Timeshift frustration

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slimbrick87
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Timeshift frustration

Post by slimbrick87 »

I'm having a real hard time with Timeshift. I'm using Linux Mint 19 as a dual boot on my 2013 iMac. I'm using a 256GB Flash Drive in /dev/sdd as the location for Timeshift snapshots. It has a MSDOS Partition Table because GPT gave me errors, however the single partition on the drive is ext4. I've shown that I can put files on it and delete them without problems.

I'm working with a clean install of Linux Mint 19 where all I've done is added a swapfile, installed Chrome, and updated all the packages. When I do the first Timeshift Snapshot, rsync completes without error in about 20 minutes. If I close Timeshift and open it again, it shows the Snapshot is there, taking perhaps 20 GB of space. However, if I try to open the USBs directory, I get errors telling me it can't be open. If I then reboot the machine, I can successfully open the USB drive's directory, and it is empty and shows there is again 256GB of space available. Timeshift shows that no Snapshot has been saved.

This is frustrating because it seems like it should be simple. Two things worth mentioning is that the partition table is MSDOS (as mentioned above), and that I formatted the single partition to ext4 however I had to use the -O ^has_journal option to disable journaling in order to get the format to work. I don't believe these two aspects are the source of my problem, but I'm definitely open to expert opinion.

Thanks,
Slim
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catweazel
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by catweazel »

slimbrick87 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:06 am
but I'm definitely open to expert opinion.
That's a sure fire way to get no responses :)

I don't have an answer for you, only opinion. My view is that Timeshift is a disaster waiting to happen, so I turn it off and take regular disk images using Clonezilla.

I know, Timeshift should just work, and my reply isn't all that helpful. Nevertheless there are far less frustrating options out there.
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AZgl1500
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by AZgl1500 »

Not having used Timeshift in LM19 yet, I can only reflect on how it has been working in 18.3

For myself, it has been very good at restoring an "aw crap" moment to reverse a stupid mouse click.

I also use Aptik to keep backups of how I want my installs to be.
Aptik makes it super simple to put things back "just like they were" as of the time that backup was made.
It is not as quick as Timeshift, and it is not automatic.

I just used Aptik today to make a restore to a SSD from a HDD. Went like clockwork, the only thing I noticed was that Aptik for some reason did not restore the Wallpaper for two other users on that PC. Minor, easy fix...
and a lot easier than cloning the full drive, as the new install had new partitions from the old HDD...
Aptik knew the difference and did a full restore and put things where they belonged.
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bob466
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by bob466 »

I haven't tried Mint 19 yet as I never install Beta of anything...but I have my doubts about Timeshift.

I've been using Timeshift for a while...not long ago I ran a simple test to see if Timeshift was as good as some people say.

I placed a Video and a Folder with some Documents in it on my Mint 18.3 Desktop...then created a Snapshot...I then deleted both the Video and Folder. The restored Snapshot was missing both Video and Folder...why I don't know as they should have been restored too.

If Timeshift wont restore a Folder or Video...what else doesn't it restore ? I suppose it's better than nothing...but for me as I want everything restored...exactly the way it was...I create a System Image of the HDD and save it to an External HDD...problem solved.
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Sir Charles
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by Sir Charles »

bob466 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:28 am
I placed a Video and a Folder with some Documents in it on my Mint 18.3 Desktop...then created a Snapshot...I the deleted both the Video and Folder. The restored Snapshot was missing both Video and Folder...why I don't know as they should have been restored too.
By default, Timeshift creates snapshots of the system files in /. What is in home could be included in its setting. Had you included /home as well in the snapshot in your test?
I suppose that's one of the ironies of life, doing the wrong thing at the right moment -C.C.
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by Pierre »

the fact that Timeshift creates snapshots of the system files in /, is an issue in itself,
as / root could be quite small & thus cause an Low_Disk_Space_Error to occur.

you can move it, away from / root, but some folks may not realise that bit.
:)
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by slimbrick87 »

Wow! Less than 12 hours after my original post, and there's several replies that more-or-less tell me that I should use anything other than Timeshift! :D

I appreciate the advice to check out either Clonezilla or Aptik. In fact, similar to AZgl1500, I will be migrating from HDD to SDD soon and I'm glad to hear Aptik worked well for that task.

Thanks,
Slim
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AZgl1500
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by AZgl1500 »

.
All you Naysayers aside, Timeshift is solid as a rock:

Timeshift in my experience is great, and has never failed for backing up the OS.

I never use it for /home/personal stuff. that is not what it is designed for.

Look at this image and note that each Manual backup is labeled as to what it contains.
the Dailys come and go, I don't care, they are just pudding to flavor up the mix in case my brain forgot to make a Manual Backup of an OS change/addition.

Image
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by Mattyboy »

AZgl1500 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:00 pm
.
All you Naysayers aside, Timeshift is solid as a rock:
+1
moretocome
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by moretocome »

bob466 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:28 am
I've been using Timeshift for a while...not long ago I ran a simple test to see if Timeshift was as good as some people say.

I placed a Video and a Folder with some Documents in it on my Mint 18.3 Desktop...then created a Snapshot...I then deleted both the Video and Folder. The restored Snapshot was missing both Video and Folder...why I don't know as they should have been restored too.

If Timeshift wont restore a Folder or Video...what else doesn't it restore ? I suppose it's better than nothing...but for me as I want everything restored...exactly the way it was...I create a System Image of the HDD and save it to an External HDD...problem solved.
You might want to check out the release notes, before you ¨test¨ new software. Timeshift backs up your system files, not your personal files (although it can be tweaked to include those). It is intended to be of use if you accidentally install a bad update or edit system files, that break your system. Then Timeshift will restore your system to a working configuration, like System Restore is supposed to bring back a Windows system and not the personal files (because if Timeshift or System Restore is able to rescue the system, the personal files will likely still be there).

In that given situation, if you only have a backup of your home folder, you would have your desktop folder with your video in it, but your system would still be toast. Of course a full system image would rescue both your system and your files, but you will have to power down your machine to make it, it will take up a lot more space, and it will not be automatic. So I do not think it is fair to evaluate software on a use case that is far from its intension.

I still have not had to try to restore from a Timeshift shapshot, so I can not evaluate that function. But I take manual snapshots whenever I change something major in my system, and then I use Backintime to automatically back up my personal files, and I even think that combined solution is better than full system images.

Because given the steps required to make them, I would probably only make system images occasionally, and if I had to restore from one of those, I would loose any edits and all new files since the time of the backup. That might be a day, might be a week of work or more, and of course the files I am currently working on are often the ones I need the most. This is exactly the situation Timeshift avoids by not touching your personal files.
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by AZgl1500 »

moretocome wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:47 pm

You might want to check out the release notes, before you ¨test¨ new software. Timeshift backs up your system files, not your personal files (although it can be tweaked to include those). It is intended to be of use if you accidentally install a bad update or edit system files, that break your system. Then Timeshift will restore your system to a working configuration, like System Restore is supposed to bring back a Windows system and not the personal files (because if Timeshift or System Restore is able to rescue the system, the personal files will likely still be there).

In that given situation, if you only have a backup of your home folder, you would have your desktop folder with your video in it, but your system would still be toast. Of course a full system image would rescue both your system and your files, but you will have to power down your machine to make it, it will take up a lot more space, and it will not be automatic. So I do not think it is fair to evaluate software on a use case that is far from its intention.

I still have not had to try to restore from a Timeshift snapshot, so I can not evaluate that function. But I take manual snapshots whenever I change something major in my system, and then I use BackInTime to automatically back up my personal files, and I even think that combined solution is better than full system images.

Because given the steps required to make them, I would probably only make system images occasionally, and if I had to restore from one of those, I would loose any edits and all new files since the time of the backup. That might be a day, might be a week of work or more, and of course the files I am currently working on are often the ones I need the most. This is exactly the situation Timeshift avoids by not touching your personal files.

=> BEST ANSWER

Condemnation of a program because you don't understand it is not valid.

I too am of the opinion that full disk images are for Disaster Recovery Purposes only, not casual backup use.
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catweazel
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by catweazel »

AZgl1500 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:15 pm
Condemnation of a program because you don't understand it is not valid.
My view is that the condemnation is valid. The fact that the software doesn't function very well for many people is a telling sign, and it has nothing to do with not understanding it. If it's turned on, it should just work, end of story.
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bob466
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by bob466 »

moretocome wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:47 pm
bob466 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:28 am
I've been using Timeshift for a while...not long ago I ran a simple test to see if Timeshift was as good as some people say.

I placed a Video and a Folder with some Documents in it on my Mint 18.3 Desktop...then created a Snapshot...I then deleted both the Video and Folder. The restored Snapshot was missing both Video and Folder...why I don't know as they should have been restored too.

If Timeshift wont restore a Folder or Video...what else doesn't it restore ? I suppose it's better than nothing...but for me as I want everything restored...exactly the way it was...I create a System Image of the HDD and save it to an External HDD...problem solved.
You might want to check out the release notes, before you ¨test¨ new software. Timeshift backs up your system files, not your personal files (although it can be tweaked to include those). It is intended to be of use if you accidentally install a bad update or edit system files, that break your system. Then Timeshift will restore your system to a working configuration, like System Restore is supposed to bring back a Windows system and not the personal files (because if Timeshift or System Restore is able to rescue the system, the personal files will likely still be there).
I've been using Timeshift since Mint 18...so it's not new to me. The fact it doesn't back up personal files gives people a faults sense of security...which is the downside and worrying to many.

Since you haven't restored a Snapshot yourself...how do you know what it does or doesn't do anyway ? Speaking of System Restore in Windoze...it wasn't that great either but it did restore all system files including personal ones and software. As I said it's better than nothing...but for me it's not good enough. Creating a System Image with Macrium ticks all the boxes especially HDD failure.
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slimbrick87
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by slimbrick87 »

This thread has strayed pretty far from where I started it. I'm trying to use Timeshift, not as a backup to my personal folder, simply with the default settings. When I do so using a USB Flash Drive of 256 GB, it simply doesn't work per the description in my original post. Any ideas of what further investigation I can do for that specific situation would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Slim
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by mintydoraemon »

moretocome wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:47 pm
I still have not had to try to restore from a Timeshift shapshot, so I can not evaluate that function. But I take manual snapshots whenever I change something major in my system, and then I use Backintime to automatically back up my personal files, and I even think that combined solution is better than full system images.
Hi, I just wanna chime in to say that Timeshift & Automatic Update are the reasons I go back to LM after many previous trials. Manual update is just a nuisance for admin users and impossibility for novice users.

For personal files, I've been using pCloud for years to sync/backup. It has a pretty affordable lifetime (99 years) deal. I know lifetime subscription sounds dubious, but for at least the past 2-3 years, it has been solid to me.

Coupling pCloud with Timeshift, I'm all set and forget for myself and other 3 family members.
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by chiefjim »

slimbrick87 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:46 pm
This thread has strayed pretty far from where I started it. I'm trying to use Timeshift, not as a backup to my personal folder, simply with the default settings. When I do so using a USB Flash Drive of 256 GB, it simply doesn't work per the description in my original post. Any ideas of what further investigation I can do for that specific situation would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Slim
I don't see where Timeshift would be an advantage. After all if the system is already "borked" what are the odds you can even access Timeshift?

Personally I like to use a remastered flash drive. That will restore my system default settings in about 5 minutes. Data already sits on separate partitions and/or discs. So no concern there.
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by moretocome »

https://github.com/teejee2008/timeshift wrote: User Data is Excluded by Default

Timeshift is designed to protect system files and settings. It is NOT a backup tool and is not meant to protect user data. Entire contents of users' home directories 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 to recover the system.
  • Your music and video collection in your home directory will not waste space on the backup device.
catweazel wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:26 pm
My view is that the condemnation is valid. The fact that the software doesn't function very well for many people is a telling sign, and it has nothing to do with not understanding it. If it's turned on, it should just work, end of story.
Well it does work the way the developers intended it to work. It just does not work the way you intend it to do :)
bob466 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:20 pm
I've been using Timeshift since Mint 18...so it's not new to me. The fact it doesn't back up personal files gives people a faults sense of security...which is the downside and worrying to many.

Since you haven't restored a Snapshot yourself...how do you know what it does or doesn't do anyway ? Speaking of System Restore in Windoze...it wasn't that great either but it did restore all system files including personal ones and software. As I said it's better than nothing...but for me it's not good enough. Creating a System Image with Macrium ticks all the boxes especially HDD failure.
Why do you keep mentioning your personal files, when it is clearly stated in the software description, that it is not intended to be a backup solution for your personal files? It is like rejecting your new shoes, because they do not keep your hands warm :)

Picture this: Say you have Timeshift configured to take automatic snapshots every 12 hours. Then you work for say 11 hours on personal files, and then your system crashes. You happily find you are able to restore the system from your Timeshift snapshot, only to find that all of the files you have been working on has been overwritten by the backup, and now are there exactly where you left them 11 hours ago - that's 11 hours of work that just disappeared.

I don't know about you, but I would prefer my system backup solution to only care about my system, so when I am finally able to boot my system normally again I can find my personal files like I left them just before the crash and not from the time of the backup.

It is very clear, that you have not even understood the use case scenario that Timeshift covers, because you keep comparing it to a solution (system images) that the software developers actively try differentiate from :)
slimbrick87 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:46 pm
This thread has strayed pretty far from where I started it. I'm trying to use Timeshift, not as a backup to my personal folder, simply with the default settings. When I do so using a USB Flash Drive of 256 GB, it simply doesn't work per the description in my original post. Any ideas of what further investigation I can do for that specific situation would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Slim
I would suspect, that journaling is actually a requirement for the Timeshift location. Did you try with another location? Maybe create a GPT-partition table and format the drive in Gparted? Or try another usb-key? If you are worried that you won't be able to mount your key in MacOS, I wonder why you would ever need to, if you use the key solely as a system backup solution for your Linux OS.
slimbrick87
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by slimbrick87 »

moretocome wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:06 am
slimbrick87 wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:46 pm
This thread has strayed pretty far from where I started it. I'm trying to use Timeshift, not as a backup to my personal folder, simply with the default settings. When I do so using a USB Flash Drive of 256 GB, it simply doesn't work per the description in my original post. Any ideas of what further investigation I can do for that specific situation would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Slim
I would suspect, that journaling is actually a requirement for the Timeshift location. Did you try with another location? Maybe create a GPT-partition table and format the drive in Gparted? Or try another usb-key? If you are worried that you won't be able to mount your key in MacOS, I wonder why you would ever need to, if you use the key solely as a system backup solution for your Linux OS.
Admittedly, I haven't tried a Timeshift snapshot on a drive with journaling because I was focused on using a different device than what the system is on, and the only choices I have for different devices are USB flash drives or the external hard drive where I keep macOS Time Machine backups. I didn't want to interfere with the Time Machine backups so I stuck with the USB flash drive, and I learned that when formatting a USB flash drive as ext4 I had to disable journaling. I figured turning off journaling for a snapshot wasn't a problem as long as I didn't pull out the USB flash drive before unmounting it first. That's what led me to this forum. Oh, and since I formatted it ext4 I can't mount it in macOS (at least not natively), so that was never a requirement for me to begin with.

I suppose the possible requirement for journaling is perhaps all that is left to explore. No one on this thread has posted that they definitively have done snapshots on drives without journaling, and I haven't found a requirement for journaling in any of the documentation I've been through, but the experiment is worth doing if I can sort out a good way to do so.
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by HaveaMint »

Pierre wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:02 am
the fact that Timeshift creates snapshots of the system files in /, is an issue in itself,
as / root could be quite small & thus cause an Low_Disk_Space_Error to occur.

you can move it, away from / root, but some folks may not realise that bit.
:)
I believe this is done because quiet a few people install to a single partition so it defaults to root.
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Re: Timeshift frustration

Post by trytip »

don't know why so many issues with time shift. i have timeshift location in home directory which is shared between both operating systems and whenever my arch linux breaks (it's very often lately) i boot linux mint xfce 18.3 open timeshift point to my location and restore arch in about 5 minutes. I DO CHECK advanced options to not re-install grub and not exclude browsers in restore

Image

timeshift is actually very efficient in restoring my arch and have done so at least 10 times past few months. i don't do automatic scheduling i keep an original for about a month and one or two extra snapshots right before an update.

if you are creating snapshot on system with one root partition, is timeshift EXCLUDED?
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