Question concerning the use of timeshift

Hi altogether,

I´ve got a question regarding the use of timeshift and wonder if anyone has any ideas concerning the use of it.

As a result of discussing another topic (Modem-manager-gui won´t start any more ) I learned from user @01101111 that it´s a wise thing to use timeshift in addition to clonezilla.
So I installed timeshift and I´ve been using it for quite a time now. I must say: it´s a really nice piece of software.

I set it up a such a way that it creates weekly snapshots and keeping three of them. That seems a sane setting to me bearing in mind that in addition to timeshift I perform a monthly disk-backup with clonezilla.

teejee2008 (the developer) himself commented:

If the files [i.e. files not crucially important] are not important you can exclude those files by adding an exclude filter.

I think that option might be worth considering as it surely adds to saving disk space.
I myself came up with excluding /var/cache/apt .

My question is: What´s your view on the matter? Is there anything else which could be excluded without impairing the core functionality of timeshift to a great extent?

Thanks in advance for your opinion.

Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:


The only thing that I do Rosika, rather than a weekly one I set it to doing a daily one, just one copy. I feel, for me this is the correct setting, because if anything does go wrong, which with Mint it really doesn’t, I can go back to right away rather than have go through many to get to the correct point. It works for me. I also just set it for the basic functions and as you have another back up elsewhere there is no reason, that I can see that you should do other wise. I have a back for my personal and between the two I think I am covered. In fact I know I am, because I had to do a recovery through TimeShift once, but that was a result of my own stupidity.



Thanks a lot for your suggestion.
The reason why I asked is that my available space keeps shrinking with each backup timeshift performs.

That´s what it looks like:

21,5 GB available (1st backup), then subsequent backups:
19,1 GB “”
16,3 GB “”
14,6 GB “”
14,0 GB “”
13,3 GB “”
12,1 GB “”

So I am basically looking for sane settings. I´m not quite sure what to do if the available space keeps running low.
Perhaps beginning to delete some of the backups…
At any rate it´s worthwhile considering the way you do it.

Thanks again.
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

What I do is just delete all but the last two when they build up and start taking up too much space on the disk - You only really need to keep the last one when the system was working okay in case you have to do a restore.



Hi and thanks a lot. The way you do it seems just fine. I think I´ll go for it, too.

Just an additional question:

It´s surely a stupid question of mine but nevertheless:
What about the very first backup? Can that one be deleted, too? I mean because it´s the basic backup against which all subsequent ones are compared.


Every time you do a TimeShift it backs up from the state that the system is now in. The very first one is the basic one and the others just build upon that including that state. I always do a the first one, before doing the first updates and restoring my personal folders. Once I know that is okay, I then do another to stabilise things. As this is what I want to preserve not just the basic. I then delete that very first one to save disk space. I have never had a problem doing this personally.
It is not a stupid question, there is no such thing a stupid question, just questions that you want to have an answer to okay :sunny:


Thanks for your kind words and the explanation.

It really seems you´ve got quite a lot of experience using timeshift. :wink:
So I hope I´m able to use it to my advantage too now.

Thanks again and many greetings.
Rosika :smiley:

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I have a slightly different take on this. For me, at least the space required to do this is more of an issue with regard to time. The most important thing for me is to back up my personal home directory, which Timeshift does not do.

Since Linux can be downloaded and installed in under ten minutes for me, and re-installing any software I need is just a matter of a few minutes, I really don’t see the need to have Timeshift. Nothing that it backs up can’t be replaced very quickly with a re-installation.

The important issue is the files and scripts I keep in my home directory. Those I back up on a regular basis to a separate drive that can be copied to the cloud in a pinch for the best security. I also have much of my personal data and files stored in a git repository.

Of course, this depends on your network bandwidth and how many really large/complex applications you install. If that is an issue, then Timeshift might indeed be a good choice.

As the last point, remember that you don’t want a backup system. What you want is a recovery system. If you have never tested what would happen if you had to recover your system from any backup you have, you really don’t know if it is useful.

Linux and the software that I use most is all “backed up” in the repositories for Ubuntu and/or whatever distribution I normally use. Backup the stuff that cannot be replaced, your personal data.

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Hello and thanks for your views on this matter.

Your statements are true and valid by all means.

With me it´s the case of establishing internet-connection solely via a UMTS-stick which gives my a limited amount of “high-speed”-access of 6 GB per month.
So that´s something to be considered when deciding against or pro use of timeshift.

Furthermore as part of my latest fresh install I shifted all /home-based data to a specifically purposed third partition (my “data”-partition) which won´t be formatted in case of a new install. So basically my original /home-partition is empty. As it´s about 35 GB in space what better purpose could it serve than using it for timeshift… :wink:

As far as data-backup is concerned I perform a clonezilla-backup once a month and store it on a separate HDD.

Thanks again and many greetings.
Rosika :slightly_smiling_face:

I’m using Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon on my laptop. It has an option to include backing up my Home directory. It is located in ‘setting’ under ‘users’. I don’t use it, but the option is there.

I finally had to use Timeshift to try and restore to a point before an update. But it messed up my grub menu. Now my grub menu boots to an error that I have to acknowledge before it will boot to my selection. I haven’t figured how to fix the issue. Reconfiguring just about everything with grub-customizer does nothing. I don’t think there really is any issue with the grub menu, just that some of the commands in the grub file don’t hook into the previous environment that was running perfectly fine before I used the Timeshift restore. Something to do with gfx_mode is not right and generates an error that I had to press enter to acknowledge. But I have compared both grub files in /etc/default/grub and /boot/grub on my Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS partition and my development partition with 19.04 and 19.10 and they boot fine through the grub menu without the gfx_mode error. The files look basically identical between the two OS’. Just can’t figure out what changed in the OS after the Timeshift restore.

You can try re-installing GRUB2 as described here: