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The 6 best system backup tools for the Linux desktop

There are many system  backup tools on the Linux platform, but which one is the best? Follow along with our list and find out! Here are the six best system backup tools for the Linux desktop!

1. TimeShift

TimeShift is a backup application for the Linux desktop that aims to make creating system backups easier. It follows the same idea as Apple’s Time Machine and lets users quickly restore everything without much effort.

There are all kinds of backup applications on Linux, and TimeShift isn’t the first to try to “make it easy.” However, if you’re not a fan of dealing with system files and complicated settings, this application is the way to go!

Notable features

  • TimeShift supports backup snapshots in Rsync mode or BtrFS’s built-in snapshot feature.
  • Backups can be saved to external devices.
  • TimeShift supports per-user backups, with multiple levels of snapshots (hourly, weekly, etc.)
  • TimeShift’s robust filtering system lets users include or exclude based on custom patterns.

Download – TimeShift

TimeShift is easy to install on most Linux distributions and even comes as the default backup tool on the Linux Mint operating system.

Want to use TimeShift? Check out our tutorial on the subject! It goes over all about how to use the app, how to install it and more!

2. Déjà Dup

Déjà Dup is a front-end system for the command-line tool known as Duplicity and often comes as the standard backup utility on many Gnome-based Linux desktop environments.

While not as simple to use as something like TimeShift, Déjà Dup is a fantastic tool that lets users create backups and upload them off-site to Cloud providers like Google Drive and Amazon, FTP or even external storage in a GPG-encrypted fashion.

Notable Features

  • Déjà Dup has an easy to understand user-interface that is pleasant to beginner users.
  • The app lets users encrypt their backups with GPG encryption.
  • Déjà Dup can do backups on a schedule (weekly or daily). It can also automatically delete older backups to preserve space.
  • Déjà Dup can transmit backups over USB, network storage, SSH, FTP, and even cloud providers like Amazon and Google.

Download – Déjà Dup

It’s very likely that if you’re using a Gnome-inspired desktop environment, you may already have the Déjà Dup tool installed. With that said, if you don’t have it and want to set it up, consider checking out our in-depth guide on the subject! We go over how to install and use the Déjà Dup application on all modern Linux distributions!

3. Back In Time

Back In Time is a backup tool for the Linux desktop that creates system snapshots of specific directories that the user sets in the settings. By doing this, it allows users to keep a custom backup system that is more tailored to their needs, rather than a large backup filled with things they do not want.

The application draws it’s inspiration from tools like FlyBack and TimeVault and is available on GitHub under the GNU General Public License v2.

Notable Features

  • Back In Time has an auto-remove feature that is highly customizable. Users can set it to remove backups automatically based on size and age.
  • The program has include/exclude features that can be set to customize the directories that are saved in the backup snapshots.
  • Back In Time uses Rsync to create backups.

Download – Back In Time

The Back In Time application is quite old — 10 years old to be exact, so you can be sure that it has support on all major distributions. If you’d like to install it and use it for your computer’s main backup application, check Pkgs.org for a downloadable package.

4. LuckyBackup

LuckyBackup is an open source, a cross-platform backup solution that uses the power of Rsync to synchronize any directory that the user specifies.

Since LuckyBackup uses the Rsync tool underneath, it gives users the ability to easily use some of it’s more advanced features such as backing up to remote connections.

There are indeed many Rsync front-end applications for Linux that attempt to make things “easier.” Still, LuckyBackup manages to stand out by offering up a simple user interface, and dozens of settings and options.

Notable Features

  • LuckyBackup uses Rsync underneath and has a command-line interface along with the GUI component.
  • The tool doesn’t create duplicate backups. Instead, it only syncs the changes to save you disk space.
  • LuckyBackup supports backup over networks and remote computers.

Download – LuckyBackup

To get your hands on LuckyBackup, you’ll need to visit their SourceForge page. Alternatively, packages for most distributions are readily available to download at Pkgs.org.

5. Rsync

Rsync is a command-line sync utility for Linux (and other operating systems) that can keep any two directories in sync locally, or over the internet.

This app isn’t a backup utility and doesn’t aim to be. However, because of its many useful features, it can quickly be configured to act like one, with its support for quick, automatic syncing of files and directories.

If you’re looking for a command-line syncing tool that can double as a backup system, it might be worth checking out Rsync.

  • Rsync can sync files locally, or to remote computers and servers.
  • Rsync supports multiple connection protocols including SSH, Rsh, etc.
  • Rsync has a robust command-line interface that is welcome to power-users.

Download – Rsync

Rsync comes standard on most Linux distributions, as many tools uses it to syncronize files. If you don’t have it set up on your system, check out our guide on Rsync and learn how to get it working!

6. CloudBerry Backup

CloudBerry Backup is a non-free, commercial backup system for Linux, Mac, and Windows. With it, users can create and upload encrypted, scheduled system backups to Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Backblaze B2, Wasabi, and Google Cloud Storage. It is also possible to use CloudBerry to create local backups.

The CloudBerry Backup application is not like others on this list. The primary focus of this tool is to make creating system backups on Enterprise systems painless and easy. With that said, if you use Linux in a professional work environment, it’s one of the best for the job.

Notable Features

  • CloudBerry Backup only backs up modified/new files, rather than duplicating data for the sake of backup.
  • Can backup network storage drives in addition to the files on the computer the app is running on.
  • CloudBerry has a Server Backup component that works on Linux.
  • The app doesn’t create backups locally. Instead, all backup data is sent to the cloud.

Download – CloudBerry Backup

CloudBerry has both a Server Backup and Desktop Backup component. It is priced at $29.99 and offers a free 15-day trial to evaluate the software before purchase.

Operating systems supported by CloudBerry Backup are Ubuntu, Debian, OpenSUSE, RedHat Enterprise Linux, and CentOS.

Conclusion

In this list, we went over the best system-backup tools for the Linux desktop. We talked about their features, and where you can download them.

What are your favorite system-backup tools to use on Linux? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!

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