TimShift and external drives

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72Cuda
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TimShift and external drives

Post by 72Cuda » Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:38 pm

Two part question.
1. Do external hard drives need to be formated to ext4 etc. to work with TimeShift?
2. My intent is to connect an external drive from time to time for backups and TimeShift. So it will not be connected all the time. Can this be done as I would not set up a schedule or would this cause TimeShift to create full backups everytime?

Mattyboy
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by Mattyboy » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:01 pm

Yeah you would need to format in ext4. A partition of around 60GB for about 5 snapshots would be enough. You can schedule how often in makes one, day, week, hour etc but, it doesn't appear, when it actually runs the process. Maybe 10 mins after first boot? dunno. So the 'problem' is the drive needs to be plugged in all the time.

This maybe is not practical, laptop for example, so the best thing to do would be to pipe the snapshots to a partition on your main drive then manually back that up when you plug in your device. Or if you're using a desktop with another internal drive or permanently connected USB you can edit fstab the make a permanent mount, the /mnt folder for example, and it'll just run in the background without maintenance. That's how I do it anyway, works flawlessly.

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Terryphi
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by Terryphi » Wed Jan 17, 2018 4:08 am

72Cuda wrote: 2. My intent is to connect an external drive from time to time for backups and TimeShift. So it will not be connected all the time. Can this be done as I would not set up a schedule or would this cause TimeShift to create full backups everytime?
No, Timeshift will not create a full backup every time if you use an external drive. Using rsync after the first backup the subsequent ones capture any new changes.
Version: LM 18.3 64bit Mate

72Cuda
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by 72Cuda » Wed Jan 17, 2018 11:42 pm

Thank you for the replies. That answers my questions.

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michael louwe
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by michael louwe » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:06 am

@ 72Cuda, .......
72Cuda wrote:Two part question.
1. Do external hard drives need to be formated to ext4 etc. to work with TimeShift?
2. My intent is to connect an external drive from time to time for backups and TimeShift. So it will not be connected all the time. Can this be done as I would not set up a schedule or would this cause TimeShift to create full backups everytime?
.
To create the 1st snapshot, either manually or scheduled automatically, Timeshift took about 12 minutes and 5GB of disk space. To create the 2nd incremental snapshot, Timeshift took only 1 minute(= to scan for changes to the system) and minimal disk space. So, 5 stored snapshots or restore points will not exceed 10GB.

Question 1 = The hard drive you want to use as a backup device must have one of the following filesystems: ext2/3/4, reiserfs, reiser4, xfs, jfs, btrfs, luks = auto-detected by Timeshift as a backup device.

Whether you can do Question 2 can be confirmed by testing it yourself since Timeshift settings can be changed. I think you likely can, ie connect an external drive from time to time for backups and snapshots(TimeShift), while not setting a schedule = create snapshots manually.(= would this cause TimeShift to create full backups everytime.?)

Try this; ...
1. On initial setup of Timeshift, plug in the external hard-drive, set Timeshift to store snapshots on the external hard-drive, to non-schedule and manually create your 1st snapshot on the external hard-drive.
2. Reset Timeshift to store snapshots on the internal hard-drive and unplug the external hard-drive.
3. Sometime later, when you want to create another snapshot, plug in the external hard-drive, reset Timeshift to store snapshots on the external hard-drive and manually create the 2nd snapshot on the external hard-drive. Repeat Step 2. Check whether the 2nd snapshot is incremental.

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Terryphi
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by Terryphi » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:10 am

michael louwe wrote: Try this; ...
1. On initial setup of Timeshift, plug in the external hard-drive, set Timeshift to store snapshots on the external hard-drive, to non-schedule and manually create your 1st snapshot on the external hard-drive.
2. Reset Timeshift to store snapshots on the internal hard-drive and unplug the external hard-drive.
3. Sometime later, when you want to create another snapshot, plug in the external hard-drive, reset Timeshift to store snapshots on the external hard-drive and manually create the 2nd snapshot on the external hard-drive. Repeat Step 2. Check whether the 2nd snapshot is incremental.
I have done this and can confirm that the 2nd snapshot is incremental.
Version: LM 18.3 64bit Mate

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michael louwe
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by michael louwe » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:18 am

@ Terryphi, .......
Terryphi wrote:...
.
The next question is restoring from the external hard-drive in the above trial case.
... If the LM system is running OK, there will be no problem using Timeshift to restore from the external hard-drive, ie by plugging in the external hard-drive and changing the Timeshift settings. But if the LM system has borked or becomes unbootable, eg by a kernel update, can we use the Live LM USB/DVD and Timeshift to restore from the external hard-drive.? I have a feeling we can.
Last edited by michael louwe on Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

tho9504
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by tho9504 » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:19 am

While we're on the subject of TimeShift, i wanted to ask how to retrieve in case of system failure. Recently, i messed up by deleting python3 using terminal not know Python is integral to Linux Mint. I was not able to boot back in after than. So, i installed a fresh mint 18.3 from scratch overriding 18.2 that was previously installed. I did not do a backup before.
But after the fresh install, i am using TimeShift to backup ever 3 or 4 days. But the backup is in my harddrive rather than external drive.

1) So my question is if i accidently delete some critical component and i cannot get mint back, how do i get the backup?
2) If i install fresh copy of Mint 18.3 from live USB, where do i look for backup copies.
3) Does TimeShift backup stuff we downloaded? I downloaded PyCharm python idle and Anaconda for python. Do i have to re-install them before retrieving data from backup?


Sorry for all the noob questions, Been using mint for over 6 months but don't have technical background and never retrieved anything from a backup before. so just wanted to see how it would be done incase of an emergency.

I know there is a "backup Tool" also in the menu, which i used as well. I was able to save that to an external drive as ".tar" file. Is this same as timeshift?

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Terryphi
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by Terryphi » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:43 am

michael louwe wrote:@ Terryphi, .......
Terryphi wrote:...
.
The next question is restoring from the external hard-drive in the above trial case.
... If the LM system is running OK, there will be no problem using Timeshift to restore from the external hard-drive, ie by plugging in the external hard-drive and changing the Timeshift settings. But if the LM system has borked or becomes unbootable, eg by a kernel update, can we use the Live LM USB/DVD and Timeshift to restore from the external hard-drive.? I have a feeling we can.
See the Timeshift project notes https://github.com/teejee2008/timeshift.
See this line in Known Issues:
If you are restoring from Live CD/USB, and your installed system uses EFI mode, then you must boot from Live CD/USB in EFI mode.
This seems critical. How does one boot from Live CD/USB in EFI mode?
Version: LM 18.3 64bit Mate

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michael louwe
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by michael louwe » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:50 am

@ tho9504, .......
tho9504 wrote:...
.
1) So my question is if i accidently delete some critical component and i cannot get mint back, how do i get the backup?
Normally, for an unbootable or borked LM system, Timeshift can also be used from a Live LM USB/DVD to auto-detect and restore from a snapshot that is stored in the internal or external hard-drive, ie by pointing Timeshift to the appropriate Root or / partition for restoration.
... Please refer to this link on how to restore with Timeshift ... ... https://itsfoss.com/backup-restore-linux-timeshift/
http://www.linuxandubuntu.com/home/time ... ool-review
.
2) If i install fresh copy of Mint 18.3 from live USB, where do i look for backup copies.
I do not think you can do this because Timeshift takes snapshots of and restores the same installed LM 18.3 system, ie it should not be able to restore a previous LM 18.3 system to a freshly installed LM 18.3 system. Maybe, you can do such a test.
.
3) Does TimeShift backup stuff we downloaded? I downloaded PyCharm python idle and Anaconda for python. Do i have to re-install them before retrieving data from backup?
Timeshift is very much like Windows System Restore. If you had taken a Timeshift snapshot(or restore point) of your LM 18.3 system with PyCharm and Anaconda installed and then restore your present (eg broken) system with that specific snapshot of your past (eg non-broken) system, then you do not have to reinstall PyCharm and Anaconda after the system restoration.
I know there is a "backup Tool" also in the menu, which i used as well. I was able to save that to an external drive as ".tar" file. Is this same as timeshift?
The LM built-in Backup Tool only backs up your data/files and programs/apps, ie not your LM system(= the Root or / partition).
... '.tar' files are compressed files and will need to be extracted or decompressed when restored or retrieved.
Last edited by michael louwe on Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:09 am, edited 2 times in total.

Mattyboy
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by Mattyboy » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:00 am

michael louwe wrote:@ Terryphi, .......
Terryphi wrote:...
.
The next question is restoring from the external hard-drive in the above trial case.
... If the LM system is running OK, there will be no problem using Timeshift to restore from the external hard-drive, ie by plugging in the external hard-drive and changing the Timeshift settings. But if the LM system has borked or becomes unbootable, eg by a kernel update, can we use the Live LM USB/DVD and Timeshift to restore from the external hard-drive.? I have a feeling we can.
I can confirm that this is possible, with ease, just point time shift to the drive file from a live boot. I've even used it to 'set' up another computer with a fresh install ( just remove Graphics drivers before making a snapshot ).

Worst case scenario do a fresh install then restore from a snap shot. Obviously this won't restore your personal files but you should be backing them up regularly anyway.

Timeshift is pretty great actually.

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michael louwe
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by michael louwe » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:01 am

@ Terryphi, .......
Terryphi wrote:See this line in Known Issues:
If you are restoring from Live CD/USB, and your installed system uses EFI mode, then you must boot from Live CD/USB in EFI mode.
This seems critical. How does one boot from Live CD/USB in EFI mode?
In BIOS setup's Boot Order menu, users will be given the option to boot the Live LM USB/DVD in UEFI mode or Legacy BIOS mode = will install LM in that mode. The LM ISO file has dual UEFI and Legacy BIOS modes.
... But if you use the Rufus program for Windows to create the Live LM USB, Rufus will give you the option to create it in UEFI/GPT mode or Legacy BIOS/MBR mode. Other similar programs don't do this, eg Universal USB Installer, USB Image Writer, Etcher, etc.

System restoration with Timeshift should following according to the appropriate modes, ie a UEFI system is restored by a snapshot of the UEFI system, and not by a snapshot of a Legacy BIOS system. If a LM system has been installed in UEFI mode, the Live LM USB/DVD should be booted in UEFI mode, in order for Timeshift to be able to restore the UEFI system.

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michael louwe
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by michael louwe » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:18 am

@ Mattyboy, .......
Mattyboy wrote:...
.
Thanks for the info.

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Terryphi
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Re: TimShift and external drives

Post by Terryphi » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:18 pm

The developer of Timeshift gave me this clarification about how to boot the Live CD/USB in UEFI mode if required :

"You have to go into the UEFI boot menu when your PC starts by pressing F12 or Delete key. Under the boot devices menu, it will have options for booting in both BIOS and UEFI mode."
Version: LM 18.3 64bit Mate

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