[SOLVED] Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

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Pjotr
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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by Pjotr »

pbear wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 2:21 pm
Pjotr wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 12:02 pm
pbear wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 10:30 am
the number of snapshots is trivial.
Not when you've got some frequently updating Flatpaks installed. :wink:
That's FUD. At most, a footnote and easily handled. Nor have I noticed this problem reported on the Forum, much less often.

Whereas we see lots of folks who get into trouble and can't get out because they didn't set up Timeshift.

By the way, nothing wrong with manual snapshots, if one has the discipline to do them regularly. Most people don't.
Not FUD, but fact. I recall several reports on this forum from people who got into trouble by Timeshift disk usage getting out of hand. Too lazy to dig 'em up for you, but they were there. In these cases I suspect the ballooning effect of frequently updated Flatpaks.

I repeat: I think Timeshift is a fine tool. But a low maximum of e.g. two snapshots, with an automated monthly interval, will prevent almost all potential disk space problems. Whilst still offering the essential system restore safety.

The officially recommended amount of snapshot creation and retention makes no sense to me. Too risky.
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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by JerryF »

erikjan wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 3:55 am
Dear Kobalt,

at the introduction of Timshift I got the same problem. Since then I remove Timeshift at every new installation. I can understand that such a program is useful for Windows. For Linux Mint it is quite superfluous.
I disagree. When an update or newly-installed program botches the system, Timeshift can be a time saver.
erikjan wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 3:55 am
Just make a backup on an external hard drives regularly of your data. The system itself has been rocksolid all the years since I removed Windows. And if something should impair your system, just install it again.
...
I hear this a lot---just install it again. It takes hours and sometimes days to get your system back to the way it was.
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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by pbear »

Pjotr wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 3:00 pm
Not FUD, but fact. I recall several reports on this forum from people who got into trouble by Timeshift disk usage getting out of hand. Too lazy to dig 'em up for you, but they were there. In these cases I suspect the ballooning effect of frequently updated Flatpaks.
So I do the obvious thing and run a Forum search, planning to look at the last six months. Nothing, except a chat thread where you made the same claim. (No one in the thread reports the problem.) Okay, now I have to keep going. Another six months back, still nothing. At this point, I'm on page 5 of 8, so might as well finish. Two pages later, I'm getting desperate. There can't really be no one. Can't find 'em though. Try the common misspelling, Flatpack with a "c". Another page of results, but no hits. No doubt, I could have missed one, even two, but this isn't actually a problem. It's FUD.

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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by pbear »

Also, as I said, it's easy to fix. If someone has Flatpaks and doesn't want them in Timeshift, it's easy to add a filter:
.
Timeshift-03.png

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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by zcot »

Also, for filtering flatpak, only if a user's /home was added, then also exclude: /home/pbear/.var/app/ -those are the user side flatpak binaries which can also be large.

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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by pbear »

Good point, thanks. Overlooked because I don't use Flatpak. But I do generally advise adding hidden folders to Timeshift, so it's important to note details like that. (Thunderbird is already on my caveat list.) To be clear, never data file backups with Timeshift, just config files. By the way, I'm not actually recommending exclusion of Flatpaks from Timeshift. It's an option, and somewhat reasonable as they're easily replaced. OTOH, we're talking about an extra 5 to 10 GB (per posts by ajgringo619, who does use Flatpak), well within what most users can "afford" for storage space.

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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by Pjotr »

pbear wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 8:54 pm
Pjotr wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 3:00 pm
Not FUD, but fact. I recall several reports on this forum from people who got into trouble by Timeshift disk usage getting out of hand. Too lazy to dig 'em up for you, but they were there. In these cases I suspect the ballooning effect of frequently updated Flatpaks.
So I do the obvious thing and run a Forum search, planning to look at the last six months. Nothing, except a chat thread where you made the same claim. (No one in the thread reports the problem.) Okay, now I have to keep going. Another six months back, still nothing. At this point, I'm on page 5 of 8, so might as well finish. Two pages later, I'm getting desperate. There can't really be no one. Can't find 'em though. Try the common misspelling, Flatpack with a "c". Another page of results, but no hits. No doubt, I could have missed one, even two, but this isn't actually a problem. It's FUD.
Improve your search-fu. It's in dire need of an upgrade. You should search for Timeshift disk usage getting out of hand, irrespective whether the causes were clear (besides the sheer number of stored snapshots). No more than four weeks ago:
viewtopic.php?p=1789278#p1789278

Key quote:
The initial problem was caused by the partition being full at the time of the updates (due to having too many TimeShift snapshots on it; since corrected), and this is what caused the failure to log in
No mention of Flatpaks, I grant you that, but the most probable reason why Timeshift snapshots might start ballooning in the first place, is frequently updating Flatpaks. Not many other common causes come to mind.

Sometimes people aren't even aware that they've installed some applications as Flatpaks. Let alone what the consequences might be for the size of their Timeshift snapshots. So they won't mention it in their help request if they did.

And for forum helpers it's not worthwhile to ask any further in such cases: the simple practical recommendation to reduce the bloody number of snapshots usually suffices to solve their issues. If it does: problem solved. Next please.

I'm too lazy to dig up more examples for you, but I recall that there were more instances of ballooning Timeshift snapshots in the not too distant past. If you want to spend time and energy on finding them, if only to work on your search skills: happy digging. :mrgreen:

In any case: the main issue here is, that in general it definitely *is* advisable to severely limit the number of stored Timeshift snapshots. As a practical rule of thumb.

Ceterum censeo that two stored snapshots (if automated: with a monthly interval) are sufficient for nearly everyone and will almost certainly prevent Timeshift disk usage ever getting out of hand. Even with Flatpaks galore. Quod erat demonstrandum.
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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by erikjan »

@ JerryF

Dear Jerry,

I am still inclined to disagree with you. In all sixteen years that I have been using Linux I needed to reinstall the system only once, because I had been messing with a few files in /etc. But because my home directory was on another partition, the new installation in order to get the system settings correct again, was a simple affair. I connected again with my home directory that contained all my documents and settings without a problem. With exception of this one time I never needed to restore my Linux system like in Windows, because all my Linux installations on several computers always were and are rock solid. Restore the system like in Windows after an update or installation of some rotten program from the internet is useful for low quality systems, or for systems that are messed with like I did, but not for systems that are just used. The systems i have been using these sixteen years –– Mandrake/Mandriva/Rosa/Mageia and Linux Mint recenty -- never never neede a system restore. When Linux Mint introduced Timeshift, my conclusion was that the makers thought their work of low quallity like Windows, so that it now needed this crutch. Therefore I tried the new version on another computer, but found that I did not need to worry and that it stilll is of the high quality I used to associate with it, so that Timeshift is not needed -- for my style of using it at least.

Greetings

Erik Jan

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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by deepakdeshp »

erikjan wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 8:10 am
@ JerryF

Dear Jerry,

I am still inclined to disagree with you. In all sixteen years that I have been using Linux I needed to reinstall the system only once, because I had been messing with a few files in /etc. But because my home directory was on another partition, the new installation in order to get the system settings correct again, was a simple affair. I connected again with my home directory that contained all my documents and settings without a problem. With exception of this one time I never needed to restore my Linux system like in Windows, because all my Linux installations on several computers always were and are rock solid. Restore the system like in Windows after an update or installation of some rotten program from the internet is useful for low quality systems, or for systems that are messed with like I did, but not for systems that are just used. The systems i have been using these sixteen years –– Mandrake/Mandriva/Rosa/Mageia and Linux Mint recenty -- never never neede a system restore. When Linux Mint introduced Timeshift, my conclusion was that the makers thought their work of low quallity like Windows, so that it now needed this crutch. Therefore I tried the new version on another computer, but found that I did not need to worry and that it stilll is of the high quality I used to associate with it, so that Timeshift is not needed -- for my style of using it at least.

Greetings

Erik Jan
+1
The only times I found problem with my Unix/Linux systems when I fiddled with them. Otherwise all of them have been rock solid, all just worked.
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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by pbear »

Pjotr wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 4:41 am
Improve your search-fu. It's in dire need of an upgrade. You should search for Timeshift disk usage getting out of hand, irrespective whether the causes were clear (besides the sheer number of stored snapshots). No more than four weeks ago:
viewtopic.php?p=1789278#p1789278

Key quote:
The initial problem was caused by the partition being full at the time of the updates (due to having too many TimeShift snapshots on it; since corrected), and this is what caused the failure to log in
No mention of Flatpaks, I grant you that, but the most probable reason why Timeshift snapshots might start ballooning in the first place, is frequently updating Flatpaks. Not many other common causes come to mind.
This is the problem with confirmation bias. If one starts with the conclusion, looks only for data consistent with the conclusion, and discards any which is not, of course the conclusion seems sound. Particularly if one feels free to make up or fill in data to make a better fit. Another symptom: Find one data point consistent with conclusion, point at triumphantly, and stop looking for more data.

The problem in the linked thread was that the OP had been carelessly using sudo to edit config files. The Timeshift problem was secondary and had been solved before opening the thread. If we're going to speculate why he (or she) had the Timeshift problem, it's something like a thousand times more likely is was because the OP had separate root and data partitions. As you acknowledge, Flatpak isn't even mentioned. There are other reasons for running out of space for snapshots, e.g., using Timeshift to backup data files and fiddling with filters, but too-small-root is by far the most common.

If using a separate home and/or data partition, yes, snapshots can easily overrun root. The solution isn't to hamstring Timeshift. Rather, the solution is to save snapshots somewhere else. Solves both problems with room to spare. Your solution is merely a workaround, suitable only for the rare case where saving snapshots elsewhere isn't feasible. And I'll mention again, the data don't support your intuition. Above, here and here. Number of snapshots is trivial. More important is the time period spanned by the snapshots. A month is fine, six months a burden.

As for your insistence on relying on your recollection in lieu of doing some actual searching, it is a cliche that memory is fallible.

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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by Pjotr »

@pbear: You have some points, I concede that. But the sum total of them isn't enough to convince me that your approach is better than mine.

I'm not willing to spend a lot of time and energy in sifting through the forum messages for examples that support my view. I'm far too lazy for that, even when it's in the interest of a good fight. :lol:

You name some situations yourself, in which limiting the amount of Timeshift snapshots is advisable (too small root partition, with or without a separate home partition). They're not so rare. In fact, they pop up regularly on this forum.

I'm not interested in amassing scientifically proven data. I'm a practical man; I'll settle for a "best practice" based on both my personal experience of 14 years full-time use of desktop Linux, and on what I've read on this forum and others. With its inherent limitations I say with Nabokov: Speak, memory!

This practical rule of thumb for dealing with Timeshift should be graven on golden plates, for in my view it's a Word of Wisdom for the health of your system (any Mormons out here, haha?):
Two stored Timeshift snapshots (if automated: with a monthly interval) are sufficient for nearly everyone and will almost certainly prevent Timeshift disk usage ever getting out of hand. Even with a small root partition.
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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by JerryF »

erikjan wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 8:10 am
@ JerryF

Dear Jerry,

I am still inclined to disagree with you. In all sixteen years that I have been using Linux I needed to reinstall the system only once, because I had been messing with a few files in /etc. But because my home directory was on another partition, the new installation in order to get the system settings correct again, was a simple affair. I connected again with my home directory that contained all my documents and settings without a problem. With exception of this one time I never needed to restore my Linux system like in Windows, because all my Linux installations on several computers always were and are rock solid. Restore the system like in Windows after an update or installation of some rotten program from the internet is useful for low quality systems, or for systems that are messed with like I did, but not for systems that are just used. The systems i have been using these sixteen years –– Mandrake/Mandriva/Rosa/Mageia and Linux Mint recenty -- never never neede a system restore. When Linux Mint introduced Timeshift, my conclusion was that the makers thought their work of low quallity like Windows, so that it now needed this crutch. Therefore I tried the new version on another computer, but found that I did not need to worry and that it stilll is of the high quality I used to associate with it, so that Timeshift is not needed -- for my style of using it at least.

Greetings

Erik Jan
deepakdeshp wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 9:13 am
+1
The only times I found problem with my Unix/Linux systems when I fiddled with them. Otherwise all of them have been rock solid, all just worked.
Well, you're both entitled to be wrong---LOL. :lol:
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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by pbear »

JerryF wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 2:36 pm
Well, you're both entitled to be wrong---LOL. :lol:
Extending on that, many people do run into problems. Comes up on a daily basis on the Forum. For them, Timeshift can be the difference between recovery and reinstall. And very few users have sufficiently detailed notes to make reinstall painless.

I remember the "good old days," before Timeshift was added to the OS. Common advice from experienced users was, have a Clonezilla backup before running Level 4/5 backups (the category changed from 18.1 > 18.2). Surely Timeshift is easier than that. And easier means it actually happens.

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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by deepakdeshp »

I found CZ easier and quicker once you know how to use it.
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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by trytip »

zcot wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 12:18 pm
trytip wrote:
Sat May 02, 2020 9:25 am
an application made for dumb ubuntu users
but we know that's not true because it is destroying systems.

so it's a too advanced, complex, and behind the scenes convoluted destroyer. It's actually a system destruction tool.

I should be able to click the button and not do anything more, and if the system is broken I should be able to come back from it with 1 click. -that's how it is on Windows.
i'm still here with the same system i restored at least 50 times within the last lets say 4 months during my process of trying to install the new amdgpu-pro. because i made so many modifications to the root i don't even know now what is changed. with a default mint install amdgpu-pro new might install without a problem, but that's besides the point.
only timeshift took the time to develop a software that will restore your system and not have to rely on the user choosing which folders to include or exclude. all other backup tools user has to input what needs to be backed up
so if you say you want one click operation i would agree, but at the very least timeshift is all ready to go out of the box, all user needs is set a location. developer did put a hurdle there creating the automatic scheduling which new users do not know how to use.
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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by pbear »

Psst, zcot was being sarcastic. :wink:

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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by deepakdeshp »

JerryF wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 2:36 pm
erikjan wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 8:10 am
@ JerryF



Erik Jan
deepakdeshp wrote:
Sun May 03, 2020 9:13 am
+1
Well, you're both entitled to be wrong---LOL. :lol:
We have the statement to prove that it just works , I myself have experienced it for more than 18 years.
If I have helped you solve a problem, please add [SOLVED] to your first post title, it helps other users looking for help, and keeps the forum clean.
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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by Kobalt »

Thanks for all your replies and sorry for this really delayed reply from myself bc. of lack of time, recently.

Unfortunately nobody addressed my question as far as I can see. So, I'd like to ask for your help again.
Kobalt wrote:Two of the snapshots (taking up around 50% disk space) don't appear in Timeshift (command line, "timeshift --list", and GUI). They exist in /timeshift/snapshots/ though (and still take up around 50 % of my disk space).

Research in the internet suggest just to delete these two snapshot folders. I'm not sure about that, esp. about potentially remaining artefacts on the system. Any hints on how to delete them correctly and completely?
Thanks in advance.

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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by pbear »

Actually, I've answered the question, you just think the answer should be something else.

I'd encourage anyone wanting to run with this to review the entire thread first.

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Re: Timeshift screwed up system: Snapshots in Timeshift are hidden now?

Post by ajgringo619 »

All of these complaints about Timeshift are easily fixable; maybe not for the noob, but even then it's not that hard:
  • Use BTRFS for /; snapshots are almost instantaneous and take up very little space (no rsync nor external storage needed). I currently have 13 snapshots, mainly because I update my system every day: daily (7), weekly (4), monthly (2). NOTE: I would not recommend doing this unless you're installing/reinstalling a new system.
  • Move flatpaks to /home so Timeshift won't back them up:
    a) add user Flatpak remote: flatpak remote-add --user --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo
    b) remove all current flatpaks
    c) remove system flatpak remote: sudo flatpak --system remote-delete flathub
Moving the flatpak apps to /home solves one big problem: when you need/want to upgrade your system, your flatpak apps will automagically show up and work, including the menu entries. I'm getting ready to purge Windows 10 for the last time when Mint 20 comes out (waiting for QEMU 4.x). I run about 10 flatpaks and it will be nice not having to worry about reinstalling/reconfiguring them.

I totally agree with everyone about the documentation; Tony really needs to work on better explanations here. I would like to see better estimates on space usage (especially on the initial snapshot), the ability to automatically run a snapshot before running a system backup (something like what apt-btrfs-snapshot does), and warning users that the next snapshot, whether manual or auto, could potentially fill up the configured storage partition.
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