One of the ways to backup elementary OS system state is by using a free tool ‘TimeShift’. It provides the functionality similar to the System Restore in Windows OS and the Time Machine in Mac OS. This tool automatically takes incremental snapshots of the file system at regular intervals. These snapshots can be used to restore your Linux computer. Let’s see how to install TimeShift and configure it to make it an important tool when disaster strikes the PC.
Launch Terminal and enter the following commands one at a time.
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:teejee2008/ppa sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install timeshift
Configure TimeShift for Automatic Backups
After installation is complete, launch TimeShift from Applications. TimeShift won’t backup anything by itself by default settings. Click on ‘Settings’ in the TimeShift user interface. You will see ‘Schedule’, ‘Auto-Remove’, and ‘Advanced’ tabs.
1. Schedule Automatic Backup
This is the first thing I would do to use TimeShift effectively. Enable ‘Scheduled snapshots’ and check ‘Daily’ and ‘Boot’ options. TimeShift will now take one backup everyday and also one for every reboot. You can choose whatever the way you want.
2. Auto Cleanup Old Backup Snapshots
Each snapshot typically takes around 9 GB of hard disk space to backup elementary OS system files. So if you choose one per day, the hard disk space will be consumed very fast. To tackle this issue, you can let TimeShift to automatically delete older snapshots and keep the latest 5 or so snapshots.
3. Add Additional Backup Locations
Note that by default settings, TimeShift is intended to only backup Linux system files. It won’t backup the user data stored in music, pictures, documents, videos, or any other such non-system files. However, you can include additional folders or files in the backup. For example I have added ‘Documents’ directory to be backed up. You can configure it in ‘Advanced’ tab.
Click ‘Save’ and TimeShift will take care of the backups for you. Anytime you feel elementary OS is not running well due to misconfiguration or dataloss, launch ‘TimeShift’, click on ‘Restore’ option, and select the snapshot you want to bring your system to the exact state it was in at the time when the snapshot was taken.