Recommend Backup Solution For Data

There are an overwhelming amount of different backup programs available for Linux. I tried one called Deja Dup. I used it to back up my entire home folder to an external hard drive. But it back ups everything into an equal sized archived chunks. And it’s impossible to restore data without using this program. I am worried that should there be some damage to bits on hard disk, deja dup won’t be able to restore data from format that it uses. (Can you tell me if this worry is warranted?) Hence I am thinking of trying another backup solution.

Can you recommend backup software and what are you using yourself?

Some of the things that I want in a backup application are:

  • Incremental backups (ie.g. it’s only transfers to backup things that was changed since last backup)
  • Robust (e.g. it is possible to restore data even if backup is somewhat damaged)
  • Preferably you can browse backed up data without any special software
  • Preferably GUI

I would always recommend BorgBackup using Vorta as GUI/frontend.
In my opinion the best backup solution available.

BorgBackup (short: Borg) gives you:

Space efficient storage of backups.
Secure, authenticated encryption.
Compression: LZ4, zlib, LZMA, zstd (since borg 1.1.4).
Mountable backups with FUSE.
Easy installation on multiple platforms: Linux, macOS, BSD, ...
Free software (BSD license).
Backed by a large and active open source community.

I also use and recommend borg but it doesn’t seem to meet any of your requirements.

  • Borg doesn’t do incremental backups, it does deduplicated backups which is arguably a better solution to your problem.
  • If the backup becomes too heavily damaged, you may not be able to restore it. That is why they provide tools to monitor and manage the integrity of your backups. It is also why you should always have at least two copies of your backups.
  • You absolutely can’t browse a borg backup without special software. It is rendered into blocks.

While I don’t really recommend this approach, it sounds like you want an rsync-based tool like timeshift where it stores the actual files it backups in the filesystem.

I want to be clear, I think replicated borg backups are a much better solution but it doesn’t really seem in-line with your desires.


From the website :

Why can’t you browse it, if you can mount it? Do we have a different definition/understanding of the word browsing?

No, we have a different understanding of the words “without any special software”. You can’t mount a borg backup with fuse if if you don’t have borg installed or at least the components needs to fuse mount. I think the OPs intention was the ability to browse their backup even without access to the backup software.

Okay. In this case we had different assumptions. In the end we come up with the same result.

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I use Duplicacy…but it does sound like regular Timeshift rsync would suit you fine

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I use Timeshift for snap-shooting my system and Grsync for data in the home folder.

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I occassionally store all of my photos/irreplacable documents onto one of two hard disks. The second one lives inside of a fireproof/waterproof box. I swap them and update occassionally. If either dies, (haven’t yet thankfully) I will replace it immediately and continue to the cycle.

Maybe I’m a simple person, but I just use split view in dolphin.

Anything EXTREMELY important - IE - wedding photos are also stored on both nextcloud and googledrive. I don’t backup music or anything else really. I’ve gotten it all from youtube.dl recently anyway, or I just listen to spotify. . . And then anything document wise that is super important, stays in a fireproof/waterproof box in a safety deposit box with two USB’s with digital copies of everything as well.

I don’t backup my computer really - the OS is too easy to fix/replace. I do timeshifts on my one computer, although I’ve gotten really bad about it. And my thinkpad backup solution is an EOS USB. . . so. . . ya.


If you are a regular Linux user and are happy with using the terminal, why not just use rsync. It’s surely just as good for backing up your data as those fancy apps. If you want to backup your system files, my only response is WHY? If you backup your dotfiles (preferably to Github/Bitbucket/GitLab), then reinstalling a linux system is absolute child’s play. OK not really child’s play, but not difficult either.

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Unless you are doing some special magic to retain a version history, that is a replica, not a backup. The key difference being that if something happens to your data in the primary location, you then replicate the change to the second location. It protects you only against complete hardware loss/failure.

A real backup should be able to restore old versions of files. The practical benefit of this is substantial.

Some ideas.

Not obligatory, but a NAS gives you so many options.
An older computer, or a dedicated NAS like Synology have a plethora of options for backups.
Rsync, Synchting, Nextcloud or some others could be a nice choice.
Some more enterprise level, like Bacula is also available.
Freenas also offers snapshots on ZFS, enterprise level backups, a real option for ransomware attacks.

Open Media Vault is a very simple nice solution for a NAS repurposed old computer. Used extensively in SOHO.

Also, a external HDD can be set up with FreefileSync can be set up to back up data when a USB HDD is detected, or create your own small bash script crontab backup solution.

Hope that this information will help you in some way.

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You might want to look into dirvish
dirvish is a set of perl scripts which do incremental backups via rsync and ssh. It makes use of hardlinks to not dublicta existing files. The backups are self contained and can be restored by a simple copy command. Very nice. And reliable.


LIke 'Time Machine on my Mac Mini. A very useful facility. OTOH, I was responding to a contributor asking about backups after ‘some damage to bits on hard disk’.

Well, that seems like a case in which plain rsync doesn’t work. If a set of blocks on your disk is damaged, that will most likely lead to file corruption. rsync will gladly sync those corrupted files over to your replica overwriting the good data.

I never heard of NAS. Is it an internet connected storage that you buy, put somewhere in your house and then use any software you like to back up to it?

I am using Timeshift for system snapshots, and Backintime (from the AUR) to rsync my data. The GUI is simple but there are many options, to include, exclude files and/or folders, schedule options, etc… Never add an issue in more than 5 years. (Does incremental backups and you can browse backups without specific software)


In it’s most basic form. A NAS is basically file server sitting on your local network.

The appeal of the modern pre-built NAS is that they are generally small, quiet, lower power devices with lots of file sharing options accessible through an easy to use web interface. Many even offer more features such as the ability to install software and services on the device. The more powerful ones even let you host VMs.


NAS stands for Network Attached Storage.
Now, each NAS can run different OS tailored to the task, of being a drive accessible from a network or across internet.

Some NAS feature backup solutions built in or not. Example Synology boxes have the Synology Active Backup for Business Agent who speaks to the Synology box and performs backups tasks, snapshots, recovery from backups. I give this example as being the most common and one I firsthand use and can give a educated opinion. No ties to the brand or firm!

Other NASes simply give you the accces to the drive and inside the RAID or storage configuration the data is de-duplicated, stored in snapshots, etc.

Let’s give a real life scenario:
On a old computer (as small it can be) one installs, let’s say OpenMediaVault. The NAS grabs the IP from the DHCP, user logs in the NAS software using another computer, tablet or smartphone, sets the static IP, changes the default password and sets up network shares.
From your Linux box, DejaDup can make snapshots to the NAs share ie. your NAS IP as in following. From File explorer of your choice enter smb:///yourNASIP/nameoftheshare/ input the user and password for the share, copy data into and you have backups on a network drive.

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+1 for Borg, too. I used to do manual copies, and that worked fine for years, but recently I tried Borg and I really like it.

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