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Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:43 pm
by neckenth
Hi everyone -

I know there are a bunch of questions on here regarding disk space and Timeshift, but I feel as though disk space issues can be pretty individualized, so - as a total novice - I wanted to check in before I break anything.

I am running Linux Mint 18.3 dual booted onto a Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 260 - 8 GiB of RAM. I really only use this computer for programming and regular internet stuff - I don't make a ton of system configuration changes at this point (not since I first set it up in March and a few periodic changes and updates since then). I have Timeshift running backups, and until recently, my Schedule was set to keep 5 daily backups and 5 boot backups. This is clearly far too much since I rarely make system changes, so I changed the settings to just keep 1 daily and 1 boot.

Also, when I initially set up this system, I wanted to install Spotify, and I did so via snap, which was pretty unnecessary.

Timeshift seems to be wreaking havoc on my disk space, and snap is saving things to /dev/loop devices. Really unclear what that is all about. (See attached screenshots.)

A few questions:

1 - Is it safe to delete old Timeshift backups? Since these are incremental backups, I imagine that deleting an older backup but keeping a new one would leave me missing things. I clearly have too many, and the only sizeable ones are the one from today (10/20) and the one from 3/5. It would be great if I could free up some space there, but I'm not sure what's safe. Can I just make a backup today and save it to a USB stick and delete at least the old backups?

2 - Since I installed snap just to install Spotify, can I uninstall Spotify and snap (sudo apt autoremove --purge snapd)? Or is it critical for my setup at this point...not sure what the deal is with snap core, to be honest.

Thanks so much for your patience with my beginner questions, and I appreciate any advice in advance!

Re: Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:56 pm
by gm10
You can safely remove any Timeshift snapshot, they are not technically incremental despite what it claims. Personally I only do weekly scheduled snapshots - there is no right answer, it comes down to your needs.

You can safely remove snapd if you do not need it anymore.

Re: Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:47 pm
by martinch
I don't believe Timeshift backups are incremental - on a machine with no changes made during the last week, the daily Timeshift backups (default settings) are 10GB each.

Re: Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:52 pm
by gm10
martinch wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:47 pm
I don't believe Timeshift backups are incremental - on a machine with no changes made during the last week, the daily Timeshift backups (default settings) are 10GB each.
Timeshift uses hardlinks for unchanged files, i.e. the same unchanged file will appear in each snapshot but only take up disk space once. If your total disk space usage did actually increase by 10 GB with each snapshot then there's a misconfiguration in the filters.

Re: Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:09 pm
by AZgl1500
neckenth wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:43 pm
A few questions:

1 - Is it safe to delete old Timeshift backups? Since these are incremental backups, I imagine that deleting an older backup but keeping a new one would leave me missing things. I clearly have too many, and the only sizeable ones are the one from today (10/20) and the one from 3/5. It would be great if I could free up some space there, but I'm not sure what's safe. Can I just make a backup today and save it to a USB stick and delete at least the old backups?
You can, if you wish, save all of the Timeshift backups to a separate USB stick/HDD
I do that for several different laptops. Just label the stick for the individual PC, as Timeshift always saves to /root and does not differentiate between different PCs or OSs


My Timeshift folder on the backup drive has not changed in total size very much since I first started using it.
I make a few manual backups, and have the daily backups auto-delete after 3 copies. YMMV, but it works for me.

this is what my Backup drive looks like

Backup.png

Re: Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 4:46 pm
by neckenth
Wow thank you all so much for your help so far!

What I'd like to do is change my backup location to my USB stick, which I was successfully able to do earlier this year.

However, when I try to switch the location, I get a message that the drive does not have a Linux partition, so I can't select it (see attached image). Somehow, I was able to do this in the past, so I'm not really sure how to circumvent this.

Any advice?

Re: Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:08 pm
by gm10
As it says in your screenshot, "Devices with Windows file systems are not supported (NTFS, FAT, etc.)."
Solution: Format with a Linux file system:

Code: Select all

sudo mkfs.ext2 /dev/sdb1

Re: Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:16 pm
by neckenth
Yeah - I reformatted it. I was just surprised - there were already system backups on there, so I assumed it was already properly formatted - pretty strange.

Thanks for all the help! Going to delete the old backups from my system, and hopefully I'll free up some space.

Re: Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:29 pm
by neckenth
Wow, huge difference! Thanks again!

Re: Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:00 am
by smellydog
gm10 wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:52 pm
martinch wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:47 pm
I don't believe Timeshift backups are incremental - on a machine with no changes made during the last week, the daily Timeshift backups (default settings) are 10GB each.
Timeshift uses hardlinks for unchanged files, i.e. the same unchanged file will appear in each snapshot but only take up disk space once. If your total disk space usage did actually increase by 10 GB with each snapshot then there's a misconfiguration in the filters.
Just want to point out a possible common cause of this particular issue: A custom-named 8GB swap file.

Re: Low on Disk Space - questions about Timeshift and snap

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:05 am
by gm10
smellydog wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:00 am
Just want to point out a possible common cause of this particular issue: A custom-named 8GB swap file.
Good point, although we could argue the "common" - I don't think the average Mint user would begin to know how to create a custom swap file. But good point.