Best Practices for Timeshift Snapshots?

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MrD.
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Best Practices for Timeshift Snapshots?

Post by MrD. »

I'm currently in the process of evaluating a LM 19 update for a relatives laptop that is currently running LM 17. This person is not technically capable, so my plan was to set them up with Timeshift running on a BTRFS partition, with automatic updates enabled, and with level 4 and kernel updates disabled (I'd run those manually when I visit).

While I've been generally impressed with Timeshift during my testing (and it actually saved me when I configured something in the wrong order), I do have some concerns about when it chooses to make its snapshots.

It feels that if the primary purpose of Timeshift in LM is to provide a buffer for potential instability from updates, then the Update Manager should have an option to create a snapshot prior to installing updates. It seems like this isn't possible though, as the only Timeshift options are chronological based, or on boot (which I've found to be unreliable as the task only runs every hour so can easily miss quick reboots).

Maybe I'm just over-thinking this, and a daily or boot snapshot would be fine. I just don't want to be in a position where because the laptop has only been on for 20-30 minute intervals that Timeshift never got around to creating a snapshot for days/weeks/months, while the Update Manager has been happily installing automatic updates during that time.

How have your guys been running Timeshift, and have you had any issues with it missing snapshots?
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MtnMan75
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Re: Best Practices for Timeshift Snapshots?

Post by MtnMan75 »

There is something wrong with timeshift in 19. I just had a problem surface that / had no space left and after booting the installer and changing the partitions to give it more space was able to get back in and do some searching. I had timeshift set up to do a once a month snapshot and now looking at timeshift's directory alone (after 4 months) was over 15Gb. The problem occurred as it was in the middle of doing a new snapshot while two other snapshots remained and instead of seeing the lack of disk space, kept writing until there was no free space left, and then you're hosed. So I see the initial snapshot from the install, last month's snapshot, and part of what it was trying to snapshot last night at midnight when it filled up all available space and couldn't function.

update - shortly after writing this I was trying to sort things out and even after trying to disable timeshift, it filled up the 4gb I added to the partition trying to create a new snapshot. Not sure what the deal is. I've uninstalled timeshift and removed the directory for it.

rbmorse
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Re: Best Practices for Timeshift Snapshots?

Post by rbmorse »

MtnMan: When you configured Timeshift to create monthly snapshots, did you also specify the number of snapshots it was to retain? The program does not error check on that particular setting.

I am a little surprised it doesn't do a space check before it starts a snapshot...perhaps that will be an enhancement in a future version.
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ajgringo619
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Re: Best Practices for Timeshift Snapshots?

Post by ajgringo619 »

MrD. wrote:
Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:27 pm
I'm currently in the process of evaluating a LM 19 update for a relatives laptop that is currently running LM 17. This person is not technically capable, so my plan was to set them up with Timeshift running on a BTRFS partition, with automatic updates enabled, and with level 4 and kernel updates disabled (I'd run those manually when I visit).

<snip>

How have your guys been running Timeshift, and have you had any issues with it missing snapshots?
I just got done reinstalling my system after a couple of major BTRFS hard freezes during snapshot maintenance (this had nothing to do with Timeshift as it was only using the BTRFS commands to purge/clean old snapshots). When it works, it's a great filesystem (and born to work with Timeshift). But when it doesn't...

As long as you configure it properly, TImeshift is a set-it-and-forget-it program. Many of the complaints revolve around space usage and the fact that's its default settings aren't very smart (don't do what I did and create a mount point under / that wasn't explicitly excluded - a quick way to fill up a partition!). I keep about 5 snapshots - a few dailys, a weekly, and a monthly - and my space usage is about 2x my / partition. While this seems high, I do a lot of tweaking; in fact, one of my latest tweaks killed some stuff and Timeshift got me back in a few minutes.

As far as missed snapshots, Timeshift doesn't really have a set time, although once it makes a snapshot it will make the next one at the same time if the machine is still on when its scheduled.
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