. You will not see it running, but if you manually launch Timeshift while this process is in operation, you will receive an error message that another instance of Timeshift is running. The first snapshot will likely be as large as your system, which may be 7 - 8 GB to start with.

If you leave the computer on 24x7, and no files are changed/modified, added to nor deleted, Timeshift will examine its logs and determine not to generate a snapshot. This answers why some people think their Timeshift may not be running properly.

So following that first, full snapshot, subsequent snapshots are incremental, which may mean they will be as small as a few dozen MB, or as large as a couple of GB if extensive updates have been performed and new software added.

That being said, I will answer some of @Shmu26 's questions directly, in my next Post, just have to attend to a couple of other Members.

Cheers

Wiz
 

Shmu26

New Member
Thanks, Wizard!
I had an experience yesterday (although if you are in America, you might still call it today) that shook my faith a little.

I was getting low on disk space, so I deleted all snapshots, and made a new, baseline one. At the next snapshot I made, I started to get warnings from the OS that space is low. I tried to delete the snapshot I just made, but the OS did not recognize the newly freed up space. It went into an error state where I could not get anything to work right, it complained that there was no free disk space left.

I rebooted, and the system was still borked.

To resolve the issue I restored a system image I had made that morning. But I must say this shook my faith in the ability of the OS to manage disk space and maintain system stability.
 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
Buy an external HD....and save your snapshots to that. So, if your hard drive dies, your snapshots are in a safe spot.
 

wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
so I deleted all snapshots
Did you delete the snapshots through File Manager (Nemo) on your desktop, from their place of storage, or through Timeshift itself?

If through imeshift itself, it completely deletes the snaps and redeems the space.

If through your File Manager, then you also have to Empty the Trash, to truly get the space back.

Did you want to show us the specs for your computer, which will include storage available?

At Terminal

Code:
inxi -Fxz
copy and paste the output,, the z option on the end preserves your privacy on MAC addresses (internet connection).

Back tomorrow, I am in Australia (Queensland), and Brian is an Aussie too, 2 hours behind me.

Cheers

Wiz
 

Shmu26

New Member
What would we do without you Aussies.

Tell me if I am wrong, but it seems that when you delete from Nemo as root, it skips the trash bin and gets permanently deleted?
 

Shmu26

New Member
Timeshift will run automatic backups as long as there is 1 GB left on the partition. That's dangerous, when you only have 1 linux partition. How can I increase the threshold?
 

Condobloke

Well-Known Member
""Snapshots will be created at selected intervals if snapshot disk has enough space(>1 GB )""

There is no need to increase the threshold, because you have opted to only have"I set it to keep 2 snapshots"....anything in excess of this will be automatically deleted......so your disc will never fill up.
 

wizardfromoz

Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
What would we do without you Aussies.
Have one friend less? ;):confused::rolleyes:

Tell me if I am wrong, but it seems that when you delete from Nemo as root, it skips the trash bin and gets permanently deleted?
You're not necessarily wrong, but why are you running Nemo as Root, and what command are you using to launch it as same?

Timeshift will run automatic backups as long as there is 1 GB left on the partition. That's dangerous
No, because the automatic backups taken as per your schedule are incremental backups, hardlinked ultimately to the original full snapshot you took.

If your first snapshot consumes say 8GB, and then subsequent snapshots are only 100MB each, then you could get another 20 snapshots before 10GB is consumed.

If the destination backup area is not large enough, and you want to keep the snapshots, either enlarge the storage space using GParted, or get external storage (can even be a 32GB or 64GB USB stick).

Deleting snapshots from the end of your list will only redeem the space consumed by snapshots measuring perhaps only 100 MB in size as mentioned earlier, not the 8GB taken up by the original snapshot.

There is no need to increase the threshold, because you have opted to only have"I set it to keep 2 snapshots"....anything in excess of this will be automatically deleted......so your disc will never fill up.
Yes and no.

The figures that default to Timeshift on the Schedule tab refer to the number of snapshots kept, but are also linked to the timeframe established by their category. Even unchecking those checks does not change that.

Default is 2, 3, 5, 6, 5 for Monthly, Weekly, Daily, Hourly, Boot.

So a snapshot taken as Monthly default will still not be deleted until 2 months after, even if you have since changed to Weekly or other.

Wizard
 

Shmu26

New Member
Have one friend less? ;):confused::rolleyes:



You're not necessarily wrong, but why are you running Nemo as Root, and what command are you using to launch it as same?



No, because the automatic backups taken as per your schedule are incremental backups, hardlinked ultimately to the original full snapshot you took.

If your first snapshot consumes say 8GB, and then subsequent snapshots are only 100MB each, then you could get another 20 snapshots before 10GB is consumed.

If the destination backup area is not large enough, and you want to keep the snapshots, either enlarge the storage space using GParted, or get external storage (can even be a 32GB or 64GB USB stick).

Deleting snapshots from the end of your list will only redeem the space consumed by snapshots measuring perhaps only 100 MB in size as mentioned earlier, not the 8GB taken up by the original snapshot.



Yes and no.

The figures that default to Timeshift on the Schedule tab refer to the number of snapshots kept, but are also linked to the timeframe established by their category. Even unchecking those checks does not change that.

Default is 2, 3, 5, 6, 5 for Monthly, Weekly, Daily, Hourly, Boot.

So a snapshot taken as Monthly default will still not be deleted until 2 months after, even if you have since changed to Weekly or other.

Wizard
Thanks for all the clarifications.

I now understand that the predicament I got myself into a couple days ago was because I had both manual and automatic backups, and I mistakenly expected them to be treated with the same rules and as part of the same backup set.
 

rado84

Active Member
@wizardfromoz , I don't mean to depreciate your work to write this extensive tutorial but I gotta share my personal opinion. Which is that no decent backup can be achieved while the system is running and libraries and files are being used. The Windows backup tool works pretty much the same way. Timeshift can backup your settings and music but that's it. The only way you could backup used libraries is if you first copy them to another SD and then archive them. Otherwise you'll get a bunch of errors.
If you don't understand what I'm talking about, try archiving any of the folders /.mozilla or /.thunderbird while Firefox or Thunderbird is running. The archive manager will run fine for a while but at some point it will return an error - that's because the user folders contain files that are being used, such as the 'db' files. So, if you want to backup Firefox's user folder, you have to copy it first and then archive it. Which is not adviced to do because some files may have copying protection in order to prevent unwanted access to them. The passwords file, for instance. Surely, there was a way to disable that protection, altough I did that a very long time ago and I don't remember the where and the how, but it's possible.
So, Timeshift works the same way as the archive manager - it will backup something but not everything. Plus, there's no telling what it does to grub and whether it backs it up at all. For the sake if this post I installed Timeshift and used it (I don't need a tutorial for that - no offense) only to prove my point. My whole system currently is 14.5 GB (which includes nearly 2 GB of mods for American Truck Simulator).

Clonezilla backup - 5.0 GB.
Timeshift backup - 2.7 GB.

The Clonezilla (CZ) backup was created using a z6 compression level. I didn't see any compression levels settings in Timeshift but even there was no compression level, the size of the backup itself suggests Timeshift missed a lot of data.

Where as CZ may be ugly in the interface, reminding you of Microsoft's DOS (altough I suspect it was done like that on purpose, so that it can be used even on the slowest computer), it runs out of the system (live CD) and that's the only way to run CZ. But despite the ugly interface, it's quite easy to use. Everything that shows up on the screen is pretty self-explanatory, there are even notes in certain places to explain additional stuff AND the most important (for newbies) - absolutely no command-lining, only GUI. When you use CZ for the first time it may look frustrating bc of the MS-DOS interface but if you just read carefully every step of the process, there's no way for you to make a mistake. After the 3rd use you know it by heart. Right now I'd waste more time on backing up with Timeshift than I would with CZ cuz I know where and what happens at CZ.
I gotta say the most important for me is the fact that I can choose different levels of compression - from z0 (no compression) to z7 which is still experimental, so I don't use it. I use z6 which is the highest compression level. Sure, it takes about 15 minutes to compress all the data (bc the target is saved on a HDD; on an SSD it would take 3-4 minutes) but when it comes to restoring the backup, it takes just a few seconds (target location for restoring is SSD with 550/530MB R/W)!
When I install distros that use legacy grub, I always install grub inside the file system - no swaps, no boot partitions, not anything additional. There's a purpose for that and it's Clonezilla. When I make a full backup using CZ, I get a backup of a fully functioning system. After restoring the backup, all I have to do is boot up and that's it. But if there's an additional partition for either swap or boot, or both, these can't be backed up. I know bc I already tried that. Sure, CZ will back them up without a problem but when you restore them and try to boot the system, you'll get a bunch of errors about not matching IDs and other stuff.
 


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