Complex Timeshift Setup

Hey everyone, I’m apart of the recent migration. You guys have been absolutely amazing in welcoming us!

Now on to the bread and butter, and precursor. I have my root and home separated into different partitions(also dual booting Win10). I’m interested in backing up my root partition, as I’ll have my home partition backed up with cloud services(No data at the moment to back up anyway).

Next bit, I would like to create a partition for storing the backup on my secondary hard drive, which, has a few partitions already. I have an 831 GB NTFS partition that I would like to shrink by about, mmmm, 60-100 Gb(I’m thinking of resizing the NTFS partition in Windows 10, I worried about potential issues of shrinking it in Linux. Does my worry sound founded?). I would like to use that 60-100 Gb and create an Ext4 partition to store my root backup(One vanilla backup that will never be deleted, and a couple rolling backups), should this be doable with timeshift? What would you advise for and/or against?

EDIT: I should point out that I’m following the advice of @xircon on his post. (Well not the complexity I’m laying out here, but just backing up in general)

That actually sounds like a pretty standard timeshift snapshot setup.

A few thoughts:

  • Get your new partition setup and formatted before configuring timeshift
  • Install cronie and enable/start the cronie service if you want scheduled snapshots
  • After configuration, take a couple initial on-demand snapshots at the beginning by clicking the create button. This will serve as the “vanilla” snapshot you are requesting. Timeshift may tag your first on-demand snapshot as a scheduled snapshot when it does it’s hourly check and I am not sure if it will rotate that one out or not which is why I would take two. The second snapshot should be very inexpensive since little will have changed if you take them one right after the other.

Timeshift is a very straightforward tool. The biggest downside with timeshift is that it has very limited functionality. The upside of that is it is simple and fairly hard to mess-up.

Take a look at the main config screens:

One last note, while timeshift a type of backup utility, what it is really meant for is taking system snapshots to be used to restore a system to a previous date. It sounds like that is exactly what you need since you are using some type of cloud-based backup solution for your home directory. Just make sure your cloud solution is backup solution and not a sync solution.


I use a lot of sync solutions, OneDrive(Only paid service, six terabytes of cloud storage), Google Drive, Mega, Dropbox, etc. But I usually set them to “Cloud Only” option, though I except certain folders such as Documents, Pictures, etc, and have them set to sync.

I’ve never really used a purely “Backup Solution”. What dangers do I run across when using sync and TImeShift? What Backup Software/Services would you recommend as I"m not familiar with them?

With my back ground and profession work being Windows I’ve always compared TimeShift to System Restore. (Please don’t shoot me, I’ll always be working with Windows for the rest of my life. I understand that Windows and Linux is different on every level, but comparing them yet understanding/learning the separation of the two helps me slowly learn Linux, and in a weird way Linux helps me with Windows).

I’d say yes, based on my (admittedly quite old) experience on the matter.
And if you shrink it with Windows, Linux can’t be blamed if something goes south. :wink:

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Luckily everything went smoothly with TimeShift. Shrunk the partition in windows. Created Ext4 partition in EOS, configured Timeshift, created Vanilla snap, and set a daily and weekly snap.

It depends what you are trying protect against. Most sync solutions protect you against hardware failure/loss and not much else. In fact, not even all types of hardware failure.

The difference between a backup solution and a sync solution is that a backup solution has old versions of your data and files you deleted. Does your sync solution allow you get access to the version of the file from last week? How about last year. What happens if you accidentally delete a file and don’t realize it until 6 months later? What happens if a file becomes corrupt? Does your sync system sync all that corruption to the cloud overwriting all your good data?

If your data is important, be very, very careful with this strategy. People have the impression that their data is safe because it is in the cloud but many consumer cloud providers don’t backup your data or even have a second copy of it. You should read the T&Cs carefully to see exactly what they are providing.