UPDATE 06/28/2020: Am reclaiming Media Library space by deleting old pics.

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Have been testing Timeshift for almost a week now … it reminds me why Linux will never be able to replace Microsoft Windows as a desktop/laptop OS, i.e. almost like my first experience with Linux back in 1996 when the Linux Desktop Environments I was checking out resembled some child’s kindergarten drawing given to a parent. Here, let me quote the Timeshift GitHub page:

Timeshift for Linux is an application that provides functionality similar to the System Restore feature in Windows and the Time Machine tool in Mac OS. Timeshift protects your system by taking incremental snapshots of the file system at regular intervals. These snapshots can be restored at a later date to undo all changes to the system.

Linux desktop/laptop OSes – and many Linux apps – have never been able to do anything but try to emulate Microsoft Windows … and, apparently the Mac OS (new discovery for me); however:

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Well, trying to imitate something or someone can be cute at times, unless you have put up with it for over 24 years (Linux Newbie – Since 1996). Anyway, I started this blog a little over one year ago, and had high hopes for where Linux was at that time, but 13 months later its Flashbacks to some 24 years ago. Sure, if you have old computers, then Linux is probably the way to go … if you live outside of America, then maybe Linux is the way to go for those Third World countries (EU included…BTW, Great Britain, welcome back to the First World!!!) – tho most desktop/laptop computer OEM’s still install Microsoft Windows on the computers they build.

Anyway, not only have I been testing Timeshift for about a week now, I have also been testing some ‘Portable’ Linux Distros, in search for one that I can setup Timeshift on … however, have had nothing but problems with the new Peppermint 10 & antiX 19.1 (both core & full), so will just use a ‘Live’ Ubuntu USB and install Timeshift there if I need it for one of the recovery modes. The Windows 10 Backup and Restore (Windows 7) tool, located in the control panel, is so much better & faster than anything Linux has to offer for full ‘backup+restore’ capabilities…same tool that came with Windows 7, BTW. For Linux full system backup & restore ability, I trust Clonezilla more than Timeshift (right now, anyway *UPDATE* see ExTiX success at bottom); however, Clonezilla is very slow, and can be confusing with its antique graphical user interface (GUI).

OK, and on to the Timeshift tests…

Only tested the full install on Ubuntu LTS (18.04 & developmental 20.04), so am not sure about how to install it on other Distros…note: I was unable to install it on Peppermint ‘Live’, antiX ‘Live’ (core & full) and SystemRescueCD, but did install it on Ubuntu 18.04 ‘Live’ – note that it also installed on developmental Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Live’ but had problems restoring images. Needed the terminal command prompt to fully install on Ubuntu LTS … here is a pic of sudo ‘stuff’ and other Distros:

Next decisions involve choosing RSYNC mode:

Or, choosing the BTRFS mode:

I did tests on both the RSYNC and BTRFS methods … however; some of the results are still a little unclear, so I’ll be doing more testing just to see if I’ll ever use it long term. Mainly decided to try it with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS when it comes out, and I believe it isn’t fully released until April this year…will be switching to it then, until the next Ubuntu LTS in five more years comes out. Tests were done on both Ubuntu 18.04 and developmental 20.04…20.04 had some failures, but 18.04 did fine. Also tried installing Timeshift from the Ubuntu Software window, before using the command prompt recommended way first, and Timeshift was too problematic, i.e. use the command prompt method.

First test involved the RSYNC mode … install started with sudo commands showed in above pic, then you can add the app icon to dock from the Ubuntu “Show Applications” window. Made image snapshots to a SSD and also a USB. The RSYNC method is for a full system restore, so you’ll need an Ubuntu ‘Live’ USB with Timeshift installed on it in order to restore those images (in tests, you ‘pretend’ that your drive has burned out). Ubuntu developmental 20.04 had problems, and needed the LTS 18.04 ‘Live’ USB in order to restore images. 20.04 isn’t really ready for the RSYNC mode yet…here are pics of 18.04 being restored…first, the before restoring:

Then the after restoring image:

Weird, comes back restored as if it had just been newly installed?!? However, the apps are all still installed, and available from the “Show Applications” window…so you can add icons back on the dock. Bookmarks were still in Firefox, and those settings were the same as before restoring; mouse settings and Wi-Fi security code restored correctly; however, I failed to include any documents in these tests, so am not sure how Timeshift does on that.

Next, the BTRFS mode which is “similar to the System Restore” in Windows…now, I haven’t used Windows “System Restore” … since … since, since before Windows Ultimate Vista, and basically before I started doing full system backup & restore images. I might end up liking such a method on Linux more than I did with Windows, but will need to do more testing. Certainly not for the squeamish “Erase and Install” Linux users, because it will need “Something Else” or “Manual” partitioning of the disk before installing Linux. Your disk will need to look sorta like this, before installation:

Went pretty easy on Ubuntu LTS, but from my experience, I doubt the Arch based or Debian based Distros (see above “Installation” pic) will be as easy…am not sure about Fedora Linux. Once installed, you can then select the BTRFS mode in Timeshift to take and save and/or restore images…apparently, images can only be saved to same drive that Linux is installed on. Taking the snapshots and restoring them is extremely fast, and seems to work great in these early tests…on both Ubuntu 18.04 & developmental 20.04.

If you have plenty of time to piddle with Linux, you can often find solutions and/or Distros that might work…just remembered ExTiX and my ExTiX Deepin 20.1 – ‘Interesting OS’ post. Used Rufus to create a ‘Live’ ExTiX USB with a 4GB Persistent partition (that way the ‘Live’ USB saves its sessions – e.g. settings, bookmarks docs, apps, etc), and the ExTiX iso also comes with Synaptic Package Manager already installed on it. I love the simplicity of the Synaptic Package Manager! Searched for Timeshift on it, then had it install Timeshift for me…opened the ExTiX “Launcher” (like the Ubuntu “Show Applications” window) and there it was, so I added it to the dock.

Put in the drive that already had a couple of image backups, and the ‘Live’ USB spotted them! Oh, when you are saving RSYNC snapshots, they need to be saved to a separate drive that is formatted for Linux…I use a 1000GB 2.5” HDD that has an ext4 partition:

The drive you are going to restore to needs to also be formatted to ext4…so Timeshift can see it. Here are 4 pics of the restoring process, to a 128BG test SSD:

OK…rebooted into the newly restored Ubuntu 18.04 and more Linux weirdness, but good weirdness this time since ExTiX ‘Live’ Timeshift restored it perfectly!

Like I said, more testing needs done, but that last test was a great sign of using the Timeshift RSYNC mode, which is a lot quicker than Clonezilla is at backing up and/or restoring…easier too, if I get the “weirdness” corrected (may have hit the wrong setting in earlier attempt?!). Am also going to move ExTiX Deepin 20.1 to the #3 spot on Karmi’s Top 10 Linux Distros page…as a Portability & Rescue Distro, just behind BionicPup!

Well, on this successful note, I am going to go ahead and post this…