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Linux Backups (Are They Needed??) – Part 2 – BackInTime March 22, 2017

Now that we have a good snapshot backup application installed we need to make sure that our personal files such as documents, pictures, video, etc are backed up as well. Since TimeShift takes care of the operating system side an application called backintime will take care of the rest. This has very similar capabilities as TimeShift such as full and incremental backups but with TimeShift, from what I can tell, the backups stay on the local machine where with backintime you can tell the app where to place the backups. Backintime also uses the rsync command directly in doing its backups and restores.




The installation process is identical to the the way we install most packages. Below are the steps that can be used to install the backintime backup / restore application.


Now for the BackInTime installation from Pamac (Add / Remove Software Application):

  • Open the Pamac application (Add / Remove Software Application)
  • Type in backintime in the search
  • Click on the AUR tab
  • Select backintime
  • Click Apply
  • A popup will show that there will be dependencies that need to be resolved. Click on the Commit button
  • Enter the sudo password to elevate permission for the installer
  • Just sit back and let the installer finish.
  • Once the install is complete just close the Pamac application
  • Now you have a working version of backintime installed and ready to go.

If you choose to do this from a terminal, here you go:

  • Make sure that yaourt is installed by issue sudo pacman -S yaourt
  • Yaourt is the command line app to work with the AUR repository
  • Remember that yaourt complains about running in root. Run from your local account with sudo access.
  • Open a terminal and type sudo yaourt -S backintime
  • You will need to give your sudo password to elevate for the installation
  • If prompted to edit files, just say no unless you know what you’re doing
  • If prompted to install packages, just say yes
  • Once the installation is complete, you will have a fully operational version of backintime


Keep in mind that you can create and run the backups and restore either from the command line as shown below or from the desktop using the backintime application.




[kf4bzt@tim-pc ~]$ backintime –help
usage: backintime [-h] [–config PATH] [–debug]
[–profile NAME | –profile-id ID] [–quiet] [–version]

Back In Time – a simple backup tool for Linux.

optional arguments:
-h, –help show this help message and exit
–config PATH Read config from PATH.
–debug Increase verbosity.
–profile NAME Select profile by NAME.
–profile-id ID Select profile by ID.
–quiet Be quiet. Suppress messages on stdout.
–version, -v show backintime’s version number.
–license show backintime’s license.


backup – Take a new snapshot. Ignore if the profile is not
scheduled or if the machine runs on battery.
backup-job – Take a new snapshot in background only if the profile
is scheduled and the machine is not on battery. This
is use by cron jobs.
benchmark-cipher – Show a benchmark of all ciphers for ssh transfer.
check-config – Check the profiles configuration and install crontab
decode – Decode pathes with ‘encfsctl decode’
last-snapshot – Show the ID of the last snapshot.
last-snapshot-path – Show the path of the last snapshot.
pw-cache – Control Password Cache for non-interactive cronjobs.
remove – Remove a snapshot.
remove-and-do-not-ask-again – Remove snapshots and don’t ask for confirmation
before. Be careful!
restore – Restore files.
snapshots-list – Show a list of snapshots IDs.
snapshots-list-path – Show the path’s to snapshots.
snapshots-path – Show the path where snapshots are stored.
unmount – Unmount the profile.

For backwards compatibility commands can also be used with trailing ‘–‘. All
listed arguments will work with all commands. Some commands have extra
arguments. Run ‘backintime <COMMAND> -h’ to see the extra arguments.



Instead of posting all of the possible settings for the configuration file, I have attached a file with them in it.







If moving a configuration from one machine to another. Make sure that you change the hostname and make sure that the backup folder has been created. Once that is done, run the following to check the config file.


[kf4bzt@tim-pc ~]$ backintime check-config

Back In Time
Version: 1.1.14

Back In Time comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
under certain conditions; type `backintime –license’ for details.
│ Check/prepair snapshot path │
Check/prepair snapshot path: done

│ Check config │
Check config: done

│ Install crontab │
ERROR: Failed to get crontab lines: 1, no crontab for kf4bzt

Install crontab: done

Config /home/kf4bzt/.config/backintime/config profile ‘Main profile’ is fine.




Now that the configuration is setup and ready, go ahead and try the first backup run.


[kf4bzt@tim-pc ~]$ backintime backup

Back In Time
Version: 1.1.14

Back In Time comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it
under certain conditions; type `backintime –license’ for details.

INFO: Lock
WARNING: Inhibit Suspend failed.
INFO: Take a new snapshot. Profile: 1 Main profile
INFO: Call rsync to take the snapshot
INFO: Save config file
INFO: Save permissions
INFO: Create info file
INFO: Remove backups older than: 20170220-000000
INFO: Keep min free disk space: 10240 MiB
INFO: Keep min 2% free inodes
INFO: Unlock




As you can see, the backup was successful and created the folder with the content, if any.


[kf4bzt@tim-pc ~]$ ls -alh ./Backups/backintime/tim-pc/kf4bzt/1/
total 12K
drwxr-xr-x 3 kf4bzt kf4bzt 4.0K Mar 22 15:19 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 kf4bzt kf4bzt 4.0K Mar 22 15:18 ..
dr-xr-xr-x 3 kf4bzt kf4bzt 4.0K Mar 22 15:19 20170322-151819-785
lrwxrwxrwx 1 kf4bzt kf4bzt 19 Mar 22 15:19 last_snapshot -> 20170322-151819-785





As I set Back In Time for Ubuntu Mate, I took some screenshots to show what this would look like. Back In Time can either be used as a standalone backup solution or as a supplement to the TimeShift backup agent for pulling use home folders and other things that may not be pulled from the original snapshot. As shown in the first screenshot, the Back In Time application can be used as a full system backup solution. When you click on yes, the settings get changed to make the app capable of doing a full system backup.



As we look into the settings, most can be left as default but there are some that do need to be modified in order for you to have the backups that you need when you need them. First first item to change will be where you want your snapshots to be located. Just create folder and point to it with Back In Time. You will also need to set a schedule for backup snapshots to be taken. I set mine as everyday at midnight local.



The Include tab allows you to choose either files or folders or even both if you like to be included in the regular snapshot. I chose most of the folders within my home directory as TimeShift does not include /home in its snapshots.



The excludes tab allows you to skip certain files or folders but I have left this at its default setting as I think what is had will work for now. This will be good for excluding certain data from a full snapshot that you do not need to be backed up.



The next tab called auto-remove, allows you to set how often you want snapshots to be removed within a certain time limit, drive space limit, as well as getting down to how many inodes left before removing snapshots. I just left this at the default settings for now. I may tweak it more a little later.



The items under the option tab was left at their defaults as well. Most of this is self explanatory for the most part.



And finally, the expert options tab, I just left this one as is as well.



Now that we have our settings the right way, Back In Time will take you to the main screen where you can kick off your first snapshot. In the upper left corner is an icon that looks like a harddrive with an arrow pointing down. Hit that button to start a manual backup of the files and folders shown in the middle of the screen.



After you hit the button, you will see data moving at the bottom of the screen. This just shows what is being backed up and what percentage is complete from each item.



If you are wondering what is being backed up and if the files and or folders are include a change or just informational, you can see the logs by going to the top of the screen, clicking on View and selecting view last log. This will show you everything that was backed up the last time and what its status was.


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