Saturday, 24 September 2016

Timeshift Preview


I’m working on some changes for Timeshift. The UI has been re-designed to make it easier to use. The update is currently under testing and will be available by first week of October.

What’s New

Better status display

The status bar has been redesigned to display the status in a better way. It will warn you if the disk is full, if the disk is offline or if scheduled snapshots are disabled. It also displays the number of snapshots and remaining free space.

Better snapshot creation

Snapshots are now created using rsync’s --link-dest option. This is much faster and creates snapshots in a single step. Snapshot creation can be cancelled safely while it is in progress.

Creating snapshots will display detailed progress information such as the list of files being copied and estimated time remaining. Detailed statistics are displayed for the number of files which were created, deleted or modified since the last snapshot.

Better snapshot deletion

Deleting snapshots was a time consuming task in the previous version of Timeshift. Since each snapshot typically contains more than 150,000 files (for a freshly installed Ubuntu system), deleting these files can take some time to complete. Starting with v16.9, snapshots can be now be “marked” for deletion by right-clicking on them from the main window and selecting “Mark for deletion”. Marked snapshots will be deleted silently in the background during the scheduled run.

Deleting a snapshot will display detailed progress information such as the name of file being deleted and the estimated time remaining. The progress window can be closed while files are being deleted and the deletion will continue in the background.

Better performance

All disk operations such as creation and deletion of snapshots are now executed with a higher IONice value. This gives a greater priority to other applications running on the system and eliminates any lag or reduction in system performance when the disk operations are running. Overall, your system will feel smoother and more responsive while the snapshots are being created or deleted.

Better free space management

Snapshots will be created only if the snapshot device has more than 1 GB of free space. Scheduled snapshots will be disabled if there is not enough space.

Better settings

There’s a new setup wizard to guide users on the first run of the application. It selects the best options by default and guides the user through the basic setup. This is in addition to the settings window which has been re-designed with a simpler layout.

Better snapshot logs

There’s a new log viewer which displays the list of files that were created, deleted or modified since the last snapshot. The list of files can be filtered to analyze system changes. For example, you can filter the list to view all files that were created on the system since the last snapshot. This is useful for monitoring system changes.


  1. I had the "clever" idea to use Timeshift for 3 operating systems in parallel. After I saw the results it does not to be clever at all:

    3 different boot partitions contain Xubuntu 16.04, Linux Mint 18 and Manjaro 16.08. On all of them I installed Timeshift an created snapshots - all into the same large partition with Btrfs. On the first glace I was delighted, because the snapshot list distinguished the different operating systems clearly.
    After closer evaluation, however, this does not seem to be true. the follow-up snapshots got very large and it seems, that they referred to the predecessor in time. The first Mint snapshot referred to the privious Ubuntu snapshot, for example: it saw most of those files as deleted or changed and started from scratch again.

    Is this interpretation correct?
    If it is, it is my fault of course for not reasoning clearly what I was doing. Timeshift ist a very useful program - even it I will be forced to use different backup partitions.

    1. Each snapshot simply links to the last snapshot in time. I didn't anticipate your use case where snapshots would be kept on the same backup device for multiple active systems.

      I have changed this in v16.10.3. It will check the system uuid and link with the previous snapshot of the same system. Please update and let me know if you face any issues.

    2. That would be great!
      It will take a few days before I have a chance for testing.

    3. A first feedback:
      I was only able to test the new version on Mint 18: no issues!
      The old snapshots have been identified correct and the new one seems to be a differential snapshot against it's predecessor for that same system - at least I conclude this from the fact the not alles files in the log are given with theire size, but some indicate "timestamp" instead.

      On Xubuntu an Manjaro I have other issues pending which prevent me from testing:
      - On Manjaro there is a dependency conflict in the main repository and won't touch it until I understand.
      - On Xubuntu I have a problem with your PPA with doesn't give me updated versions.

      I will report again when I solved those issues. On the first glance it seems that you have done a perfect work.

    4. The problem on Xubuntu was an old inactive PPA-record. The test was also successful, but there remains an issue:
      Timeshift will NOT release (unmount) the snapshot volume any more after it terminates. Is that a bug or a new feature?

    5. It will not unmount the snapshot volume. This is as designed.

      I had tested with the latest Manjaro release (manjaro-xfce-16.06.1) and there were no issues with dependencies. Let me know the name of the dependency package and the Manjaro release that you are running.

    6. Sorry for not being specific enough:
      The dependency conflict conflict is NOT related to Timeshift. The updater asks me to choose between qt5-base and qtchooser - but I cannot. I am unexperienced with rolling release systems; Manjoro is a "learning installation" for me. It is not a production system an I can risk anything - but I rather prefer to understand what I am doing and at the time being I don't understand.

      Concerning the unmount question: when I started with Timeshift it was an older version from the repositories and this version unmounted the snapshot partition after termination.

      Thank you again for reacting so quickly and I will send a pot of coffee/tea via Paypal.

    7. I managed to repair my Manjaro installation and then installed (what I was hoping that ist was) Timeshift 16.7.5; it was not.
      A strange snapshot came out wich did neither base on privious snapshot in time nor on the previous snapshot of the same system.

      My command for installing, and the result of "timeshift --help":
      $ sudo timeshift --help

      Timeshift RSYNC v16.7 by Tony George (

      This is an old version - I believe. But what did I wrong?

      The installation did not obviously, it reminded me, however, that packages already installed had no version version changed what I confirmed with "yes".

    8. I wrote nonsense:
      The installation command was of course
      $ sudo ./
      and then I overlooked that the library libgee06 was missing; when I tried to installed it it was not in the repository - only libgee was there.
      ? ? ?

  2. I'm having difficulty running the newest version on xubuntu 16.04 lts on two different machines one with XFCE and the other with Cinnamon desktops, with the following error. The $display is correctly set:
    Failed to connect to Mir: Failed to connect to server socket: No such file or directory
    Unable to init server: Could not connect: Connection refused

    (timeshift:3047): Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display:

    1. I should have mentioned the error above is the output of the scheduled cron job. I can open Timeshift, create and save a snapshot, the cron job however does not save a snapshot. version 16.10.3