TimeShift

Latest Version: 1.5 (2014-08-17)
Platform: Linux (Debian/Ubuntu)
Language: Vala & GTK3
ProjectPage: https://launchpad.net/timeshift

TimeShift for Linux is a application that provides functionality similar to the System Restore feature in Windows and the Time Machine tool in Mac OS. TimeShift protects your system by taking incremental snapshots of the file system at regular intervals. These snapshots can be restored later to bring your system to the exact state it was in at the time when the snapshot was taken.

Snapshots are taken using rsync and hard-links. Common files are shared between snapshots which saves disk space. Each snapshot is a full system backup that can be browsed with a file manager.

TimeShift is similar to applications like rsnapshot, BackInTime and TimeVault but with different goals.

TimeShift is designed to protect only system files and settings. User files such as documents, pictures and music are excluded. This ensures that your files remains unchanged when you restore your system to an earlier date. If you need a tool to backup your documents and files please take a look at the excellent BackInTime application which is more configurable and provides options for saving user files.

You can leave a comment on my blog if you need any help with this application.

Please consider making a donation to this project if you find it useful. You can also purchase a support subscription if you need additional help through email.

Features:

Minimal Setup

  • TimeShift requires very little setup. Just install it, run it for the first time and take the first snapshot. Cron job can be enabled for taking automatic snapshots of the system at regular intervals. The backup levels can be selected from the Settings window.

  • Snapshots are saved by default on the system (root) partition in path /timeshift. Other linux partitions can also be selected.

Boot Snapshots

  • Boot snapshots provide an additional level of backup.

  • Hourly, daily, weekly and monthly levels can be enabled if required.

Better Snapshots and Rotation

  • TimeShift runs at regular intervals but takes snapshots only when needed.

  • Applications like rsnapshot rotate a snapshot to the next level by creating a hard-linked copy. Creating a hard-linked copy may seem like a good idea but it is still a waste of disk space, since only files can be hard-linked and not directories. The duplicated directory structure can take up as much as 100 MB of space. TimeShift avoids this wastage by using tags for maintaining backup levels. Each snapshot will have only one copy on disk and is tagged as "daily", "monthly", etc. The snapshot location will have a set of folders for each backup level ("Monthly", "Daily", etc) with symbolic links pointing to the actual snapshots tagged with the level.

System Restore

Snapshots can be restored either from the running system or from a live CD. Restoring backups from the running system requires a reboot to complete the restore process.

Cross-Distribution Restore

You can also TimeShift across distributions. Let's say you are currently using Xubuntu and decide to try out Linux Mint. You install Linux Mint on your system and try it out for a week before deciding to go back to Xubuntu. Using TimeShift you can simply restore the last week's snapshot to get your Xubuntu system back. TimeShift will take care of things like reinstalling the bootloader and other details. Since installing a new linux distribution also formats your root partition you need to save your snapshots on a separate linux partition for this to work.

Excluded Files

TimeShift is designed to protect system files and settings. User data such as documents, pictures and music are excluded by default. This has two advantages:

  • You don't need to worry about your documents getting overwritten when you restore a previous snapshot.
  • Your music and video collection will not waste space on the backup device.


Installation

Ubuntu

If you are using the following Ubuntu releases (or any of its derivates like Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Linux Mint) then you can install it from the LaunchPad PPA:

  • Ubuntu 14.10 (utopic)
  • Ubuntu 14.04 (trusty)
  • Ubuntu 12.04 (precise)

Run the following commands in a terminal window:

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

Other Linux Distributions

Download the installer from following links:

timeshift-latest-i386.run (32-bit, 170 KB)
timeshift-latest-amd64.run (64-bit, 180 KB)

Run it from a terminal window using the following commands:

./timeshift-latest-i386.run  #32-bit
./timeshift-latest-amd64.run  #64-bit

Depending on the distribution that you are using, you may need to install packages for the following dependencies:

libgee json-glib rsync

Un-Install

Run the following command in a terminal window:

sudo apt-get remove timeshift

or

sudo timeshift-uninstall

Please delete all snapshots before un-installing. Otherwise the snapshots will take up space on disk.

To delete all snapshots, run the application, select all snapshots from the list (CTRL+A) and click the Delete button on the toolbar. This will delete all snapshots and remove the /timeshift folder in the root directory.

If you used the installer to install TimeShift, you can remove the installed files with following command:

sudo timeshift-uninstall

Known Issues and Limitations

BTRFS volumes

BTRFS volumes must have an Ubuntu-type layout with @ and @home subvolumes. Other layouts are not supported.

Disk Space

If the backup device runs out of space very quickly, please try the following:

  • Reduce the number of backup levels - Enable the boot backup level and disable the others.
  • Reduce the number of snapshots that are kept - In the Auto-Remove tab set the limit for boot snapshots to 10 or less.
  • You can also disable the scheduled snapshots completely.

GRUB2 Bootloader

Only those systems are supported which use GRUB2 bootloader. Trying to create and restore snapshots on a system using older versions of GRUB will result in a non-bootable system.

Disclaimer

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

This program is free for personal and commercial use and comes with absolutely no warranty. You use this program entirely at your own risk. The author will not be liable for any damages arising from the use of this program.


Support This Project

This software is free for personal and commercial use and is licensed under the GNU General Public License. If you find this software useful and wish to support its development, please consider purchasing a support subscription using the PayPal link below.

What you get when you purchase a support subscription:

  • Technical support through email
  • Features requests will be given higher priority.
  • You will be informed by email as soon a new version is released.
  • People donating $10 or more will have their name listed as a sponsor.

This application is free and open-source and will always remain that way. Please buy a subscription to show your support if you can afford it.

Options

162 comments:

  1. How about making the bzr branch available as a short term alternative, for non-Ubuntu distros?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The bzr branch is lp:timeshift. An installer will be released soon for non-Ubuntu distros.

      Delete
  2. Hello, TimeShift constantly creates an error when I try to perform the first and manual backup on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS: "Error: Failed to delete incomplete snapshot: '.sync' Error: On-demand snapshot failed!" Would you have any advice?
    Thank you in advance, have a good day. My email address: georg.fritscher@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Issue is fixed. Thanks for reporting it!
      You can update TimeShift with the following commands:

      sudo apt-get update
      sudo apt-get install timeshift

      Delete
  3. Wow. 'Seems amazing to me ! Can't wait to test for my fedora (mostly because I can't stop myself periodically breaking things & stuff).

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you very much :-) Awesome and a very good idea! I ope the project conducts successfully. Just one question, though for Ubuntu all is fine with the ppa, but how would I ideally install timeshift on debian squeeze (or wheezy) ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can download the deb file from launchpad and install it with the command: dpkg -i package-file-name

      Links are given below:
      timeshift_1.0.5_amd64.deb
      timeshift_1.0.5_i386.deb

      I'm working on an installer which can be used for installing TimeShift on all Linux systems. It should be available by next week.

      Delete
  5. Would this be a good solution if you upgraded a package and found that it broke a lot of things and wanted to revert to a snapshot that had a older version of said package?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, thats exactly what this is for. Take a snapshot before installing/upgrading packages and restore it in case of issues.

      Delete
  6. how to remove it? was set up to 5 gb, after the removal of the program was the 35 gb.(sorry, I write with a translator)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sudo apt-get remove timeshift

      Delete
    2. uninstalled, but the place is still occupied,deleted a folder time shift. to install the system weighed 5gb - after the removal of the program was 35gb. The program will leave garbage

      Delete
    3. Snapshots created by the application will not be deleted when you uninstall. If the disk is filling up, you can disable the scheduled snapshots or reduce the number of backups that are kept (see the auto-remove options in Settings).

      Delete
    4. good news :((( have reinstall ubuntu

      Delete
    5. warn that it is impossible to remove

      Delete
  7. Hi,
    it's possible, or it will be possible, to run a restore from the command line?
    I ask this, because it can happen that the GUI (Unity for instance) of my system doesn't start anymore (because a wrong operation or what ever else), so it can be useful to be able to restore from the command line (granted that at least my system can start the console).
    If not, I have to prepare an USP pen or a Live CD with TImeshift installed?
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      Command line option for restoring is currently not implemented. It is a planned feature and will be added soon. For restoring the snapshot you need to prepare a bootable pen drive or Live CD. After booting from it, install TimeShift by running apt-get in a terminal window or by downloading and executing the installer.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the quickly reply :-)
      Timeshift is really useful and comfortable to use. My compliments!

      Delete
  8. Question: Want to test this in a Virtual Machine (Debian) and it thinks it's being ran from a Live CD/USB and not allowing me to backup the system.

    Any idea why this would be the case?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Looks like its unable to find the root device when run on Debian. This will be fixed in the next release.

      Delete
  9. Can you please provide source tarballs?

    We created a package [1] for Arch Linux based on the binary but it would be much cleaner to have the sources available. See also the discussion in the forums [2].

    Thanks for your effort in providing this nice backup tool!

    [1] https://aur.archlinux.org/packages/timeshift-bin/
    [2] https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=171616

    ReplyDelete
  10. When I try to run timeshift on my Arch Linux machine (not from a live install medium), I get the following error:

    ~ $ gksu timeshift
    [17:23:07] Session log file: /var/log/timeshift/2013-10-26 17-23-07.log
    [17:23:07] Checking dependencies...
    [17:23:07] All dependencies satisfied
    [17:23:07] Error: Failed to mount device '/dev/mapper/VolGroup00-Arch' at mount point '/mnt/timeshift'
    [17:23:07] Error: mount: /dev/mapper/VolGroup00-Arch is already mounted or /mnt/timeshift busy
    /dev/mapper/VolGroup00-Arch is already mounted on /
    /dev/mapper/VolGroup00-Arch is already mounted on /mnt/timeshift

    [17:23:08] App config saved: '/etc/timeshift.json'

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Failed to mount device. Application will exit."

    In Terminal...

    sudo timeshift
    [sudo] password for adam:
    [00:43:33] Session log file: /var/log/timeshift/2013-11-05 00-43-33.log
    [00:43:33] Checking dependencies...
    [00:43:33] All dependencies satisfied
    [00:43:33] Error: Failed to mount device '/dev/sda1' at mount point '/mnt/timeshift'
    [00:43:33] Error: mount: /dev/sda1 already mounted or /mnt/timeshift busy
    mount: according to mtab, /dev/sda1 is already mounted on /mnt/timeshift

    [00:43:35] App config saved: '/etc/timeshift.json'


    It's true.. device is not there.
    Uninstalling/Reinstall does not help.

    To aid here - this WAS working before I did a (large) apt-get upgrade.

    Since then... it's totally knackered.

    Im Linux Mint 15 Cinnamon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what's causing this issue.
      Please mail me the output of the following commands (after getting the error):
      df -lhT
      mount

      Delete
    2. This issue is fixed in v1.2.6.
      Please let me know in case the issue is not resolved.

      Delete
  12. If I restore my backup to a different partition or HDD, should I need to edit any file like fstab? Assume I make a backup of system files and user settings. My root partition is /dev/sda1 and /home is /dev/sda4. I want to restore it to /dev/sdc1. So what need to be changed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. works. just need to change some argument in fstab file

      Delete
    2. Snapshots can be restored to any device. The UUIDs in the fstab file may need to be changed.

      Delete
  13. Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/teejee2008/ppa/ubuntu/dists/wheezy/main/source/Sources: 404 Not Found
    W: Failed to fetch http://ppa.launchpad.net/teejee2008/ppa/ubuntu/dists/wheezy/main/binary-i386/Packages: 404 Not Found

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adding Ubuntu PPAs to a Debian system can cause problems. Please use the installer or download the DEB file manually.

      Delete
  14. Installing TimeShift on Makulu (Debian) has same issues that Robert and Adam are experiencing.
    I see the bug is reported and being worked on.
    Do you know when ETA bug fix completion?

    root@makulu-s4000t:/home/bruce/Desktop# timeshift
    [17:31:35] Session log file: /var/log/timeshift/2013-10-30 17-31-35.log
    [17:31:35] Checking dependencies...
    [17:31:35] All dependencies satisfied
    [17:31:35] Error: Failed to mount device '/dev/sda2' at mount point '/mnt/timeshift'
    [17:31:35] Error: mount: /dev/sda2 already mounted or /mnt/timeshift busy
    mount: according to mtab, /dev/sda2 is already mounted on /mnt/timeshift

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This issue may take some time to fix since I'm not able to reproduce it.
      I work on this for a few hours on weekends. It should be fixed by this weekend or the next one.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for info Tony,

      Keep up your great work.
      I am recommending to install TimeShift to Makulu (Debian) users on Makulu blog.
      http://www.makululinux.com/apps/forums/topics/show/9434732-makulu-xfce-done-right-?page=last

      Delete
    3. This issue is fixed in v1.2.6.
      Please let me know in case the issue is not resolved.

      Delete
  15. How can I install this on Debian Wheezy 7.2?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can download the installer from the following links:

      timeshift-latest-i386.run (32-bit, 170 KB)
      timeshift-latest-amd64.run (64-bit, 180 KB)

      Delete
  16. I so wanted to test this but it wont let me create a back up. its grayed out.
    http://oi40.tinypic.com/2d760z8.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which distribution are you running?
      Please mail me the output of the following commands:
      mount
      df -lhT

      Delete
    2. I can not find your email anywhere on this blog.

      My rig is Debian Wheezy 7.2 on a 64 bit. Partioned with a win 7 os.
      I am very new to Linux btw :(

      sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
      proc on /proc type proc (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
      udev on /dev type devtmpfs (rw,relatime,size=10240k,nr_inodes=1014932,mode=755)
      devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,nosuid,noexec,relatime,gid=5,mode=620,ptmxmode=000)
      tmpfs on /run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,noexec,relatime,size=819756k,mode=755)
      /dev/disk/by-uuid/b8c5bcfe-1aef-4b94-b8e5-160dfb0e6981 on / type ext4 (rw,relatime,errors=remount-ro,user_xattr,barrier=1,data=ordered)
      tmpfs on /run/lock type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,size=5120k)
      tmpfs on /run/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,size=3623400k)
      rpc_pipefs on /var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs type rpc_pipefs (rw,relatime)
      binfmt_misc on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
      root@Linux:/home/chaos# df -lhT
      Filesystem Type Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
      rootfs rootfs 220G 5.7G 204G 3% /
      udev devtmpfs 10M 0 10M 0% /dev
      tmpfs tmpfs 801M 708K 800M 1% /run
      /dev/disk/by-uuid/b8c5bcfe-1aef-4b94-b8e5-160dfb0e6981 ext4 220G 5.7G 204G 3% /
      tmpfs tmpfs 5.0M 0 5.0M 0% /run/lock
      tmpfs tmpfs 3.5G 556K 3.5G 1% /run/shm

      Delete
    3. Here is a screenshot of the mount df-IhT
      http://oi39.tinypic.com/64f242.jpg

      Delete
    4. This is fixed in v1.2.7. Let me know if you still get this issue.

      Delete
    5. Tony George. Where is the new download? I just re-installed Debian Wheezy because avidemux ruined my ffmpeg. I don't mind testing nor re-installing Linux lol

      Delete
    6. PS. I need the new install for Debian Wheezy 7.2 please :) TY

      Delete
    7. You can download the installer from the following links:

      timeshift-latest-i386.run (32-bit, 170 KB)
      timeshift-latest-amd64.run (64-bit, 180 KB)

      These links always point to the latest version.

      Delete
  17. Ok, installed fast. Gave a first run, got a messege error
    http://oi40.tinypic.com/23uqzjr.jpg
    Said not enough space. I thought about and later hit refresh button
    http://oi39.tinypic.com/1grjok.jpg
    Now it looks like I can do my first back up.
    Will do it and then mess around and see what happens. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  18. So far, so good. On my Windows 7. I use a program called RollBack Rx v.10
    Features I enjoyed were,
    Allowed to roll back from a boot. Nag screen showed up just before the main menu selecting OS and Grub.
    Had a base back up (example) a main snap shot file backup you like where your computer was running great.
    Allowed you to lock a back file you liked such as the base file or any other snapshot.

    I am not familiar with your program, so I am testing it, but I just thought I would throw out some suggestions.
    Be back soon to report on how things are going. TY :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ok, did my first backup and restore. Worked like a charm. Will continue to tinker with it and see what I find. I like the fact that I can see the progress on conky as too how much space is being used to make my back up,
    http://oi39.tinypic.com/2qwketu.jpg
    this at least lets me know that the program is indeed moving forward. As my first snap shot took about 10 minutes. A little longer than expected but faster than doing it via boot graphical with a million options such as clonezilla for example.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Bravo my friend, BRAVO!
    You did an amazing job. This is exactly what I was looking for. Did several tests, tinkering here and there and trust me, by now, my computer would have been kaput. I am new to Linux so breaking things and then not knowing how to fix them has been my major problem. At least with this back up system TimeShift, I can quickly undo and restore without looking for a fix to my mistakes :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I did a brief video and blogged about TimeShift.
    http://mylinuxdebianwheezy.blogspot.com/2013/11/timeshift-system-restore-style-program.html
    I hope I did a good enough job.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Since I have not reported back, then you know the program is working just fine. It has gotten me out of a few jams already. No complaints, no glitches to report.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Tony George? Can you explain what this means?
    "Command line option for restoring is currently not implemented. It is a planned feature and will be added soon. For restoring the snapshot you need to prepare a bootable pen drive or Live CD."

    I am not sure I understand this, I think I do but, I want to make sure I am not misinterpreting your comments regarding this matter. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are not able to boot your system due to some issue then in order to restore a snapshot you need to boot from the Ubuntu Live CD. After that you can install TimeShift on the live system and restore the snapshot.

      Restoring snapshots using command-line is not supported. You need to run the GUI in order to restore it.

      Delete
    2. Tony. I am not using Ubuntu, I am using Debian Wheezy :) but I guess that makes no difference. I don't think my CD came with the live feature, it was only about 400 MB. I guess I have to download a live cd and keep that for the just incase time? When you say bootable pen? What are we talking about there?

      Delete
  24. Hi. The program seems freat but I cannot try it because I have no space available in /

    Is there any way to save the backup in anoter partition? I dont see the opcion anywhere so I suppose it must be in the same filesystem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can select the backup partition from the 'Backup Device' drop down at the top of the window. It shows only Linux partitions so you may have to create another one using gparted.

      If you are running out of space you can disable the scheduled snapshots, and create snapshots manually when required.

      Delete
  25. On the topic of free space. I am using an old D430, which is an amazing little machine. It's only big issue is space. I set it up with a 10GB root and the rest of my 30GB drive as Home. Timeshift tells me the backup drive does not have enough free space regardless of whether or not I choose home or my flash drive. Do you need to have enough free space on root regardless if it is the backup destination or not? My backup is 4.3GB, but root only has 3.5GB free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The free space on root does not matter. What is the free space on your home drive/flash drive?

      Delete
    2. Home has over 20GB free and the flash drive had an 8GB ext4 formatted partition that was blank.

      Delete
  26. hi Tony,

    thanks for the app ;)

    I have notice some things that maybe can get better..

    I am using debian testing aka jessie...I just downloaded the deb package for amd64 that you have above...

    I installed it...at least I think , because if I try apt-get remove timeshift...the apt system doesn't find timeshift program... :S

    I started the program, and i made a Backup...I am running without space now...It have backed-up my own mount points too..I know that you have a place to exclude mount points... ;)

    I think that its better in the startup to scan the /etc/mtab for mount points...and Inform the user that it have X mount points with x space on it ;)

    I realized that you have rsync threads running...if we click to close the program(in the window button), it doesn't kill the rsync threads,maybe was o good idea to kill them before leaving ;)

    In my situation that I run out of space, I only have one chance...close the application...but there are threads running after that :S

    I notice, the program created a /timeshift dir, and inside it have a .sync dir, which have inside a localhost folder plus log, etc...

    In the local host folder, I have know a backup of my files...but since the backup doesn't succeeded(and I closed the program)...its safe to remove this files and directories??

    regards
    tux

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can delete the .sync folder or the entire /timeshift folder. Its safe to remove.

      Normally all devices are mounted under /mnt and /media which are excluded by default. What are the mount points that you are using?

      I'll add a check for non-standard mount points by reading /etc/mtab. Thanks for the idea :)

      Closing the window while a backup is running doesn't kill the rsync threads in the background. I'm aware of this. It will be fixed in the next release.

      Delete
    2. Closing the main window will terminate the rsync threads in v1.3.3

      Delete
  27. Hi Tony,

    timeshift is no more available for Ubuntu 12.04 in your PPA?
    Right now I can see the new version only from Ubuntu 12.10 onward.

    Thank's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The build for the new version was failing on Ubuntu 12.04. I'm looking into it. The new version should be available in the PPA by next week.

      Delete
    2. Builds for Ubuntu 12.04 are now available in PPA

      Delete
  28. why spaces in log file names /var/log/timeshift/*.log ?

    sudo ls -l /var/log/timeshift/
    total 20
    -rw------- 1 root root 2518 Dec 11 14:59 2013-12-11 14-50-50.log
    -rw------- 1 root root 767 Dec 11 15:00 2013-12-11 15-00-08.log

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is causing any problems for you? I'll remove the space in the next update.

      Delete
    2. No, it is not causing any problem. I like your project. It has potential and I hope you will keep improving it. I just think it is not the best practice in general to have white spaces in file names.

      Can you also remove it from snapshots dir?

      /timeshift/snapshots
      drwx------ 3 root root 4096 Dec 17 07:30 2013-12-11 14-53-26
      drwx------ 3 root root 4096 Dec 21 19:00 2013-12-21 19-00-01
      drwx------ 3 root root 4096 Dec 23 09:00 2013-12-23 09-00-01
      drwx------ 3 root root 4096 Dec 24 09:00 2013-12-24 09-00-01


      Thanks and good luck

      Delete
    3. Spaces have been removed from log file and snapshot directory names in v1.3.3

      Delete
  29. hi
    i installed timeshift with the installation script on debian testing 64mbit..
    if i want to remove it how do i do it?
    apt-get remove does not return anything...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can remove it with the following commands:

      sudo rm -fv /usr/bin/timeshift
      sudo rm -rfv /usr/share/timeshift
      sudo rm -fv /usr/share/applications/TimeShift.desktop
      sudo rm -fv /usr/share/pixmaps/timeshift.png
      sudo rm -fv /usr/share/locale/*/LC_MESSAGES/timeshift.mo

      Delete
  30. Timeshift rocks! Already saved my system installation once after I installed the wrong video driver and could not boot. But it does not take scheduled snapshots. I have it set for daily and weekly and have taken one on demand snapshot. Linux Mint 13, mate, 64 bit. How does Timeshift schedule? I see no cron jobs for it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is a switch on the Settings window labeled 'Scheduled snapshots'.
      When you activate the switch it creates a cron job for the root user.
      Run sudo crontab -l to check if the job is scheduled.

      Delete
  31. How is the TimeShift BTRFS & Ubuntu Toolkit coming along? Can't wait.
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  32. Is there any restriction on where the backups can be stored ? For example, if I make /timeshift a symlink to an external drive (or another drive on the same machine) will that break anything
    ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Backups can be stored anywhere. Creating a symlink for /timeshift should work but it will be better to directly select the external drive as the backup device.

      Delete
    2. Interestingly it won't allow me to select an alternative backup location. Here's my setup;

      /dev/sdb3 mounted as /

      That's it - with 32Gb RAM I do without a swap partition, and /dev/sda1 is currently mounted as /home/jon/work (it's NTFS, as I share it with /dev/sdb2 which is my Win8.1 boot partition (yeah, dual boot, bite me....:-) It's for work :-)

      Here's what I get when I run timeshift as root;

      root@Vader:/home/jon/Downloads# timeshift
      12:35:17 Session log file: /var/log/timeshift/2014-01-01_12-35-17.log
      12:35:17 Distribution: Ubuntu 13.10 (saucy)
      12:35:17 All dependencies satisfied
      12:35:17 Mounted device '/dev/sdb3' at mount point '/mnt/timeshift'

      The GUI won't allow me to change the destination.

      Delete
    3. Only Linux partitions can be used for backup.

      Delete
    4. Oh poop....:-) Well, that fixes that.. Time to remove Windows 8.1 and run it as a VM I think//.

      Delete
  33. Hello Tony,

    thank you for the great program. I installed the wrong video driver and now my Ubuntu is kaput and I would like to restore it via a Backup i made recently... I did exactly as you write>

    Bootup Ubuntu LiveCD 13.10
    sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install timeshift

    And I get the error @The following packages have unmet dependencies: timeshift: depends: gksu but it is not installable E: unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

    When I try to install gksu with
    sudo apt-get install gksu
    i get the following>
    Reading package lists... Done

    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information... Done
    Package gksu is not available, but is referred to by another package.
    This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
    is only available from another source.

    Then, I tried to install it from the package zou provided:
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~/Downloads$ sh ./timeshift-latest-i386.run #32/bit
    Verifying archive integrity... All good.
    Uncompressing TimeShift (i386)...............................
    Installing files...
    Installed successfully.

    Start TimeShift using the shortcut in the application menu
    or by running the command: sudo timeshift

    Following packages are required for TimeShift to function correctly:
    - libgtk-3 libgee2 libsoup libjson-glib rsync
    Please ensure that these packages are installed and up-to-date
    ubuntu@ubuntu:~/Downloads$ sudo timeshift

    ... and I get @noch such file or directory@ error. What am I doing wrong?

    Plz help and I promise I am not going to mess araound with my video drivers anymore!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi Tony.

    Amazing app, this is what I have been searching for ages, but I havea problem creating a snapshot.
    I always get this message:

    "check backup device: status = 3"

    Note that I have /timeshift symlinked to another hard drive

    ReplyDelete
  35. hi there,

    I was trying timeshift to check if would do the job in case of a boggy ubuntu nvidia driver installation (which is always a mess to repair when failing). I don't know how it happened but it has completely emptied the content of the partition the snapshot was made into.
    I had some free space in /games which was /dev/sdb5. I decided to declare /dev/sdb5 as the driver where to put the snapshots. So this drive was mounted twice as /games /mnt/timeshift.
    At first a wrong setting made timeshift backup a full /share directory fully of movies wich set the partition full. I deleted the snapshot directory in /mnt/timeshift, modified the settings.
    After modifying the settings, the backup went fine. I just noticed a few hours later that all my games were deleted and there was only timeshift snapshot in the drive, now.

    I don't know where I fucked up. Is timeshift supposed to delete everything but its snapshots in the drive?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      Custom mount points such as /games, /share etc should be added to the exclude list to prevent the backup drive from filling up.

      TimeShift does not delete any file outside the /timeshift folder while taking backups. Since the backup device is mounted under /mnt/timeshift, the snapshots should be deleted from /mnt/timeshift/timeshift. Is it possible that you deleted the files in /mnt/timeshift directly?

      Delete
  36. Hi,

    Yeah! it had been added to the exclude list.
    I can't remember myself deleting anything out from /mnt/timeshift/timeshift anyway.

    Well. That's a computer life, I suppose.
    regards

    ReplyDelete
  37. Little info : in Fedora 20, timeshift complains about missing dependencies (fuser), which is part of psmisc package. But once installed, fuser is in /usr/sbin/fuser, so a symbolic link is needed :
    sudo ln -s /usr/sbin/fuser /usr/bin/fuser
    I could finally get timeshift stop complaining about it and have automatic snapshots working again :)
    (PS : i recently setup my sendmail. Nice surprise when i got a timeshift cron log sent from my machine (every half hour is a bit too much thought !). Again, timeshift is so helpful that it should be default in every major distrib.
    A must-have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The dependency issue will be fixed in the next update. Thanks for informing me.

      Delete
  38. Gday Tony. Well what a great tool. Luckily i installed it on my system BEFORE i installed the nvidia driver....or should i say....destroyed my system. Im running fedora 20, and your tool works perfectly. I have to run it from command line tho, coz if i add beesu to the menu, it wont mount my drive....but, it worked flawlessly from the terminal with sudo, and restored my data in around 90 seconds....all 4 gigs of it.
    Thanks mate for a brilliant linux backup option.

    I actually booted from a live fedora stick, installed timeshift...and was up n running again very quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Exactly the tool I've been searching for, thanks for writing it. Installed it on ubuntu 12.04... took the first snapshot but automatic snapshots remain disabled (grayed out) in settings tab. No cron jobs created.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reporting this...will look into it

      Delete
  40. Is it possibile to set up the backup always at the same time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If 'Scheduled Snapshots' are enabled in the Settings window then backups will be taken as soon as the next backup is due. To take snapshots at a fixed time, disable 'Scheduled Snapshots' from settings and add a cron job for the command 'timeshift --backup-now'

      Delete
    2. Ok.. but if i block the inside procedure, how can i delete the backup more old of a week ?

      Delete
  41. I want to ask something.
    I use Elementary OS right now. If I backup, then I install another linux distro (ubuntu for example), then I reinstall eOS and restore the backup, would my system back like it was?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You won't have to reinstall eOS. Just take a snapshot of your current eOS system, install the new distro, and then restore the snapshot to go back to your eOS system. Make sure to save the snapshot on another Linux partition since the system partition will be formatted on installing a new distro.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the reply. And I just realized my question was already covered above. I'm sorry I didn't read it carefully.

      Delete
  42. Hi,
    Timeshift is very neat. Is there a way to specify a different default timeshift snapshot store location than /timeshift ? I would prefer to store my timeshift on a separate drive which has lots of free space.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You cannot select the path but you can select the drive on which backups are to be stored. The drive must have a Linux partition on it otherwise it will not be displayed in the backup device drop-down.

      Delete
  43. I was going to ask the same. I have NAS device and I want to write backups on it! Is this possible?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Network devices do not support hard-links and hence cannot be used for backup. Backups can be created only on local devices (internal hard disk or portable hard disk) having a Linux file system.

      Delete
    2. So the only way is to make another 10 GB ext4 partition on HDD for saving backups?

      Delete
    3. If you don't want to use your system partition for backups then you need to create another Ext4 partition.

      Delete
  44. Hi i installed timeshift last realese today in opensuse 13.1 kde 64 bit version... when i launch sudo timeshift this is the output : error: XDG_RUNTIME_DIR not set in the environment.
    Unable to init server

    (timeshift:5426): Gtk-WARNING **: cannot open display:

    how to resolve?
    thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what the problem could be. I'll look into it.

      Delete
    2. Check this post:
      http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=170579

      I also had this problem with Linux Mint 17.1, every time on run sudo something the message "error: XDG_RUNTIME_DIR not set in the environment" appeared.
      In the file /etc/sudoers I commented the line where the proxy env var where keep:

      #Line with problem
      #Defaults env_keep="http_proxy https_proxy ftp_proxy all_proxy"

      Delete
  45. good app how i can change plase to safe the snapshot to use it after format

    ReplyDelete
  46. I tried to make a backup and ran out of space... The space filled by the failing backup is still in use... I saw a folder called /timeshift under mnt, umounted and deleted it. My filesystem was 47% in use before and now is 89%.. Where do I find the temp backup made by timeshift or rsync?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Run the following in a command window: sudo rm -rf /timeshift

      Delete
  47. Hi Tony George,
    my compliments for your job!!!!
    a question for you ...
    I have two hard drives as backup storage (one internal HD1and the other external HDUSB).
    The snapshot has root permissions and if I want to copy it from HD1 to HDUSB I have to put the user's permissions (chmod-R 777 snap1).It's correct?
    If I do a restore, the prerequisite is that TimeShift see the external usb drive but the program only sees the internal hard drives. What is the solution in this case? (correct change timeshift.json and put uuid's HDUSB?)
    Thanks
    My Regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the external drive has a Linux partition then it will be visible in the drop-down for Backup Device.
      If it has only Window partitions (NTFS) then it won't be visible.
      To copy snapshots to external drive don't change the folder permission. It will cause problems. Copy the folders by running the file manager as root, Run 'gksu nautilus' or 'gksu nemo' etc to start the file manager with root permissions. Do not edit the JSON file manually. It will cause problems.

      Delete
  48. I have the exact same question as angelohp. TimeShift doesn't recognize my external drive either; only my internal drive. Thanks for your time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The external drive must have a Linux partition on it. Otherwise it will not be displayed in drop-down. Click the Refresh button after connecting the external drive.

      Delete
  49. hi good job, what about 14.04 ?

    ReplyDelete
  50. hello,

    timeshift crash on install (slackware 14.1 64bits/32bits)

    cp: can't erase « /usr/share/doc with directory ./usr/share/doc

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Will look into it and let you know

      Delete
  51. Hello! Is it possible to add a comment to each snapshot, so that you can restore to a point when a new program was installed using its name rather than the date and time that the snapshot was taken?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Comments can be added after the snapshot is taken. After taking snapshot double-click on the Comments column and type the comments.

      Delete
    2. Thank you! It's obvious when you think of it!

      Delete
  52. I installed this back in March. I took one snapshot (manual), but my scheduled snapshots are not working - the only existing snapshot is the one I took manually on March 14 2014. There are no cron jobs. How can I fix this? What are the cron jobs that should exist? ubuntu 12.04 Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I guess if you enter & exit timeshift enough times, it eventually adds something to cron. It now runs every 30 minutes. Is that normal? I selected daily, weekly and monthly backups. Because my system started running very slowly, I checked to see what was going on. It turns out I have two rsyncs running. Is that expected & normal? Here's the line it put in the crontab file:
      */30 * * * * timeshift --backup

      I should also mention it overwrote my former crontab file, so I lost everything previously in it. It's not good when the backup program destroys your data.

      Delete
    2. (1) I've now determined that timeshift overwrites my crontab on a regular basis. It appears to happen if I change my settings, but it's not 100% definite. (Very strange - first it wouldn't add anything, now it won't stop. Seems very likely related to settings.)

      (2) I also have to wonder why timeshift needs to run every 30 minutes if I'm only taking snapshots daily, weekly or monthly.

      (3) Also still getting "An error occurred while the server was being contacted. " when clicking the "Notify me" box on your blog. Thanks.

      Delete
  53. Suggestion. timeshift saves swapfiles - in my case, 500MB. I'm not sure that's the best idea. I know I can specifically exclude it, but you might want to consider excluding it by default. ubuntu 12.04 Thank you

    P.S. Clicking the "Notify me" box on your blog results in "An error occurred while the server was being contacted."

    ReplyDelete
  54. Can I use Timeshift in Arch Linux?

    ReplyDelete
  55. In the theory all is very nice. But on a real situation, if you cant boot into the system, that software dont help you. Because you cant install it on a live cd. In other words... If you have an issue with this you can revert changes on your system. But if you have a real problem, a serious problem, and you cant boot into the system that software is a bad choise. Because you never can install this on a live cd. In some years we can get a real solution to restore a system. This is a good effort but incomplete.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course you can install it on a live cd. It will automatically scan your primary hard drive for taken snapshots, then you can recover the system.

      Delete
  56. I installed Timeshift in Ubuntu 14.04 64-bit, and I'm fairly new to Linux. My question is: I have setup Deja-Dup as my backup program for personal files. Deja-Dup will pop up notifications to backup my files in Ubuntu.

    Does Timeshift have the same capability of pop up notification? If yes, what would I have to do to setup notifications? I am using Timeshift to backup to an external drive that was formatted for ext4 filesystem.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Timeshift will show a notification only after the backup is done. It does not prompt before starting the backup.
      I'll add this option in a future update.

      Delete
  57. Thanks for the prompt reply and for such a great program. I love to donate to projects and developers such as yourself (which I'm going to do now). Keep up the great work and from what I've read to date, others really appreciate your efforts also.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Hello,

    I have used TimeShift on a partition that have 10 gb free space, timeshift tell me 5 gb its necessary for the first backup. But after i have clic on Backup button a error message, no more space for create the backup. I have uninstalled TimeShift but I have always 0 mo free space in my partition, it is a problem because its the root partition "/". How I can delet manually the file backup to have again the 10 gb free disk space. Where is the big file ? Thanks.

    Sorry for my english, im french

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Go to the root of the backup partition and delete the /timeshift folder

      Delete
  59. Thank you for the answere. In fact i have deleted the /timeshift folder before posting here, but i think it has a bug when I have cleaned the Trash, her looked empty, but the files was still in the system. I m novice in linux and I just find the solution : deleting manually /root/.local/share/delete/trash and now I can breathe again :)

    ReplyDelete
  60. I have the same problem.

    Timeshift shows it need 3,1 Gbyte for the first snapshot. I have more than 15 Gbyte free space on my root partition.
    I start the first backup and it runs out of disk space.
    What do I made wrong?

    ReplyDelete
  61. Now I choose another partition for backup. The snapshot take 16 Gbyte disk space instead of the promised 3,1 Gbyte.
    The whole system uses 3,5 Gbyte, can't imagine how the snapshot needed 16 Gb :(.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is your home directory (/home) mounted on a separate partition?

      Delete
  62. Thank you for your question. The problem was what you thought. The other system's user folders was on /home.
    I excluded the the other user folder and everything is ok now. Sorry for my thoughtless behaviour :S.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hello, for some reason it does not take snapshot on my Ubuntu 14.04. Here is log: [17:36:14] Error: rsync: send_files failed to open "/home/user/.config/google-chrome/Default/Local Storage/http_www.professionalmuscle.com_0.localstorage": Input/output error (5)
    rsync error: some files/attrs were not transferred (see previous errors) (code 23) at main.c(1183) [sender=3.1.0]
    [17:36:14] Error: rsync returned an error: 5888
    [17:36:14] Error: Failed to create new snapshot
    [17:36:14] Error: On-demand snapshot failed!

    ReplyDelete
  64. Couldn't install.

    E: Unable to locate package timeshift

    ReplyDelete
  65. Does TimeShift assume that backed up Linux boot files need to be written to the boot sector of the drive specified with "Device for Bootloader installation:"?.

    I use EasyBCD to manage my dual boot, which has you to keep all the Linux bootloader files completely separate from where the Windows boot files live. For example, on my system the Linux boot files are located on sda7.

    If TimeShift restores them to the disk's boot sector I'm thinking that would be a problem.

    If this is the way things work, is there any way I can change this behavior?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Timeshift currently installs the bootloader to the boot sector of the drive, not the partition. So in your case this will cause problems. I'll add the option in the next update for installing bootloader to the partition as well. Thanks for bringing this to my notice.

      Delete
    2. Added in v1.5. Now the boot loader can be installed on partition.

      http://www.teejeetech.in/2014/08/timeshift-v15.html

      Delete
    3. That's great! Thanks Tony.

      -Jeff

      Delete
  66. Hi. I found a bug in the application Timeshift v1.4.4. After launching the application, hit the donate button. On the modal dialog box there are 3 buttons where you can either donate via paypal, send email, or view website. Clicking any of these buttons gives an error about Chromium (or whatever browser) cannot be run as root. It now becomes impossible to exit the application or modal dialog without launching a terminal and invoking a "killall" command. Keep up the good work. I really enjoy the application.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Hi. I run TimeShift 1.6.1 on Manjaro 0.8.10 x64. When I boot my OS first time memory consumption (XFCE) is over 520 MB. For any other boot during the same day it needs 410 MB or less. I keep scheduled snapshots OFF so it creates restore points on demand only. All the schedule options are greyed then but two of them seem to be ticked by default: boot and daily. I turned the schedule ON for a moment to untick those options but I could not untick anything. I could only do tick so I decided not to safe any new profile. I think that TimeShift consumes extra RAM when I boot first time. I need it to work on demand only. Any advise please. Marcin.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Hey tony - quick question or 2 mate!

    How will TimeShift go if my root volume is encrypted with Ubuntu's full disk encryption? My (provided) work system has FDE on the entire 256GB SSD, and id love to take snapshots to save me if some app development causes a system crash. Will snapshots work? Can I use TimeShift to completely restore the machine without reinstalling the OS, or will I have to keep using DD disk images due to the encryption? Any other limitations?

    Also, I'm planning on moving my user home to a secondary HDD (in place of my optical drive) will this cause any issues? It will also be encrypted.

    Is it best to have TimeShift put its data on an external drive, or use Drja Dup to back up the TimeShift data?

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When your system is running, the root file system is in a decrypted state. Hence Timeshift will be able to take and restore snapshots without any issue. However if your system is not boot-able then you will be unable to restore the system by booting to Live CD or another system. I'll add support for doing an offline restore to an encrypted partition in the next update.

      Copying the backups to another location using Deja Dup will break hard-links and each snapshot will expand to occupy the full size on the destination. This will waste a lot of disk space. Its better to directly select the external drive for backups.

      Delete
    2. Cheers for the reply!

      The changes sound awesome, and really useful for my situation. At the moment I have a long process for rebuilding the machine in the event it becomes unbootable, and restoring user data to.

      I did notice that the daily deja-dup backups were somewhat large and taking a lot of time! I will leave Deja Dup to just backup the /home dir and then have TimeShift write to the USB drive.

      If the USB drive is not mounted will there be a catastrophic error or will it just ignore/wait for the disk to come back? On this note, if I am going to be away from the backup drive, should I disable TimeShift?

      Lastly my use case is to have TimeShift create daily snapshots and then manually create a snapshot if I am going to attempt an install of something I am not 100% confident will be successful. Is that overkill or a reasonable approach? Given the nature of the machine, downtime is a bad thing, and Im hoping TImeShift will save be from bad installations/broken dependencies etc

      thanks again!

      Delete
  69. hello i have this message
    Impossible de trouver le paquet timeshift
    impossible to find packet timeshift
    how to fix it ?
    i used Ubuntu 13.10
    thank's
    oliver

    ReplyDelete
  70. Hi,

    This is really, really excellent, what would make it a real Wow...
    If there was an option to "Backup" & "Restore" "configuration" files, like:
    smb conf, smbuser, resolv conf, nsswitch, fstab, rc local, systctl conf,
    With some method/way to add/define config files to "Backup"

    That would make re-installs so much easier...

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This will be added soon to Aptik. Timeshift is for backup/restoring entire system. Adding options for individual files will increase the complexity.

      Delete
  71. Hi Tony

    TimeShift works great for me on Ubuntu 14.04, I also love the clone function.

    Thanks for a great backup tool.

    NickAu

    ReplyDelete
  72. Hi , Thanks for great tool.

    How to restore backups from terminal ?

    ReplyDelete
  73. I figured out how to use this on a USB Flash drive. See the posting:
    http://aubreykloppers.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/elementaryos-eos-beauty-in-design/

    ReplyDelete
  74. Hi, I just discovered your software. It looks very interesting. I have 2 questions:
    1. How can I install it on Debian Wheezy? (I saw some debs in this discussion but are a year old)
    2. You recommend installing TimeShift along Back in Time? (TimeShift for system backup and Back in Time for data?)

    Thanks a lot

    ReplyDelete
  75. I'm using Timeshift v1.6.2. It is currently backing up at a high productivity time that I'm using my pc, such as 8:50 P.M. Thursdays. It is set to backup on a weekly basis. How do I change the time and day Timeshift chooses to backup?

    ReplyDelete
  76. can you provide a tutorial on how to do cross system restore ?

    ReplyDelete
  77. Thank you....thank you...thank you! You have saved me literally hours of work and possibly/probably having to reinstall everything from scratch after a year with no issues (so that's a lot of stuff built on).

    ReplyDelete

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