Why “Backup” shouldn’t be a dirty word – 4 Ways to keep your Linux data safe.

Although it isn’t as described above, keeping backups is just prudent practice, however, it can be comparable to doing chores, (which no one wants to do) Even for non-critical systems backing up can save a lot of time and headaches for the everyday user. I always find that it can be one of the tasks that I have a good meaning to do, but put off getting round to. Recent setting changes resulted in a full a system reinstall reminded me of the importance so hence:

4 Ways to back up your Linux system.

1. Timeshift

Timeshift acts much like the system restore function on Windows and time machine on MacOS, It can create a backup of the whole system which can then be rolled back to in case of unwanted changes being made. Timeshift is included by default in Mint 19 and even prompts you to make a backup as part of the welcome screen. In Ubuntu 18.04 it can be installed by adding the following PPA

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt-get install timeshift

Open the application from the menu and you will be presented with the interface.

Screenshot from 2018-08-30 13-00-22.png

To get started click on the wizard to walk you through the steps to set up your backup schedule. Although it should be noted it doesn’t automatically backup user home directories and hidden directories.

To restore a previous snapshot simply select the required file in the main window and click restore.

Restoring using a live cd/usb

Saving your Timeshift snapshots to a different partition or external hard disk means that if everything gets REALLY messed up, for example, you can only gain access to the command line, the end is certainly not nigh. Simply boot up with a live distribution and reinstall timeshift as above and enter the settings option. choose where you have stored your snapshots and click refresh. Close the window and your list of snapshots will now be available to restore to your system. Panic over.

2. Aptik

Aptik is described as a “tool for migrating system settings and data to a fresh install of an Ubuntu related distribution” It can, however, be used to back up settings and reinstall on a fresh install. Aptik can backup and re-install PPAs, software packages, application settings, themes, mount entries, users/groups, home directory data and scheduled tasks with a single click. Each item can also be backed-up and restored individually. Reinstalling ubuntu isn’t a time-consuming task, the extras, however, can take a short job and turn it into days.

To install add the PPA as above with

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

and install with

sudo apt-get install aptik aptik-gtk

Open Aptik-gtk from your applications menu and your presented with this simple 3 screen app.


Set your backup location, head to the Backup tab and select what you want to save and click the Backup All Items button.

To Restore

Reinstall the application from the PPA as above, open and select the directory where you keep your backups and click the Restore all Items button. Simple.

3. Backup (deja-dupe)

Deja-Dup is Ubuntu’s default backup solution, The Maintainers say “It hides the complexity of backing up the Right Way (encrypted, off-site, and regular) and uses duplicity as the backend”. It’s simple and easy to use interface enables which folders to be included, which to ignore, where to save them to and schedule the frequency of backups.

Deja dup offers the ability to save backups both locally and remotely on services such as Google Drive and Nextcloud easily.

To install in mint/ reinstall in ubuntu simply type:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install deja-dup


4. Grsync

Grsync is a graphical frontend for rsync, it allows more advanced options than the other solutions, It is perfect for keeping single folders backed up or synchronised to other locations as opposed to providing a full system backup. Perfect for keeping copies of media synced between other devices whether pc or storage drives.

grsync is installable through the Ubuntu/Mint software centre or the terminal by entering:

sudo apt-get install grsync

Once installed open through your applications menu, To sync two folders click open for the source folder and select what you want to sync. Next click open on the destination and select where you would like the folder/files to sync to. Open the file menu and it will give you the option to simulate the transfer to check all options are correct. Alternatively click execute to press ahead and watch the magic happen. The option to select different profiles means that more than one sync can be performed, although it doesn’t give the option for scheduling, it still makes easy work out of rsync.



Choosing your Backup location

I would always recommend keeping your data on at least 2 devices, such as your main workstation plus either another computer/network storage or external HDD. It’s always a good idea to utilise cloud-based backup as well where possible for the files you really need to keep such as


Providing a small 2GB of free storage and paid plans for more not enough for a full system backup, however, has excellent Linux integration with many file managers as well as other systems to transfer files to.

Google Drive

15GB of free space shared with both a Gmail/google photos and access to google docs. Logging into google with online accounts will automatically mount your drive in nautilus for easy drag and drop use.


Pcloud provides 20GB of free space and a Linux electron appimage interface. Options are available to increase storage and enable encryption of files. The Installer will automatically mount the drive at startup for ease of use.


A huge 70GB was available when signing up with up to 40gb in a single transfer available, A Linux client is provided to sync the local folder and cloud and change any settings such as file sharing to other users.

So with four ways of perfoming easy backups, Data loss should now be a thing of the past (complete hardware failure and file corruption aside). How do you perform your backup? Do you have a prefered cloud based provider? Let us know in the comments.


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