Partitioning a hdd that already got several TB of data in it, without messing up the existing data

I tried to timeshift to my external usb hdd 6TB size before i doze off last night, but unfortunately it says the hdd has got no linux partition.
I thought i have selected the snapshot location to be in the 6TB hdd (i didn’t know timeshift can’t save to a hdd without linux extension and didn’t realize the hdd format gonna be a problem). But this morning, when i woke up, can’t find it in there.
When i did a search, it is there in /run/timeshift/backup/timeshift/snapshots/

I thought from yesterday night this timeshift snapshot folder is in sdb2 - as shown in pic below (according to lsblk) and /home is also in sdb2 (according to df).
Well, i think it should be fine since my os is in sdb1, at least it is of different partition.
this screenshot above is from last night.

These lsblk command was taken today. It shows timeshift snapshot is located in /sdb1 which is OS partition, which is the smaller hdd… :face_with_monocle: what’s wrong with it ?

$ lsblk
sda      8:0    0 465,8G  0 disk 
├─sda1   8:1    0   100M  0 part 
└─sda2   8:2    0 465,7G  0 part /run/media/enos-andrew/3profile-andrewadm
sdb      8:16   0 931,5G  0 disk 
├─sdb1   8:17   0    79G  0 part /run/timeshift/backup
└─sdb2   8:18   0 852,5G  0 part /home
sdd      8:48   0   5,5T  0 disk 
└─sdd1   8:49   0   5,5T  0 part /run/media/enos-andrew/6TB My Book

$ df -h | grep ^/dev
/dev/sdb1        78G   20G   54G  28% /
/dev/sdb2       839G   59G  738G   8% /home
/dev/sdd1       5,5T  2,3T  3,3T  42% /run/media/enos-andrew/6TB My Book

:man_facepalming:. Is there no way to make dolphin shows which folder is located in which device and which partition ? by looking at it is so misleading, and so lack of info. :worried:If it only will be able to show this folder is from sdb1 that is from sdb2 or from sda1… isn’t that will be so much user friendly ? all info is there at the first glance :neutral_face:

I don’t know about Dolphin, but lsblk above tells you exactly that (unless you also have symlinks to various places, then this can get confusing).

Personally, I never mount my permanent drives in /run/media and I keep my partitions very simple (usually, it’s just one big partition per drive). That makes it much easier to keep track of everything. In everyday computer use, it matters little where the data is physically on the drive (though, if you’re coming from windoze, you may feel a bit in the dark since you don’t have paths starting with the drive letter, you’ll get over that soon, it’s just a redundant distraction).

Regarding your original question, repartitioning an HDD which contains data, no matter what anyone tells you, is always risky. You should have an external backup of everything before attempting it, as there is a chance you’ll mess something up. How to do it? Probably using a tool like Gparted, while the drive is not mounted (e.g. by booting from a live ISO image). You should look up using Gparted, so that you are comfortable with it before you attempt this. The chances of something going wrong are significant.

In general it’s a bad idea to use timeshift with external drives, as you have to keep track of mounting it and unmounting it.


If you don’t have a backup - don’t - accidental power loss - bye bye data …


Number 1 rule with any computer system. Yes there are Candy Floss solutions which we all use of course, but whatever you use a solid external backup is the only dead cert. Until the aliens nuke you of course, or our lizard overlords :wink:


I mount my timeshift partition on system startup in /mnt/timeshift, although this would probably not be necessary. But this way I always have an overview of it. But the partition is mounted in /run/timeshift as soon as the cronjob starts. That is probably not so optimal?

Question: I mount my backup HDD in /media because I do not always use it. Should I mount it better in /mnt?

Mount it wherever you want, it doesn’t make a difference, as long as you know where it is.

I temporarily mount external drives inside /run/media. Internal, permanently mounted drives get mounted where they belong, like /home or /data or /backup, according to my fstab file. It’s a personal choice.

I also have all the mountpoints owned by the root user, and inside the drives, individual files and directories are owned by my user account. I never change ownership of mountpoints, as some people do. Again, a personal preference.


For what it’s worth I use an $11 64gb usb for timeshift. It’s nice an simple. That’s all is for. That way I don’t need to worry about ruining anything else in the process.

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@fbodymechanic It’s a good idea

This would happen regardless if you have a dedicated mount-point for a Timeshift partition or not. It will mount the partition that the user have chosen in the settings at /run/timeshift/backup.

This is clear to me, it is more about whether there is a problem if the partition is mounted at 2 different places at the same time. It will not be separated from its old mount point, which it gets after the boot.

I might be wrong but I wouldn’t think so. At any rate, do you think you would need a dedicated mount point for it? Apparently it is not needed by Timeshift for it to work.

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That’s right, it is certainly not needed. But I have no other way to access this partition from Thunar. As soon as it is mounted in /run/timeshift/backup by Timeshift itself, it can only be accessed in Thunar via this urban path. Well, you’re right, it makes no sense to mount it at system startup.

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Your msg is so “technical” i don’t get it. Why using external backup hdd is a dead cert ? isn’t everybody said backup to external usb hdd is safer ? :thinking:

Any different between /media mount and /mnt mount ?

wondering how much faster it would be to use an external (or internal) SSD for the backup

I dunno? It only takes a minute or two? I mean. That’s like 30 minutes a year for me or less, and I’m usually doing something else during that time anyway. I have an external ssd I could try it on that can hook up via usb3 or usbc. But I mean, I guess it doesn’t matter enough to me if it saves a few minutes per year, a nice simple $11 micro usb is good enough for my computer needs. It’s up to you to decide if that’s important enough for you.


Perhaps the confusion comes from thinking of Timeshift as a backup. It isn’t really a backup - it doesn’t store your data. What it does is take snapshots of the current state of your system exclusive of data.

Hope this makes more sense now…


:scream:Now i am a bit scare if you said it does not backup anything… I think i might have being big wrong if what you said is true.
I think you mean to say, timeshift does no backup nor make copy of data to be stored at “snapshot location”; it only store a snapshot (equivalent to windows registry snapshot) ?! :ghost:
How can timeshift repair the os if it only take snapshot ? for example, if i permenantly wipe away half of all files in this os, with snapshot alone can timeshift restore the whole os back to the state it was backuped ?
Just like in window os, if i do a registry snapshot, if got minor file settings were messed up, it can restore it without problem, but if i wipe files away , with windows registry snapshot; it can’t fix it , because eventhough the registry is restored, but the files that the registry pointed to is no there, how is it possible to run it ?

I need more detail now. How does timeshfit protect our os from being deleted, being infected by virus (let’s assume i am so unlucky being infected by linux virus) ?
I know timeshift does capable of include our personal folder such as home and pictures into it operational range. How can it possible to recover those pictures or video files that i placed on my desktop (for example) if it does not store backup data ? !

From developer’s site:


Use Timeshift for making snapshots of your operative system
Use other solutions for backing up your personal data (documents, music, video, etc.)