An experience with Timeshift and the space it uses

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AZgl1500
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An experience with Timeshift and the space it uses

Post by AZgl1500 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:43 pm

.

As I have progressed thru learning about Linux Mint and backing things up with Timeshift and Aptik, things would change.

I would keep backups quite frequently, and then when I would change the way I was using the install, I would do a reinstall or change the way the partitions were on the HDD.

This of course caused the Timeshift backups already made to be useless, so I would just simply delete the Timeshifts that had been made, thinking that should free up space on the backup partition to allow for more.

today, a lot went on with the way and how this Dell laptop is set up, so it was time for a new timeshift backup.

got a real surprise, when it Timeshift an alarm "not enough space". huh?

The backup partition is about 190 gB and I'm not keeping very much in the way of /home backups on it. a few, but not many. The big bulk of those go to an extUSB HDD.

to cut to the chase, I did a complete bulk erase inside Timeshift of all the past backups. That should have given the full partition back to make all new Timeshift backups.

well, it did not. the "used space" remained just the way it was. :shock:

So, I unmounted that partition and reformatted and mounted it back.
Rebooted and ran Timeshift again. This time it reported 180.x gB of free space.

after a new Baseline Timeshift backup, that was reduced down to 169.7 gB

all is well again, but a lesson learned. Timeshift does not seem to actually delete the files off of the drive/partition.
Apparently, it is just deleting links and leaving the files in place.

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Re: An experience with Timeshift and the space it uses

Post by Night Wing » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:43 am

AZgl1500 wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:43 pm
Timeshift does not seem to actually delete the files off of the drive/partition.
Apparently, it is just deleting links and leaving the files in place.
I've never used Timeshift. I hope this isn't the way Timeshift is supposed to act upon a deletion of an old snapshot of a system because Timeshift will be a default in Mint 19 (Tara) and it looks like when I do my first updates for Mint 19, I will encounter Timeshift. If Timeshift doesn't delete files from an old backup, then when I install Mint 19 (Tara), I will uninstall Timeshift.

Speaking strictly for myself, if a backup utility causes me problems space wise on my hard drive, then I don't need or want it.
Last edited by Night Wing on Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mint 19.2 (Tina) Xfce 64 Bit

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AZgl1500
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Re: An experience with Timeshift and the space it uses

Post by AZgl1500 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:06 am

There have been several different methods of deleting the old backups.

1) thru Timeshift itself, as I just did for this post.

2) using Nemo to just deleted the entire folder and assuming that also deleted all of the files within?

Whatever the cause, I would like to get a handle on how the different Delete Processes work, so that I use the correctly in future.

for this exercise, I just formatted the partition again.

that is something that I can't afford to do on my 6TB backup drive, as it has tons of backups from a lot of different PCs, and lots of personal files backed up there.

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Re: An experience with Timeshift and the space it uses

Post by pbear » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:29 pm

With all due respect, you have a long history of "oopsies," so I'd like to see this problem replicated by someone else before concluding there's a fundamental problem with Timeshift. I'll give it a whirl this evening (have stuff to do today), but we need a bunch of tests, not just one or two.
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Re: An experience with Timeshift and the space it uses

Post by chrisuk » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:14 pm

I've been using Timeshift for years... deleting all snapshots, either via Timeshift or via a Filemanager or the command-line, has always done exactly that... deleted all of the directories and their contents. This isn't what you've described, but there's often some confusion about how hard links work, and this can lead to hardly any space returned to the system after deleting a single snapshot.

Say you take an initial snapshot of your system, lets say Timeshift names it 2018-06-06_14-56-00. Say that snapshot took 10gb of space. Then you immediately take another snapshot, this time it's 2018-06-06_15-16-00. With a Filemanager, right-clicking on the first snapshot and selecting Properties gives you a size of 10GB... doing the same for the second snapshot gives you slightly more than 10GB. But the actual size of the second snapshot might be a couple of MB of actual files, the rest are just links to the files in the first snapshot.

So deleting the second snapshot will only reclaim a few MB, not 10GB.

For those still confused, I often point to this link for a fuller explanation with a diagram.
Chris

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AZgl1500
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Re: An experience with Timeshift and the space it uses

Post by AZgl1500 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:28 pm

I follow that, but I deleted ALL of the snapshots in their entirety as they were now irrelevant to the current configuration.

so, I wanted to start anew with a clean slate....

when I saw the partition was still full, I just formatted it and got on with life.

Also,it is not fair to say that "this one laptop" constitutes the entirety of my linux experiences with Mint.

I have been using 4 of them since I started, and each had it own bit of drama....

the great thing about it all is, I am learning linux, so that is a good thing, and if a hard drive has to be reformatted, so be it.


I would love to hear of others who have been messing with Timeshift as much as I have been of late.....

I would really hope, that under "normal circumstances", e.g., just using Timeshift with 1 PC and only 1 backup partition/USB HDD that it does indeed delete the old files when asked to do so.

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Re: An experience with Timeshift and the space it uses

Post by pbear » Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:55 pm

Ran two trials, neither of which had the problem at issue. Both were single boot installations, using the same drive as the system. To the extent the problem relates to the drive being external, I'd be inclined to suspect a hardware issue rather than blame Timeshift. Anyhoo, here's what I did.

Trial 1. Install LM19 beta in VirtualBox, creating separate partitions for root, home, Timeshift and swap. Installed system is fairly small, about 6 GB, where I set up the root and Timeshift partitions at 16 GB each. Created then deleted system snapshot half-a-dozen times (snapshots directed to the Timeshift partition). Never ran out of room. More significantly, the dynamically allocated virtual hard drive did not increment in size, which I can monitor from outside VBox.

Trial 2. Have a bootable system on external hard drive, conventional rather than SSD. That system has root and home but no separate Timeshift partition. Rather, I save snapshots in root, which I boosted to 32 GB so it would have enough room. All that was already set up. What I did this evening was delete and recreate the system snapshot (9 GB) four times. Again, never ran out of room. Notably, in my understanding, a conventional drive has assigned sections for each partition, so there's no way for it to "cheat" and borrow from home to make up for unreleased space. Of course, If that understanding is incorrect, the test means nothing.

Two tests isn't proof, but neither is one failure. Also, as Chris say, the app has been in use for several years.
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ud6

Re: An experience with Timeshift and the space it uses

Post by ud6 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:33 am

pbear wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:29 pm
...I'd like to see this problem replicated by someone else before concluding there's a fundamental problem with Timeshift.
Tara 19.0 ext4. I made the error of including home folders,. forgetting I had lots.of video files. Timeshift filled my disk (not enough space). I deleted files from timeshift, but they were still taking the space and I could see them in the directory.

I went into directory (as admin) and deleted them. They seemed to disappear but then system was still showing no space. Thus I rebooted. On reboot I went into login (which is unusual as system set up not to require one) and when correct password entered, just goes back to login... yep, this really sucks as I don't have access to my computer (except with usb boot). I think I'll remove timeshift completely once I have recovered the system.

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AZgl1500
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Re: An experience with Timeshift and the space it uses

Post by AZgl1500 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:31 am

use fstrim after you delete files

that will recover the disk space

I have that in a crontab job file that runs daily, keeps things under control

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