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Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:50 pm
by warpz0ne
Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon
Kernels 5.0.0-20 / 4.18.0-25 / 4.18.0-20
~26GB / (root) partition
Separate /home partition

Recently I've been getting the occasional notification that my root partition was running out of space. My web browser has had memory leaks before that filled up RAM then most of the swap partition, so I mentally categorized this the same way. Thought it was a bug, shrugged, and rebooted. Things kept working...until today.

The notification said there was no disk space left for root. I opened Disk Usage Analyzer but it did not seem able to complete the analysis. I rebooted, got to the Mint login screen, entered my credentials, screen went black, then login screen reappeared as if nothing happened. Tried other kernels, no change. I tried Ctrl+Shift+F2 and was able to log in via terminal, but startx was not able to complete because it could not write some auth file to disk. It gave a whole screen's worth of errors.

Booted into a live DVD environment, and here is what Disk Usage Analyzer found:
Image
Timeshift had filled up the entire root partition.

So I went in via said live session and deleted all snapshots to free up space. Then, after logging into Mint like normal, Timeshift had the following settings:
Image
This is something I'm pretty sure I never messed with. Or I accepted default settings and went on my merry way.

Why is Timeshift allowed to completely fill up a partition, with presumably default settings? If I were an average user, with just Mint on my one computer, and no way to create Mint media, I'd be left without a working OS. I'm still a little concerned that some files may have been corrupted after having no free space to which they could write changes.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:26 pm
by gittiest personITW
Unfortunately it does look like Timeshift was doing what it was told to do.
Also unfortunately the setting wasn't ideal for your system.

What is the reason you're using Timeshift for?
If it is because you like to tinker with your system then it might be better for it to back up to an external drive on demand.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:42 pm
by cliffcoggin
That you chose to ignore warnings about running out of space is your fault, not Timeshift's. I suggest you either store snapshots elsewhere or reduce the number you save.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:43 pm
by warpz0ne
gittiest personITW wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:26 pm
Unfortunately it does look like Timeshift was doing what it was told to do.
Break the system? :lol:
gittiest personITW wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:26 pm
What is the reason you're using Timeshift for?
It was shilled for pretty hard with the release of Mint 19/Tara.
https://linuxmint.com/rel_tara_cinnamon_whatsnew.php
In Linux Mint 19, the star of the show is Timeshift. Although it was introduced in Linux Mint 18.3 and backported to all Linux Mint releases, it is now at the center of Linux Mint's update strategy and communication.
Who am I to go against that? If it's at the center of Mint's update strategy, it's gotta be safe for users of all skill & experience levels, right?
cliffcoggin wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:42 pm
That you chose to ignore warnings about running out of space is your fault, not Timeshift's. I suggest you either store snapshots elsewhere or reduce the number you save.
Put yourself in the shoes of an average user. Not an experienced Linux nerd, an average user. Linux Mint is known as one of the most user friendly distros for beginners, so you're going to get a lot of average users. You've got to design for that demographic.

A warning comes up saying "There is little disk space remaining on / partition" or similar. What are they to think? If you installed Linux Mint for your parents (to keep them safer from malware, etc.), and included Timeshift as a safety, because you can't always be there to do tech troubleshooting, what would they think about a message like this? What to do to solve it? How would they know that Timeshift was the culprit for low disk space? How would they begin to solve anything if they were no longer able to log in to the GUI?

Would it not make sense for there to be a setting within Timeshift, say... "Minimum Disk Space Buffer" for Timeshift to leave alone? In such a scenario, the user could set xGB to remain free on the drive, untouchable by Timeshift, so that Timeshift is disabled until the user frees up space. I mean, it says if there is >1GB free space available, Timeshift will continue to run, but what if the next backup is 1.2GB? 5GB? And this is not able to be modified by the user?

It could be worded like "Allow Timeshift to run until xGB free space remains for the selected snapshot partition."

Isn't it a more safe usage scenario for Timeshift to stop running, rather than the entire system, due to lack of space? Sounds like common sense to me.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 4:22 am
by Moem
Personally I feel that Timeshift is a valuable tool, but in order for it to be easy to use for any type of user (including newcomers) the interface needs to be made clearer. It's too easy to mess up with it.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:43 am
by gittiest personITW
Completely agree - the software could be improved upon. All software can be improved upon.
Have you made a suggestion to teejee software?

If I was king of the world, I'd make it so that Timeshift could only back up to a non-system partition, and there would be limits and everyone would have a spare hard drive to back up to. That along with a harem.

Timeshift has saved my butt so many times that I feel it should be defended pretty much unconditionally. :oops:

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:50 am
by gm10
warpz0ne wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:43 pm
Put yourself in the shoes of an average user. Not an experienced Linux nerd, an average user.
For the average user the Linux Mint installer creates a single big partition so the issue does not happen until their entire disk if full. In your case the issue was home made by storing timeshift snapshots onto a tiny root partition.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:57 am
by Moem
gittiest personITW wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:43 am
Completely agree - the software could be improved upon. All software can be improved upon.
Have you made a suggestion to teejee software?
I would, if I had some concrete and constructive suggestions. 'Make it better' by itself doesn't really help.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:10 am
by AndyMH
Timeshift has saved my butt so many times that I feel it should be defended pretty much unconditionally
Completely agree and likewise. But if the default is to save into the root partition, then that is bad. I always setup timeshift to backup to a separate drive, but then I don't think I'm a newbie anymore :wink:

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:19 am
by trytip
computers and programs are mindless machines. humans have to make decisions for them. been using Timeshift and restored quite a lot of hiccups, but never did it fill me drive because i'm in charge of backups not timeshift. although if you want to fix something, you'd should be posting this minor inconvenience at the developer issue page not here.

5 freaking backups a day? you didn't once think that was too much. first thing i always do in any application is disable scheduling. i make a backup when needed, like before updates or doing major installing.

and each month after i'm satisfied with the system, i delete all snapshots and start fresh.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:35 am
by gm10
trytip wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:19 am
5 freaking backups a day? you didn't once think that was too much. first thing i always do in any application is disable scheduling. i make a backup when needed, like before updates or doing major installing.
Same. There's no reason to create a scheduled snapshot when you're not changing anything with the system. I'm usually only using my Update Manager's functionality to create a snapshot right before updates, and only when it's updates I know could be problematic.

Still, in his case the amount of snapshots isn't really the problem, it's the too small partition he's storing them to.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:47 am
by gittiest personITW
AndyMH wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 8:10 am
Timeshift has saved my butt so many times that I feel it should be defended pretty much unconditionally
Completely agree and likewise. But if the default is to save into the root partition, then that is bad. I always setup timeshift to backup to a separate drive, but then I don't think I'm a newbie anymore :wink:
Up till a couple of weeks ago I had TS backing up a ridiculous amount of times per day - but I was still tinkering and screwing up.
Now it is a working system - no more tinkering for now on this system, so TS has been only doing boot and daily, the odd On Demand before a kernel update - just in case.
Gone from 100GB of TS files to about 50GB - which is fine as it is using a separate drive.

Re - improving the software - yes - it does need constructive ideas. I am ok with how it works and think its cheeky to go "I want ....." all the time.
If I thought I had good ideas I would contact Teejee.
The OP thinks that they have good ideas, so go for it.
All good.
Am a bit addicted to this forum all told.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:47 am
by AndyMH
but I was still tinkering and screwing up.
Been there, done it, and got the teeshirt - looking a bit frayed now :)

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:58 am
by yekim54
trytip wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:19 am
5 freaking backups a day? you didn't once think that was too much.
I'm trying to understand why you think the OP was doing "5 freaking backups a day". I may be wrong, but the way I read his TimeShift schedule, he was doing one backup per day and keeping the 5 most recent backups on his disk.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 7:50 am
by cliffcoggin
yekim54 wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 10:58 am
trytip wrote:
Fri Jul 05, 2019 9:19 am
5 freaking backups a day? you didn't once think that was too much.
I'm trying to understand why you think the OP was doing "5 freaking backups a day". I may be wrong, but the way I read his TimeShift schedule, he was doing one backup per day and keeping the 5 most recent backups on his disk.
A good point Yekim. Nevertheless it still totalled a mere 5 snapshots being retained. A trivial number if stored in a suitably sized location.

Personally my schedule is 3 daily, 2 weekly, and 2 monthly. That's probably excessive but as I have loads of storage I can't be bothered to change it.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:15 am
by rjsrjs
I put Timeshift backups on a 1 tb external USB HDD via on demand method. I don't use any Timeshift scheduled backup for the very reason you are experiencing. I only have a 180 GB SSD drive (Already down to 120 GB free space) and have to be careful what I put on it. Either cut down on your Timeshift schedule backups or don't use scheduling at all. Only problem with Timeshift is the drive you put your backups on have to be formatted in Linux format, Ext4, Ext3, Ext2 ETC. I use partitions of 100 MB formatted to Ext 4 to put my Timeshift backups on. 8)
Good luck.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:28 am
by AndyMH
On all my laptops and desktop I've got timeshift (and backintime) running automatically to a separate internal (but removable) HDD (cheap - 5400rpm), sizes vary from 500G to 2TB.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 8:45 am
by smgordon1259
my timeshift is set for once a month and if needed I do one manually. Then I remove the old timeshift file. no issues here but then again my root is 60gb

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:07 am
by cliffcoggin
warpz0ne wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 5:43 pm

It could be worded like "Allow Timeshift to run until xGB free space remains for the selected snapshot partition."
But that's precisely what is displayed. The bottom line of your screenshot reads to the effect that snapshots will be created if there is more than 1GB of space.

Re: Timeshift borked my system (LM19.1 Cinnamon)

Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 3:22 pm
by Flemur
warpz0ne wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:50 pm
This is something I'm pretty sure I never messed with.
The filling-disk-with-backups-then-it-wont-boot problem has been mentioned here fairly frequently. Can't you change the settings which define where it saves backups? (I use grsync).