Do you find making Linux system backups tedious, confusing and annoying? If so, you really need to check out Timeshift. It’s an easy to use, customizable and automatable backup system that works just like Mac OS’s Time Machine. You can use it to mimic a Mac-like backup setup and regularly backup your Linux hard drive.
SPOILER ALERT: Scroll down and watch the video tutorial at the end of this article.
Installing Timeshift on Linux is varies in difficulty, depending on the distribution you’re installing the program on. To get the app working, find your operating system and enter the corresponding commands.
Timeshift isn’t an Ubuntu program, and the developers don’t target it. As a result, Ubuntu users looking to use this program will need to install it via a third-party package.
Open up a terminal and use the wget tool to download the latest version of the Timeshift Debian package.
With the Timeshift package downloaded from the Linux Mint package repositories, it’s time to start the installation. Using the dpkg tool, install the Timeshift package.
sudo dpkg -i timeshift_17.11~backport_amd64.deb
Timeshift is a Linux Mint package, so installing it on Ubuntu may cause dependency issues. Don’t worry! These problems are common and easy to solve!
In the terminal, resolve the issues dependency issues with the apt install command (if there are any.)
sudo apt install -f
Unlike Ubuntu, Debian users do not need to jump through hoops to use the app. Instead, Timeshift is readily available in the traditional software locations for Debian. To install it, open up a terminal and use the Apt-get package manager to get everything working.
sudo apt-get install timeshift
The Timeshift system restoration app is available for Arch Linux users through the AUR. To install it, some requirements need to be met. Specifically, you’ll need to install the Git tool.
In a terminal, sync the latest version of Git to Arch.
sudo pacman -S git
Next, use Git to clone a snapshot of the Timeshift AUR build script.
git clone https://aur.archlinux.org/timeshift.git
Move the terminal into the new Timeshift AUR folder with the CD command.
From here, it’s safe to start the compiling process. However, keep in mind, that as Timeshift is an AUR program, it will need to install dependencies before building successfully. For the most part, the makepkg command takes care of it.
In the event that all dependencies aren’t taken care of, they’re available here.
To build the Timeshift package on Arch, run the makepkg command.
Timeshift is readily available for Fedora users right out of the box, with no need to activate any special third-party software repositories. To install, open up a terminal and use the DNF package manager to grab the latest version.
sudo dnf install timeshift -y
Unfortunately, there isn’t an RPM release of Timeshift for OpenSUSE, like there is for Fedora.
If you’re feeling brave, try downloading the Fedora version and installing it. Otherwise, for best results, skip to the “Generic Linux” option.
Timeshift can be installed on nearly every Linux distribution via a generic binary file. Installing it is slightly more complicated than using something like Apt, DNF or the AUR, but it gets the job done.
Open up a terminal and grab the latest binary with the wget download tool:
Or, for the 32-bit version:
Next, update the permissions of the binary file, so that the system executes it as a program.
chmod +x timeshift-v18.6.1-*.run
With the permissions for Timeshift up to date, the installation can begin. To start the installation, do the following:
Upon the first launch of Timeshift, you’ll be taken through a setup tool. The first step to the setup asks the user to select the type of backup (Rsync or BtrFS). For most users, Rsync is the best choice. Select it, then click the “Next” button to continue.
On the next page of the setup wizard, use the selection tool to find a good place for the Timeshift app to save snapshots, then click the “next” button.
With the snapshot type and location set, Timeshift will start the backup. Be patient, and soon the snapshot process will finish.
The first snapshot is taken care of, but Timeshift isn’t set for automatic backup. To fix this, go to “settings,” and select the “Schedule” tab.
Go through the schedule, and figure out what works best for you. When everything looks good, close the window.
If something has gone wrong and you need to restore a backup, follow these steps. First, open up the Timeshift app, and select a backup in the main list. Then, find the “restore” button and select it.
Clicking the “restore” option brings up the restoration dialog within Timeshift and automatically sets up for restoration mode.
In the restoration window, click the “Next” button to restore from the snapshot backup.
Give the backup some time. When the restoration completes, it will automatically reboot your Linux PC. On the next login, your files should be exactly where they were when the Timeshift backup was taken!