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How to backup your Linux files on a Chromebook

It is very important to back up your Linux configuration files if you use Linux support on a Chromebook. In this guide, we’ll go over how you can use a simple tool to back up and restore your Linux configuration files on Chrome OS.

How to enable Linux support on Chrome OS

Before you can back up your Linux files on your Chromebook, Linux support needs to be enabled. Start by selecting the clock in the Chrome OS dash to enable Linux support on your Chromebook.

After selecting the clock, find the gear icon and click on it to load up the Chrome OS settings area. Then, once inside the Chrome OS settings area, find the “Advanced” section. Click on the arrow next to the “Advanced” settings option, and locate “Developers.”

Inside the “Developers” section, locate the “Linux development environment” area, and click on it. Then, select the “Turn on” button to turn on the Linux container system for your Chromebook.

Once your Chromebook has Linux support enabled, a terminal window will open up on the desktop. Find the “penguin” section, and click on it to access the Linux terminal interface on Chrome OS.

Inside the terminal window, use the apt update command to check for updates in the Chrome OS system. Checking for updates is essential, as without them, the Linux container will not function correctly.

sudo apt update

After checking for updates, you can install them in the Chrome OS Linux container using the following apt upgrade command. Keep in mind, if there are a lot of upgrades, it may take a few minutes to complete.

sudo apt upgrade

How to install Deja Dup

If you use a lot of Linux apps on your Chromebook, like Thunderbird, Firefox, Gimp, or even Steam, you may want to back up your configuration files. All configuration files for your Chrome OS Linux container are in the “home” directory.

There are several ways to back up configuration files on Linux. In this guide, we’ll use the Deja Dup tool. It supports various cloud backup locations, as well as local and network storage. Perfect for a Chromebook.

To install Deja Dup, open up the Chrome OS terminal, and select “penguin.” Then, use the apt install command to install the Deja Dup app.

sudo apt install deja-dup

Alternatively, if you wish to install it via Flatpak, enable the Flatpak runtime using the command below.

flatpak --user remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

You can then install the Deja Dup application on your Chromebook via Flatpak using the following command.

flatpak install flathub org.gnome.DejaDup

How to backup your Linux configuration files with Deja Dup

To backup up Deja Dup on your Chromebook, start by opening up the app. You can launch Deja Dup via the “Linux apps” menu. It is likely called “Backups.” Once it is open, find the “create my first backup” button, and click on it with the mouse.

After clicking on the “create my first backup” button, you’ll be asked for the folders to backup. By default, Deja Dup (Backups) will save everything in your “home” directory (the “Linux files” folder on Chrome OS.)

Leave the folder configuration in Deja Dup as default. However, if you wish to back up different directories, use the GUI to add a folder. Alternatively, if you wish to ignore a folder, add something to the “Folders to ignore” list.

You must now select the storage location. Choose “Network Server” if you wish to upload your configs to a local network share. Choose “Local Folder,” if you wish to place your backup somewhere in the Chrome OS Linux container (it can be taken out of “Linux files’ when done.) Lastly, choose “Google Drive,” if you wish to upload your backups to Drive.

After choosing a backup location, find the “Back Up Now” button, and click on it with the mouse. When you select this button, it will ask you to enter a password to encrypt your backup. If you wish, encrypt your backup. 

Once you’ve entered your password, Deja Dup will backup to your location of choice. Depending on how many files you have in your “Linux files” folder on Chrome OS, this backup could take a while.

Restore backups

To restore a backup, open up the Deja Dup (Backups) app, and click on the “Restore” tab. Once you select it, Deja Dup will scan for previously performed backups in the location you specified.

After scanning for backups, you’ll be able to restore individual configuration files by selecting them with the mouse, and clicking “Restore”. Keep in mind, restoration takes time, especially if you’ve uploaded your backups to Google Drive or a network share.



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