How to install Timeshift in Ubuntu

Timeshift for Linux is an amazing application that provides a similar functionality to the System Restore feature in Windows and the Time Machine tool in Mac OS. Timeshift protects your system by taking incremental snapshots of the file system at regular intervals, using either RSYNC mode or BTRFS mode. These snapshots can be restored at a later date to undo all changes to the system.

Timeshift is similar to other applications such as rsnapshot, BackInTime and TimeVault, but it has different goals. It is designed to protect only system files and settings, while excluding user files such as documents, pictures and music. Timeshift ensures that your files remains unchanged when you restore your system to an earlier date. If you’re looking for a program that backup your files and documents, you would have to search for another solution, such as Baqpaq/BackInTime.

Timeshift is free, open source and works in all major Linux distributions. You can find its source code on Github at https://github.com/teejee2008/timeshift.

In this article, we will show you how to install Timeshift on Ubuntu, specifically the latest version – Ubuntu 20.04. The guide is applicable to older versions of Ubuntu and many other Linux distro based on Ubuntu, such as Linux Mint or Pop! OS.

install Timeshift on Ubuntu

Install Timeshift on Ubuntu using commands

If your Ubuntu version is higher than 19.xx, Timeshift is already added to the official repositories and ready to install out of the box. But in case you’re running legacy Ubuntu versions, namely Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and lower, you have to add a third-party PPA in order to install Timeshift with apt.

To do that, run the following command

# For Ubuntu 18.40 or lower ONLY sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa
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Please answer Yes to any prompt you may see during the installation. Once the PPA has been added, you have to refresh the system package cache by running.

sudo apt-get update
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After a successful system update, install Timeshift by running the following apt command :

sudo apt-get install timeshift
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Once the installation completes, you will see Timeshift show up on Ubuntu applications list.

Timeshift show up on Ubuntu applications list

Install Timeshift on Ubuntu using Software Manager

The preferred method to install pretty much everything in the Linux world is to use a series of commands, but if you’re not yet familiar with the command-line interface, you can always install popular software using the built-in Ubuntu Software Manager.

First, press the Super key on the keyboard (Super is the Windows key on most keyboards) to open up the GNOME applications drawer. Then, search for Ubuntu Software Manager.

Ubuntu Software Manager

On Ubuntu Software Manager window, click the search button on the upper left corner, then search for “timeshift“. Select Timeshift from the search result and click Install.

Once the installation completes, you will see Timeshift on Ubuntu applications drawer.

Create a snapshot using Timeshift

Timeshift is designed to be easy to use and requires very little setup. All you need to do is run it for the first time and take the first snapshot using the wizard. You will be asked for your password, as Timeshift needs it to back up protected part of the system.

Step 1 : Select the snapshot mode. You have 2 options to choose from : RSYNC mode and BTRFS mode.

In RSYNC mode, snapshots are taken using rsync and hard-links. Common files are shared between snapshots which saves disk space. Each snapshot is a full system backup that can be browsed separately with a file manager.

In BTRFS mode, snapshots are taken using the features of the BTRFS filesystem built-in. BTRFS snapshots are supported only on BTRFS systems having an Ubuntu-type subvolume layout (with @ and @home subvolumes).

For beginners, you should stick with RSYNC mode.

Step 2 : Select backup storage. Clicking Next will bring you to where you can select the destination drive for the snapshot.

Step 3 : Define snapshot levels. Levels refer to the intervals during which the snapshots are created. You can choose to backup monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly snapshot and keeping only a few recent ones on disk.

Step 4 : Once you’re done, click Finish to create a snapshot.

We hope that the information above helped you successfully install Timeshift on your Ubuntu system. We’ve also covered other software installation for Linux, such as How to install Chromium browser in Debian, How to install CMake, Airflow and ADB/fastboot on Ubuntu, in case you’re interested. If you have any suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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