SOLVED - TimeShift - what does it save? - With Instructions to a Newbie as to how to do it in the last post...

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SOLVED - TimeShift - what does it save? - With Instructions to a Newbie as to how to do it in the last post...

Post by AZgl1500 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:02 am

I finally have my laptop configured and every thing works the way it should.

This battle has been lasting for weeks....

Now, I want to back it all up.
A full image backup is one way, but is there a Linux method that can save everything that it takes to make the full package work in case of a crash?

  • Printer Configurations
    WiFi Drivers for all installed cards/USB adapters


These two items are the ones that have driven me to insanity trying to make it all work...
Now that it does, I want to guarantee I can restore things back to the way they are now...

I want it all backed up to an External USB HDD for posterity, just like I do with Windows using Macrium Reflect.

Open for suggestions....
TYIA
Last edited by AZgl1500 on Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by Marziano » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:25 am

Hi AZgl1500,

This http://www.teejeetech.in/p/timeshift.html is a good place to start, if you already haven't taken a look at it.
This is another http://www.linuxandubuntu.com/home/time ... ool-review

If you want to clone your whole system and keep it as backup then probably Clonezilla can be a good tool to consider.
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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by AZgl1500 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:41 am

I was reading up on Clonezilla last night as I fell asleep....

Sleepy time is not the time to be trying to do something that deep.

What I want is to create a bootable USB flash drive, and then make a hard Metal deep image clone of the laptop as it is now.
I have had, over the past 40 years, too many "aw crap" moments and know the value of being able to recreate your PC back to the "way it was" before the big crash.

I am impressed that Clonezilla can back up only the active sectors.... making it feasible to move to a larger HDD.

I will read both of those links and study them hard.
TY
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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by AZgl1500 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:00 pm

The problem I see with Timeshift is the total lack of documentation as to "what was changed",
or is "Every thing working perfect now?"

at the time of each snapshot: that is why I set it to Manual Mode Only....
that way, I can take note of the TimeStamp and write up a written note to myself in a notebook.

So, how do we determine what is inside each Snapshot?

and, if I delete one of the earlier Snapshots, does that break the validity of the ones made later?
IE, are they strictly incremental if in Auto Mode?
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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by AndyMH » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:56 pm

I take a 'belt and braces' approach with three programs for backup:
  • REDO for system images - got it on a bootable 1TB USB HDD. Run this about once a month to take images of / and /home (separate partitions).
    Timeshift - backing up / on a daily basis (using the defaults which excludes a number of folders, e.g. /media).
    Backintime - backing up /home on a daily basis (everything including hidden files).
I'm a recent convert to Timeshift and Backintime (both are running rsync), before I was running rysnc from my own scripts.

I've had to 'test' REDO on several occasions when I've managed to mangle my system. Have used rsync to retrieve individual files that I've deleted or changed in ways not wanted.

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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by Cosmo. » Tue Feb 06, 2018 3:42 pm

AZgl1500 wrote:The problem I see with Timeshift is the total lack of documentation as to "what was changed",
or is "Every thing working perfect now?"
You can open from the menu icon (top right) the logs.
AZgl1500 wrote:that way, I can take note of the TimeStamp and write up a written note to myself in a notebook.
You can double click the right most column (comments" and write there a note.
AZgl1500 wrote:So, how do we determine what is inside each Snapshot?
The complete system (without user's home). But: Assume, that a file, that had been already backed up in a previous snapshot, does exist with the same content, TS does not copy it again, but creates a hard link (in between the snapshots folder). Assume, this file exists in 5 snapshots, it will have 5 hard links. By doing this TS saves space. Otherwise you would need for 5 snapshots the amount of 5 systems. Even the biggest drive would end with thiis sooner or later without any space. Actually from one snapshot to another (let us assume daily snapshots) only a small minority of the files get altered, so the following snapshots fill only a fraction of space in comparison of the first snapshot.
AZgl1500 wrote:and, if I delete one of the earlier Snapshots, does that break the validity of the ones made later?
No. If a snapshot gets deleted and a file inside is unique between the other snapshots, than this file gets deleted (obviously). If the file has several hard links (example above), than simply the number of hard links get reduced. Only if the last hard link gets deleted - what means, this file does not exist with the very same content in any other snapshot -, than the file will actually get deleted from the snapshots. - To repeat: No older or newer snapshots get broken, when you delete one of them.

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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by AZgl1500 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:07 pm

Cosmo. »


Thank you very much for that Explicit Explanation.

That leads up to my next question, but am wondering if it should be a new thread?

I have a 6 TB Seagate USB HDD that I bought for backing up "everything I own", and in the back of my mind when it arrived in the mailbox, I thought it should be partitioned before I start putting stuff on it.... but, my daughter's laptop crashed and I had to get her a new one and installed new software on it.... That meant to me, that I need Backups of it in the OEM condition right now before it gets messed with.... and yup, I started loading stuff on that new drive.

Can I repartition the open space on it without loosing any of the existing files that are there?


Image


Image


Image


Image



If I understand this last message correctly, if I repartition that drive now, everything on it currently will be lost?
That confuses me a bit, because when I installed Linux Mint the first time, I was able to repartition the HDD and retain Windows as a separate partition and run Linux also.

That condition no longer exists, as I got more familiar with Linux, I did a fresh install of Mint and wiped out the whole drive and now only Linux is on this laptop.....

I want to make a Clonezilla or other type of total Image Backup as a insurance policy in case this laptop crashes.
I have way too many hours invested tuning this thing to the point that I want it to risk not being to put it back like it is today.
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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by Cosmo. » Tue Feb 06, 2018 4:47 pm

AZgl1500 wrote:I need Backups of it in the OEM condition
What do you mean with this expression, I don't understand?


Regarding to the question about the 6 TB drive. You confuse me there also.
The first picture shows a 6 TB drive, which is filled at less than 10 %. It does not show the file system of the drive.

The second picture shows also a 6 TB drive (the same?), but with 500 GB ext4 formatted partition, obviously selected for TS snapshots.
What I do not understand: If both are the same 6 TB drive and there exists a 0.5 TB ext4 partition, how can there be another 6 TB partition as to be seen in picture 1?

To make my confusion complete there is a drive in picture 3, which has only a MS reserved partition and a NTFS partition (size unknown); no ext4 partition to be seen. So this cannot be the same drive and I do not understand, on which drive you want to do any changes.

So I can give only some general answer: Partitions can get resized; you can use gparted for that. But you have to note 2 things:
1. There must be enough free unused space inside of the partition, which you want to make smaller.
2. This is a type of operation, which can be destructive. Assume a sudden power loss and everything might get inaccessible. So resizing should only be done, if there exist backups for the content of the drive. Be also prepared, that this operation may take hours - dependent from the amount of data on the drive.

Picture 4 means, that the partition on sdb2 is currently mounted. You need to unmount it, before you can do anything with it.
Picture 4 tells me also, that you tried t create a new partition table. Note, that there is nothing left on the complete drive afterwards!

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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by AZgl1500 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 5:52 pm

AZgl1500 wrote:I need Backups of it in the OEM condition
What do you mean with this expression, I don't understand?

What I meant, is that I made a full Image of the daughter’s laptop with Windows Macrium Reflect, so that Seagate USB HDD already has a lot of stuff on it.... and it is totally a NTFS file format, direct from Seagate.

Regarding to the question about the 6 TB drive. You confuse me there also.
The first picture shows a 6 TB drive, which is filled at less than 10 %. It does not show the file system of the drive.

All of the pictures refer to the Seagate USB HDD, and yes, it currently only has about < 10% of used space on it.


The second picture shows also a 6 TB drive (the same?), but with 500 GB ext4 formatted partition, obviously selected for TS snapshots.
I have not formatted it at all, the 500 gB is data from Image backups of PCs and direct FileFolder to FileFolder copies to that USB HDD. There are NO ext4 partitions on the Seagate USB HDD


What I do not understand: If both are the same 6 TB drive and there exists a 0.5 TB ext4 partition, how can there be another 6 TB partition as to be seen in picture 1?
The Seagate There is NO ext4 partition on the Seagate drive, that is the Toshiba internal HDD for this laptop. The highlighted drive is the one that I want to partition.

Image



To make my confusion complete there is a drive in picture 3, which has only a MS reserved partition and a NTFS partition (size unknown); no ext4 partition to be seen. So this cannot be the same drive and I do not understand, on which drive you want to do any changes.

That is the Seagate drive, the one I want to create a Linux partition on. the MS reserved partition was already on the drive when I got it from the box. I have no clue what they intended it to be used for, I have never, ever, used the Seagate method of backups. I always use the USB drives with a different backup utility.


Now below, is I think what I need to know. You are saying that I can repartition it, but to stay away from "Creating a Partition Table?

So I can give only some general answer: Partitions can get resized; you can use gparted for that. But you have to note 2 things:
1. There must be enough free unused space inside of the partition, which you want to make smaller.
2. This is a type of operation, which can be destructive. Assume a sudden power loss and everything might get inaccessible. So resizing should only be done, if there exist backups for the content of the drive. Be also prepared, that this operation may take hours - dependent from the amount of data on the drive.

Picture 4 means, that the partition on sdb2 is currently mounted. You need to unmount it, before you can do anything with it.
Picture 4 tells me also, that you tried t create a new partition table. Note, that there is nothing left on the complete drive afterwards!

From what you just said, I think that I can partition the remaining 5.6 TB into a Linux partition and leave part of it as the original NTFS partition? That is what I want to do. I would like to end up with roughly a 2 TB NTFS partition for the Windows only stuff ( containing what is on it now ), and a 4 TB partition for me to have full Image clones, and Folder to Folder data copies onto the Seagate USB HDD for my Linux work.


In this picture, the NTFS partition is the one that I have been referring to.
I wish to make it a 2 TB NTFS, and a 4 TB Linux partition. Gparted shows it labelled as "Seagate"


Image
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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by Cosmo. » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:39 pm

I think I got it now (at least I hope so).

At first I recommend that you use at first a Windows system to defrag the ntfs partition.
Now you can reduce the size with gparted. (But reread my warning in the previous post.) If the partition is mounted, you need to unmount. You can do this from the right click menu for this partition in gparted, Now select the command (right click menu or main menu or toolbar) to change the size. Drag in the following window the right edge to reduce the size - or fill in the wanted values in the respective fields. Doing this you have told gparted, what you want to do, until this point there is actually no change on the drive. For doing the change you have to click the right most icon in the toolbar - or the last command in the edit menu. Now be patient. You should disable the power management completely to prevent it jumping in during the process; it could end in a disaster.

If this is done you will find free, unused space on the right of the reduced ntfs partition. Here you can create a new partition, select there ext4 as file system. Again click the last icon to apply this change (this will be rather quick).

Done.

As it is so important I repeat: Do not create a new partition table, it will end with a complete loss of all content! As this is a 6 TB drive you will already have the optimal partition table, namely GPT. You can see this if you open from the view menu the device information.

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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by AZgl1500 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:55 pm

again,

thank you so much for your Explicit explanations.

I now feel more confident in going forward, and just reducing the NTFS partition to a 2 TB size.

That will give me twice the space I used to have on previous Microsoft backup USB HDD drives anyway.

I will verify that Power Management is turned off: I think I have it that way already, as this laptop crashes when it goes into Suspend or Hibernate. I have gotten into the habit of just powering it off when I don't need it.


Here I wish to comment that the response to my questions has been extremely helpful, and I am really liking this forum, and my choice of going with Linux Mint Cinnamon.... Previously have had 17.1 and 17.2, and now all three of the 18.x versions.

This time though, I have a new laptop, the ASUS TP500L we have been referring to, and it does not have an internal DVD optical drive... and that caused me a lot of anguish, and Microsoft's penchant for Secure Boot was ignoring an external USB optical drive at first, took me a long time to figure out how to kill that vermin.
Many kudos to you and the rest of the forum members for helping me.

So, my Linux education has been pretty intense with all of the problems I have been running into, ref: WiFi drivers, Printer drivers, external optical drives: none of which would work for me out of the box.

I will report back with my success after it is all done.

Thanks,
John
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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by Cosmo. » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:01 pm

Here comes a bonus tip:
Right click the panel on an empty place and select to add a panel. Now select the inhibit applet to the panel. If you now click the applet it opens a menu. The first command is for blocking the power management completely. It also indicates this status by a red overlay-icon. As long as you see this you can be sure, that no screenlocker, screensaver or suspending will jump in.

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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by AZgl1500 » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:58 pm

Cosmo. wrote:Here comes a bonus tip:
Right click the panel on an empty place and select to add a panel. Now select the inhibit applet to the panel. If you now click the applet it opens a menu. The first command is for blocking the power management completely. It also indicates this status by a red overlay-icon. As long as you see this you can be sure, that no screenlocker, screensaver or suspending will jump in.

I am having trouble making this work.
I have right clicked on every available spot in Gparted and "Select add a panel" is not an option..

I tried to show with screenshots what shows up in the various positions, but Screenshot not work when Gparted has an option menu up...

Am I using the current version of Gparted? I just downloaded it today from Software Manager.



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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by Cosmo. » Wed Feb 07, 2018 5:56 am

You misread. I wrote: Right click the panel, that is the panel of Cinnamon.

And I mistyped: I wrote to select to add a panel. It should read: add an applet. Sorry.

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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by AZgl1500 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:27 am

Okay,

will go back and redo that experiment............. uh, turns out I had done that already, that is how I accessed the settings. :D

meanwhile, I bought a flash drive and decided to experiment with that first, before I repartition the big 6 TB drive.

I believe I have figured that much out at least now.

I have Power Management set to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER..... including the battery section....
that just in case the power cord got pulled out... which has happened a few times....
luckily, this laptop has a 7 hour battery life.

.
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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by Marziano » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:37 am

Looks good!
:D
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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by nakednorman » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:20 am

I want it all backed up to an External USB HDD for posterity, just like I do with Windows using Macrium Reflect.
If your Windows system and your Linux system are connected, then just carry on using Macrium.
I use Macrium in Windows10 to image my Mint 18.3 disk to the same external drive as I use for my Windows backups - just make a separate folder for ease of use. It works without problems and saved me a lot of hassle when I broke my Linux system on a regular basis in the early days.
NN

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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by AZgl1500 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:43 pm

nakednorman wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:20 am
I want it all backed up to an External USB HDD for posterity, just like I do with Windows using Macrium Reflect.
If your Windows system and your Linux system are connected, then just carry on using Macrium.
I use Macrium in Windows10 to image my Mint 18.3 disk to the same external drive as I use for my Windows backups - just make a separate folder for ease of use. It works without problems and saved me a lot of hassle when I broke my Linux system on a regular basis in the early days.
NN
That would be easier to do.
The Win7 is a separate Gateway Desktop PC in my office.

This laptop: ASUS TP500L resides on my Recliner: LOL
the only connection between the two is the WiFi router.

I am now trying to make the USB flash Drive a bootable Clonezilla....
So far, the instructions to do that imply they will show you how, but they only talk about how to make an ISO CD...
and then they quit....

I am a bit irked at the Taiwan folks for not following thru with their install document.

I have the FlashDrive set up now with two partitions,
a FAT32 partition named "Clonezilla"
a NTSF partition named "DATA" ( reserved for future use to move files around between PCs )

Image



the TAR file unpacked into the Clonezilla partition okay, but I don't think that it created a bootable FlashDrive.
I was never asked, or shown how to create the MBR.

Image



I had hoped to be able to create this FlashDrive with Linux, but the instructions are so vague, that I think that going to the Windows PC and doing it from there will be easier.... Been up all night, very sleepy, going to take a nap and see what progress I have made if any.


ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz back in a bit, gotta take a nap.
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Re: SystemBack - what does it save?

Post by Pierre » Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:59 pm

another approach is to use "SystemBack" - - which uses 'Restore Points':
https://www.ostechnix.com/systemback-re ... ous-state/
Note: that both TimeShift & SystemBack will create a Very Large File :!:
- both can be pointed to another, larger partition / drive - if deemed necessary.
Image
Please edit your original post title to include [SOLVED] - when your problem is solved!
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Re: TimeShift - what does it save?

Post by AZgl1500 » Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:37 pm

Pierre wrote:
Wed Feb 07, 2018 10:59 pm
another approach is to use "SystemBack" - - which uses 'Restore Points':
https://www.ostechnix.com/systemback-re ... ous-state/
Note: that both TimeShift & SystemBack will create a Very Large File :!:
- both can be pointed to another, larger partition / drive - if deemed necessary.
This looks to be very powerful, and at first glance I thought it would negate me having to repartition my USB extSeagate HDD

I set it up and it accepted the assignment to store the backup file to the Seagate, and it went through all the motions.

Image



But, when it was done, I cannot find where it did anything at all. In fact, looking again at the main screen it is still showing "Create New" as the only active option....

Image

an uh oh happened, I was looking at everything it can do, and discovered the "hard way" the button labelled "System Upgrade" does not ask "Are you sure?"

It just took off an ran, right now... I thought "aw crapola" what have I done now.....
but I left it alone afraid to scramble my laptop.


So, wondering just what really happened, I started looking at what SystemBack "thinks happened"

Image

When I look inside of the USB Seagate HDD there is nothing new there at all, especially anything that looks like a backup file.

So, does this mean that all storage locations you point it to, must be a Linux type format?
and if so, what format should I choose for the USB drive when I shrink the NTFS partition, and make a new one solely for Linux to use?
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