Backup solutions for desktop Linux

Ok, so most of us here probably run Linux on some machine. But what is your recommended backup solution? If there’s an HD crash or my laptop is stolen, I would like to restore all of my /home/user/ directory, including my dot/config files.

I’ve seen some people backup config to Github. Or Gnome has Apps/DejaDup - GNOME Wiki!, which seems very basic.

I’m curious what is your current solution for backing up your Linux laptop or workstation? External drive? NAS? Remote backup?

Lastly, what are my beginner to intermediate options for remote nightly backups of Linux desktop no matter the distro? (in case I don’t stick with one distro)


I’m sure you’ll get better answers from others, but here’s one that worked well long ago. I haven’t gotten to the point of needing to back up yet recently, so this is from decades old memory. Search “rsync time machine”, and you’ll see links like this and this that offer solutions/inspirations.

The idea is to set up a separate linux computer on your network that is your storage device. Then, on the linux computer you want to backup, run rsync in a shell script. Rsync is a file transfer command with an option to use hard links on the destination (storage) side of a backup scheme. This lets you make frequent backups (I have done every hour at times) that are very efficient space wise. You can get to the backup by browsing the file system on the storage system. To restore use similar rsync commands from the storage computer to the backed up computer.

Rsync is amazing, but its option count is immense, and may look intimidating. However, the options play well together, and you can pick and choose the ones you need. Rsync is the most robust transfer program I’ve used, and this backup scheme worked over poor/intermittent network connections.

Good luck!

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I user overgrive and along with timeshift. Overgrive isn’t free but it’s also not costly.

timeshift - is used to backup your system and system files, not your home folder, and allows you to be able to roll back your system when something changes

For backing up your home dir, have a look at rsnapshot or overdrive if you upload to Google drive. Dropbox also has a Linux app for syncing the home directory.


My earlier rsync experience was with normal files. Does timeshift handle device files, or does one need to do a base OS install to put the timeshift backup on top of? I didn’t see mention of this on the timeshift page, but maybe I missed it.

I will have to look at our rsnapshot. I have my Docker folder in my home folder. So I have been looking for a way to back that up. It’s fairly large though about a few gigs. I will see if Google drive works first, if not I will try rsnapshot. Thanks for the recommendation. :+1:

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Thanks everyone. I’m going to test a couple of these out to find out what I’m most comfortable with!

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Kudos to you for recognizing the fact that you SHOULD have a viable current backup. A couple of suggestions to consider:

  1. I have a 4TB USB HDD plugged in and Timeshift configured to backup automatically with a differential daily and a full weekly.
  2. I’ve also been playing with ReaR (Relax and Recover) which can create a backup to be used for a bare-metal restore. (

Gook luck and please advise what you end up with?

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