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Guide Beginner Backup Pop!_OS. Simple, easy and thorough

derpOmattic

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At some point you’re going to decide to keep your current installation, and when that happens you will want to start making backups to keep your data, hard work, and configurations safe. There are many ways you can do backups with Linux, but today I want to share one that is extremely easy to get set up and working.

The first thing you will need to make a backup is a place to store it. Most people opt for an external drive, but the backup can basically go wherever you want. If you're going to purchase a new external drive to back up your Linux distro on, I recommend the Samsung T5 SSD series. It was recommended to me by someone who knows quite a bit about these things and, I can say it has been easy to use and faultless so far. I recently purchased the 250G for the express purpose of backing up my current operating system.

You will need to format your new hard drive and, for Linux, the recommended filesystem is currently ext4. To do this, you can use the Disks program which is bundled with most modern distributions. GParted is another great tool for formatting drives, but is rarely installed by default. If you need help with formatting the drive see the tutorial “Formatting Drives with the Disks utility”.

The next thing you will need is a copy of Timeshift. If you are unfamiliar with Timeshift, it functions in a way very similar to Apple’s Time Machine. If you can use Time Machine, you can use Timeshift. It's lightweight, functions nicely, is aesthetically pleasing and is just a well-written, clean backup solution. To read a little more about it you can see this article.

Although Timeshift can back-up everything including your home folder and personal files, when the restore function is utilized it will only restore system files. This is somewhat misunderstood by many people, but makes sense when you read the information from Timeshift's website.
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 BackInTimeapplication which is more configurable and provides options for saving user files.
If you've backed up your personal files with Timeshift, you can always copy them back manually.

Now, to download and install Timeshift, you can follow these steps;

First, make sure you are connected to the Internet and open a Terminal. You can find Terminal or an equivalent program preinstalled with any standard installation. Assuming you have the GNOME desktop installed, the easiest way is to press the super + t keys. If you want to learn some Terminal basics you can read this article.

Once Terminal is open, there will be a cursor in front of a $ sign. This is where you need to start typing. Enter the following line, or you can just copy and paste it from here.

Note: These lines of text are for Debian and Ubuntu based distros. Refer back to the It's FOSS link for any other OS.

Note: 2019.04.27. Timeshift now available in the Pop!_OS repositories via apt, so no need for PPA. Just sudo apt install timeshift. Done!

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa

Type: sudo apt install timeshift

You will be prompted to type your password. Do so and press ENTER.

At this point you will need to ensure the drive for your backups is attached.

Timeshift is now installed, and you should have a new icon in your installed software. Open Timeshift, and you will be prompted to enter your password. Go to Settings and select your external as the destination in the location tab, as pictured Below.

Screenshot from 2018-12-27 11-59-36.png


In the Type tab make sure you select RSYNC. Additionally, in the Users tab, select your username-home and root folders to include all. When you are happy with your settings, close that window and click Create. Sit back and watch Timeshift work at lightning speed!


Note: If you want Timeshift to work like Time Machine and automatically make incremental backups on a regular basis, you can set that up using the Schedule tab.

I consider it good etiquette to support the free open source software that you use often. If Timeshift becomes your permanent solution to do Linux backups, take note that there is a Donate button on the top right of Timeshift's main window.
 
Last edited:

alosarjos

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Since I'm a bit reticent regarding the addition of additional repositories to the System, another alternative could be using Deja-Dup.

it's provided by Gnome. Easy to use and prepared for Google Drive ;)

https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/DejaDup
 

derpOmattic

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Thanks for the suggestion as I'm also reticent to add repositories. I'm trying to keep this install as simple as possible but I haven't had a good experience with Deja-Dup in the past. Maybe it wasn't quite ready then being really buggy. I try to keep everything native if possible to reduce the risk of bugs. If Deja-Dup is less buggy I would prefer the native option. Maybe I should revisit Deja_Dup and see if it is better now. Something to report on in the future.

Anything I write for new users has to be simple and "just work" which Timeshift did. Timeshift can utilize any attached cloud storage also.
 

evertiro

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For what it's worth, I personally recommend Timeshift. I'm not sure why it's not in the official repos, but it's a well-written, clean backup solution.
 

derpOmattic

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A timely addition to the Pop!_OS repo, Timeshift is now available through sudo apt install timeshift, so no need to install the PPA. Alternately, Timeshift will soon be available through the Pop Shop.
 

derpOmattic

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UPDATED: Added a brief description of Timeshift's function due to a LOT of misunderstanding.
 

ayoungethan

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Jun 19, 2019
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Deja Dup recently fixed an interface bug relating to the front end successfully telling the back end which source to select, that prevented new backups and restores from initiating successfully. Every other aspect has performed flawlessly for me, and it has performed flawlessly for me since.
 

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