• Backup programs for Linux

    Author
    Topic
    #99274

    I use Xubuntu Linux, and I’ve been looking for backup software.

    Here is what I’m looking for:
    * GUI interface. I prefer a GUI interface, but will take command line, if it’s not too complicated.
    * Full image backups, not just a backup of my files.
    * Reliability – I want a backup which will allow me to reliably recover from a crash. (Not all backup software is reliable.)

    Anyone have any experience with Linux backup software?

    Group "L" (Linux Mint)
    with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
    Viewing 15 reply threads
    Author
    Replies
    • #99293

      At this time I am not aware of any Linux full image backups that run from within the OS, like Windows images.

      I use a bootable live CD image of Clonezilla http://clonezilla.org/ to do the deed.  The big requirement is that the partition to be cloned is unmounted.

      To do this you have to boot the system with a live boot CD of Clonezilla, and direct the image to a secondary drive, either internal or external.

      This works reliably and I have done several complete restores without issue.  It has a GUI, but it is not really user friendly, and you have to read and follow the instruction very carefully.  You definitely need to understand Linux drive and partition paths.

      Windows 10 Pro 22H2

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #99294

      Clonezilla live download

      http://clonezilla.org/clonezilla-live.php

      Clonezilla live instructions, step by step

      http://clonezilla.org/clonezilla-live-doc.php

       

      Windows 10 Pro 22H2

    • #99295

      With regards to system backups that run WITHIN linux with GUI..

      How about a system restore/snapshot for linux.

      Timeshift details

      and

      Timeshift

      for installation instructions and PPA

      Have this on two linux systems and works a treat.

      Win8.1/R2 Hybrid lives on...
      7 users thanked author for this post.
    • #99305

      I use Gparted – a GUI interface partition editor – from a bootable live cd, similar to how JohnW uses Clonezilla: basically, just copying the partition to be backed up over to an external hard drive.  (I usually also use it to shrink the copy afterward, to make it easier to copy back when needed.)  Any ‘buntu live cd I’ve used during the past few years has had Gparted installed in its live session, ready to go.

      Besides linux partitions, I’ve used it for backing up data partitions, Windows partitions, and whatever else. Very nice to have when I had to replace the boot drive on my wife’s Windows pc a few years ago.

      I’ve also recently heard of Systemback under linux a few days ago – somebody used it to make an installable .iso file of his custom respin! Haven’t researched it yet, beyond installing that respin to a spare pc, but it worked well for that, at least.

      AlanH – who’s been using xubuntu as a “daily driver” os since 2013

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #100199

      I use a bootable live CD image of Clonezilla http://clonezilla.org/ to do the deed. The big requirement is that the partition to be cloned is unmounted.

      To do this you have to boot the system with a live boot CD of Clonezilla, and direct the image to a secondary drive, either internal or external.

      I like the idea of booting with a separate OS (in this case the live boot CD of Clonezilla), so that the backup software can do the backup from outside of the installed OS.

      Last night I downloaded and installed FWBackups. I went here to get it:

      http://www.diffingo.com/oss/fwbackups

      To install it in Xubuntu, I had to open a terminal session and run some commands. But it was very easy, because everything was explained very clearly in the online documentation.

      I then did a full backup. I backed up ‘/’, which is the root. I chose an “archive” backup, which is a full system backup. I chose a folder on my external hard drive to write the backup to. Then I let it run. I opened a log window, and I had to hit the refresh button every so often, to see what was going on. It looked like nothing was happening, so I opened a File Manager window, to the folder where the backup was being written, so I could see the size of the backup file. I saw that it was growing, so I knew that the backup was running, because data was being written to the backup file. After a few hours, it was still running, so I went to bed. This morning, I hit the refresh button in the log window and saw a message that said that the backup was finished. I now need to try to do a restore, to make sure that it’s a good backup.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #101224

        Thanks for the link Jim!  That Diffingo looks like a good file backup program.

        I would think that by occasionally using something like Clonezilla to take a full disk image, and on a regular basis use Diffingo to back up just the files in your user folder, you would be well covered.

        It sounds like it takes a bit of time to back up ALL files and folders with Diffingo.

        A disk image just copies the entire partition, sector by sector.

        If you needed to replace the hard drive, you could restore the most recent image to get your system back up and running, them by restoring you user files from Diffingo, all of your docs would be right back where they were, good as new 🙂

        Also, by using fast & frequent file backups of your user files, you are better protected for any contingency.  Good disaster recovery starts with having a plan!

        Windows 10 Pro 22H2

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #101329

          I need to get a spare hard drive and restore the Diffingo/FWBackups image to it, to see how well this software works. I don’t want to get a long way down the road and find out that the images I have been making are worthless. (That’s what happened to me when I used Seagate DiscWizard.)

          If FWBackups works fine, then I’m satisfied with it, because it is easy to use. I can let it run overnight, so it doesn’t matter if it takes a long time.

          I tried downloading and installing CloneZilla, but I never could get it installed and working. It looked like a good program. FWBackups was very easy to install — I had to type a few Terminal commands, but they were explained very clearly, so there was no difficulty at all.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #101362

            Hi Jim, I have looked through the Diffingo user guide, and I cannot see anything there that references it’s use a full disk imaging program.

            It’s very important to understand the difference between a system image and a regular file backup.  Both are useful, but have very different characteristics.

            I would emphasize finding and using a tool for each process that you like, and use them both!

            Here is a brief explanation from a Dummies author, using Windows 7 as the model, but the concepts do apply to all types of OS, including Linux.

            http://www.andyrathbone.com/2010/02/19/system-image-vs-regular-backup-in-windows-7/

            Windows 10 Pro 22H2

            2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #101225

      My thoughts on programs like Timeshift and Systemback are that they are nice to have, but would never become my main disaster recovery plan.  Rolling back to an earlier snapshot may work in some cases, but maybe not in all of them.

      Kind of the same way that I feel about Windows System Restore.  I have used it, but I don’t fully trust it like I do with a full system disk image.

      I will admit that I will attempt to roll back in some cases, but I feel better knowing that I can always just boot a recovery disk and have a full system image restored in a few minutes. 🙂

      Windows 10 Pro 22H2

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #101243

      I also tried to find a suitable Linux backup program, but I could not find one.

      Since my PCs with Linux are both dual-boot machines that also have Windows, I do my backups from there.  Both Acronis True Image and Macrium Reflect have proven to reliably create and restore from images of Linux partitions (EXT4 and SWAP).  The other Windows backup programs people often mention (Aomei, Comodo, EaseUS) either failed with an error trying to back up a Linux volume or slowed to a point that it would have taken a day or more to complete the backup.

      If you are going to boot from a USB drive or optical disc to do your backups anyway, you can still use True Image or Reflect without Windows being involved (though you will need Windows to create the bootable media).  Acronis has a trial version of TI2017 that can create USB/optical bootable media, and Macrium offers a free version of Reflect that can create the bootable media too.

      True Image gives the user a choice between a Linux-based or a WinPE-based rescue medium; I believe Macrium only offers a WinPE version.  The WinPE versions are fully capable of creating valid Linux partition images, but they will require a download from Microsoft to get the Windows runtime.

      I’ve posted before about some of the issues I have had with True Image, but despite those, it is still my go-to backup program at this time.  The free version of Reflect is good, but it lacks data encryption (which True Image has), and the paid version is way more expensive than True Image (which I got on sale at Newegg).  So, I use True Image… it’s never produced corrupt images or corrupt restores from images, and I’ve used it far more than any other backup program.  Once you get the image written, you’re good.

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #101335

        Since my PCs with Linux are both dual-boot machines that also have Windows, I do my backups from there. Both Acronis True Image and Macrium Reflect have proven to reliably create and restore from images of Linux partitions (EXT4 and SWAP).

        I have Macrium Reflect Free. I made the emergency boot disk, and rebooted with it. I have Linux on a separate hard drive, and I tried to backup that hard drive, having booted into the Macrium environment with the emergency boot disk, but it couldn’t see the Linux drive.

        I believe Macrium only offers a WinPE version. The WinPE versions are fully capable of creating valid Linux partition images, but they will require a download from Microsoft to get the Windows runtime.

        Perhaps that is why Macrium couldn’t see the Linux drive. Or perhaps Macrium Free can’t see a Linux drive, whereas the paid version can.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #101949

          Jim,

          I’m using the free version of Macrium Reflect also, and I just booted from the USB to try it.  It’s backing up my EXT4 volumes right now, no problem at all!

          My EXT4 volumes are partitions, not physical drives.  I would not think that would matter, but maybe it does.

          As for True Image… bah, the bootable made by the test version won’t do backups, so that’s a no go.

           

          Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
          XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
          Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #101371

      Just thought that I should mention that there are disk cloning utilities as well.

      Cloning uses a similar process as making a full disk image, but instead of creating an image file for safekeeping, the image data is directly transferred to another drive.  It’s really  just a drive duplicator, like restoring the image to another drive, but all in one step.

      The main use case for cloning would be moving the system to a new drive, such as migrating from HDD to SSD.

      Lifehacker has a brief article on this topic here. http://lifehacker.com/5891933/the-best-disk-cloning-app-for-linux

      They cover Clonezilla, but also mention a more user friendly tool called Redo Backup and Recovery http://redobackup.org/ is so simple that anyone can use it. It is the easiest, most complete disaster recovery solution available. It allows bare-metal restore. Bare metal restore is not only the best solution for hardware failure, it is also the ultimate antivirus: Even if your hard drive melts or gets completely erased by a virus, you can have a completely-functional system back up and running in as little as 10 minutes.

      Redo doesn’t need Windows. Download and burn the ISO, place it in your CD-ROM drive, and reboot your machine. The system will load a complete mini operating system with a point-and-click user interface into your computer’s memory, without writing any information to your hard drive. Then you will be able to perform backup, restore and recovery actions—guaranteed—even if you aren’t able to boot into your regular operating system.

      Redo Backup and Recovery is a GPLv3 Perl script built with a GTK2+ interface designed in Glade. It is simply a front end to partclone, which performs the actual backup and restore. The live CD is built on Ubuntu to provide a graphical user interface and unmodified binaries of each program, but the script will run on any Linux platform that has the required programs installed. The Perl source code for the backup script is contained on the live CD itself. And anyone running Ubuntu can build their own live CD from scratch by following our simple recipe.

      Windows 10 Pro 22H2

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #106497

      Check out UrBackup … https://www.urbackup.org/

      It has a web based GUI and offers both image and file backups.  Very reliable so far…  Using it to image backup remote servers over a 1.5MB T1.  Takes a long time for a full backup but has not failed yet.  Incremental image backups are delta copied so only differences in the image are backed up, much faster.  There is also a feature to access files within the image backup in development.  Can backup Windows and Linux machines.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #154701

      One thing I have discovered about FWBackups: when you are doing a backup, it tells you it is working, but it doesn’t give you the progress percentage, nor how much data it has backed up.

      So what I do is, I open a file explorer window and show the backup file in the window. Then from time to time, I see how big the backup file is, and I write down the size. As long as the size of the backup file keeps increasing, I know the backup is still running.

      As far as using FWBackups for a full system backup, my theory is that if I back up all of the folders on my Linux drive, and then I need to do a full restore, I can reinstall Linux Mint, then restore the latest backup over the new Mint install. That should get me back up and running.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
    • #154723

      @ MrJimPhelps

      You might want to look at the TeraByte imaging software. It’s not *free*, but they do offer a 30 day trial to see if it meets your needs:

      https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/image-for-linux.htm

      For Linux, I think you have to boot an imaging disc to a Linux interface–I don’t think you can image from within Linux live–as of now, I don’t use Linux so I don’t have personal knowledge.

      If the software appears a little daunting and intimidating, there is an expert user named *Brain* on this forum–he has helped many wade through the jargon and necessary settings for the TeraByte software here:

      http://radified.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl

      Post any questions in the *Cloning Programs (Except Norton Ghost)*, and you will usually get a response very quickly:

      http://radified.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?board=cloning_programs

      If you have any questions prior to using the software, or problems when installing, creating imaging discs, or using the software–he can usually help with any questions.

      This imaging software works also very well for Windows and/or DOS–I use it for my Windows SSD hard drive with a USB3 external HDD–very fast.

      I also use their partitioning and boot manager software *BootIt® Bare Metal – Partition Manager* to multiboot multiple OS’s–it can include Linux, Windows, DOS, etc.:

      https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-bare-metal.htm

      Just another option to consider, and it meets all your criteria that you posted in your original post.

      5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #154726

        I was recently recommended to try Terabyte, with it receiving accolades from Steve Gibson (GRC):

        6 users thanked author for this post.
      • #154920

        “By default, backups made to CD/DVD/BD are bootable, which provides you with a convenient recovery CD/DVD/BD.”

        This is handy.

        The program is only $29.95. Not bad, if it’s a good program.

        TeraByte has been around a long time, so I’m sure that this is a reliable program.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #154994

      @ Kirsty

      I was recently recommended to try Terabyte,

      So, it begs the question, “Did you try it?”

      Are you still testing it out?

      What do you think?

    • #169816

      I don’t think you can image from within Linux live–as of now, I don’t use Linux so I don’t have personal knowledge.

      It’s been a few months since you wrote this, but I would like to add that it can indeed create images of the Linux installation from within itself.  I had the trial version perform that very task, and while I have yet to test the restore process (which is important to do before you rely on it), it looks promising so far.  This is the closest I’ve yet seen a Linux application get to what we’ve come to expect as a “proper” Windows backup program.

      On the minus side, it’s considerably slower when using encryption than Aomei Backupper in Windows, but so are most Windows backup programs.  Paragon, EaseUS, and several others are extremely slow in the way I use a backup program– writing encrypted images to a network share.  Acronis True Image is better than the previous two in speed, but it’s still considerably slower than Backupper.  I haven’t tested Macrium Reflect, as its free version does not offer encrypted images.

      The tests I have seen published online that test and compare the various Windows backup programs have never tested using this methodology, and unfortunately the rankings of unencrypted backup jobs have no relevence at all to how they perform with encryption on.

      There are more options I have yet to try in Terabyte Unlimited’s Image for Linux… there are several cryptically-named options for various encryption methods.  I just picked one from near the middle of the pack and went with that for my test.

      One other thing the Linux backup client lacks is options to back up to a network share.  I did it by manually mounting my Windows network share, which also optimizes its speed, but I would like to see a more straightforward way of doing it.

      Still, I may end up getting this program… the fact that they even have a Linux client is great (and they’re not charging $500 a year to use it like Acronis, because everyone who uses Linux must be running a huge server in an organization that considers Microsoft-like licensing costs to be quite reasonable).

       

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
      Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #169837

        Ascaris:

        The two backup methods which are catching my interest right now are Redo backup and GPARTED. Here are my reasons for liking these two:

        With Redo Backup, you boot from a CD into the Redo environment, from which you launch a bare-metal, OS-independent backup to an external drive (or to a second internal drive). Check here for more info.

        With GPARTED, you boot into Live Linux, run GPARTED, then copy the desired partition to an external drive, then shrink it once it’s there. To me, that is so simple as to be a thing of beauty, as long as you can avoid doing damage to the partition by mistake (e.g. deleting it!). Check here and here for more info.

        Jim

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #170893

        On the minus side, it’s considerably slower when using encryption than Aomei Backupper in Windows, but so are most Windows backup programs. Paragon, EaseUS, and several others are extremely slow in the way I use a backup program– writing encrypted images to a network share. Acronis True Image is better than the previous two in speed, but it’s still considerably slower than Backupper. I haven’t tested Macrium Reflect, as its free version does not offer encrypted images.

        Ascaris: Perhaps you could encrypt a backup image by running it through WinZip after the backup is done. WinZip allows you to encrypt a WinZip archive with a password. And from what I understand, WinZip provides STRONG encryption. This would allow you to choose from a wider variety of backup options, since you wouldn’t need that the backup software itself provide encryption functionality.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
        • #170894
          1. Double handling.
          2. Aomei won’t be able to read the backup.

          Probably not a good idea IMO.

          cheers, Paul

           

          • #170968

            1. I don’t think there is any harm in “double compressing” the backup — the initial backup, then the WinZip process — although you probably won’t gain any additional compression by running the Aomei image through WinZip.

            2. If you unzip the zipped backup first, Aomei will be able to then read the backup.

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #173122

              Aomei free does support compression; it is Macrium Reflect that does not.  The Macrium Reflect paid edition does, but it costs some $60 some odd dollars per PC, which is just too rich for my blood. I was always able to get Acronis while on sale somewhere, whether from Acronis itself or through a retailer.

              Terabyte’s Image for Linux also allows a bootable rescue device to be created.  It could use better networking support (as it is, network shares must be mounted manually and navigated to in the UI to perform backups), but it’s the closest thing to a Windows-style online backup image program.  It doesn’t have the ability, as far as I know, to mount backup images and browse them directly, as most Windows programs do.

               

               

              Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
              XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/32GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon
              Acer Swift Go 14, i5-1335U/16GB, KDE Neon (and Win 11)

            • #173135

              @ Ascaris

              AFAIK, Macrium Reflect Free does support compression. The default setting is Medium compression(= 60%). …
              https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW/Macrium+Reflect+default+settings

    • #169839

      I would like to thank everyone very much for the extremely valuable information you have posted here about Linux (and Windows) backups. The two that are most intriguing to me are Redo and GPARTED (see above posts). Both of them seem to me to be the cleanest and most straightforward backup methods.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
    • #170006

      Very good information here. Unless I am missing something, none of the suggestions do all the things that Macrium does for me. Redo looks very nice and I will try that (I am still in a VM at this time though), but not as a primary backup.

      I have gotten spoiled on Macrium. It allows automated, scheduled backups (1 full and 6 incremental every week) which lets me restore from earlier in the day instead of earlier in the week or month plus it has the rescue disk which allows me to restore from the WinPE environment as well. It also allows me to set to keep only two full week’s backups and automatically delete anything older than that when doing a new full backup. Also, being able to mount images and pull needed files out is nice.

      The suggestions here are good ones, but it seems they either only work while in Linux or only work VIA a CD or USB stick, but not both? Do they do automated, scheduled backups full or incremental?

      TeraByte looks pretty good, but can either the CUI or GUI versions do both? Is this another area that hasn’t quite caught up to Windows yet or do one of the many suggestions mentioned in this thread do both things and it just went over my head?

      Redo seems like an excellent #2, though. Any #1 for me has to be able to do the automated, scheduled backups every night from within Linux AND have a bootable CD/USB environment from which to restore an image if I cannot access Linux. My #3 would probably be Timeshift.

    • #170904

      All I would like to add is that Clonezilla has worked for me in imaging and restoring several different Linux distros on different PCs and a Chromebook. The Linux partition should be unmounted while imaging, unlike Windows, where imaging software has been developed which does not need to unmount the Windows partition to image it successfully.  Clonezilla may or may not succeed in restoring to a different partition or a different disk. In either event, GRUB2 or the main boot manager for the disk would need to be updated or reinstalled. Dual or multibooting is an entirely different topic, which I will not attempt to cover here.

      So, in spite of its command-line interface and reliance on the arcane Linux nomenclature of devices and partitions, I use Clonezilla Live, and usually a build tailored to the Linux distro and version number level I am imaging. Clonezilla can also be used to directly clone a Linux partition or disk to new hardware, but that is beyond the scope of my user experience.

      Clonezilla has several times brought my Linux installs from unusable to where they were recently, leaving none of the mess behind from whatever experiments went wrong. I also separately back up by copy or dd copy my folders from my Home Folder or Partition, copying only the active personal or settings files and folders. Especially when switching distros or doing in place Linux upgrades, having both images of the system and data backups, with the data uncompressed and unencrypted and not in any  proprietary archive format, makes trying different things and different distros relatively painless and not so scary.

      All of this is based on experience since 2012, with Ubuntu Linux, Fedora Linux, and on Intel based PCs, laptops and a Chromebook (also Intel core-i (mobile) architecture).

      -- rc primak

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #173147

        I also separately back up by copy or dd copy my folders from my Home Folder or Partition, copying only the active personal or settings files and folders. Especially when switching distros or doing in place Linux upgrades, having both images of the system and data backups, with the data uncompressed and unencrypted and not in any proprietary archive format, makes trying different things and different distros relatively painless and not so scary.

        Bob:

        Are you saying that you can copy your user folders from one Linux disto to another Linux distro, and it will work?

        My guess is that I can back up my user folders, reinstall the exact same distro and version of Linux, then copy my user folders into the reinstall, and I will be back in business. But I didn’t think I could do this if the reinstall was a different distro or even a different version of the same distro.

        Thanks.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 10 running on a separate hard drive
    Viewing 15 reply threads
    Reply To: Backup programs for Linux

    You can use BBCodes to format your content.
    Your account can't use all available BBCodes, they will be stripped before saving.

    Your information: