Archives For November 30, 1999

system restore app for Ubuntu Linux

TimeShift, the open-source System Restore software, has reached the 1.7.x release recently. The new release added new command line options to restore, list and delete snapshots, added backup and restore support for LUKS-encrypted partitions.

Never heard of it? TimeShift for Linux is a application that provides functionality similar to the System Restore feature in Windows and the Time Machine tool in Mac OS. It takes snapshots of your system files and settings. User files such as documents, pictures and music are excluded. Your files remains unchanged when you restore your system to an earlier date.

The 1.7 version brings command line options to restore, delete snapshots. For example:

timeshift --restore    #interactive

timeshift --restore --snapshot "2015-01-21_19-28-43" --backup-device /dev/sda2 --target-device /dev/sda1 --skip-grub

timeshift --delete    #interactive

timeshift --delete --snapshot "2015-01-21_19-28-43"

timeshift --delete-all    #completely remove all snapshots

If your system is installed on a LUKS-encrypted partition then you can now restore snapshots both online (from running system) and offline (from another system / LiveCD).

How to Install/Upgrade TimeShift:

TimeShift is available in the developer’s PPA for Ubuntu 15.04, Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04, and Ubuntu 12.04.

To add the PPA, open terminal from the Dash or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. When it opens, run command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:teejee2008/timeshift

After that, update package cache and install the software by running below two commands one by one:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install timeshift

For BTRFS filesystem, replace the last command with this one:

sudo apt-get install timeshift-btrfs

TimeShift, Linux system restore application, now is at v1.6. The new release supports cloning your Ubuntu to another device. BTRFS filesystem support is also available in a fork release.

TimeShift is an open source application for Linux that provides functionality similar to the System Restore feature in Windows and the Time Machine tool in Mac OS.

The utility takes incremental snapshots of the system using rsync and hard-links. These snapshots can be restored at a later date to undo all changes that were made to the system after the snapshot was taken.

The latest Timeshift v1.6 was released recently with below new features:

  • A “Clone” button to clone your current system to another device. You can clone your Ubuntu install to a portable device and boot on another machine.

  • Improved First Snapshot Size Estimation

  • Backups can now be saved on LUKS-encrypted partitions.

  • The terminal output was cleaned up. Only important messages will be displayed

The developer has also announced Timeshift BTRFS, a fork release that supports for Linux system installed on BTRFS filesystem. It features:

  • Super-fast snapshot creation

  • Snapshots takes ZERO space initially

  • Super-fast restore

Install Timeshift in Ubuntu:

Both rsync (normal version) and BTRFS version are available in the developer’s PPA for Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 12.04, Ubuntu 14.10 and derivatives.

Press Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard to open the terminal. When it opens, paste the commands below and run one by one to add the PPA and install Timeshift packages:

To install TimeShift:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:teejee2008/timeshift
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install timeshift

To install TimeShift BTRFS version:

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install timeshift-btrfs

Once properly installed, start it from Unity Dash, and you can receive future updates by running regular updates via Software Updater.

Create system restore point in Ubuntu via TimeShift

Last updated: December 10, 2022

Want to create a Windows like system restore point? Well, TimeShift is the tool, which protects your system by taking incremental snapshots of the file system at regular intervals. These snapshots can be restored later to bring your system to the exact state it was in at the time when the snapshot was taken.

TimeShift is designed to protect only system files and settings. User files such as documents, pictures and music are excluded.


  • TimeShift requires very little setup. Just install it, run it for the first time and take the first snapshot. A cron job will be enabled for taking automatic snapshots of the system at regular intervals. The backup levels can be selected from the Settings dialog.
  • Snapshots are saved by default on the system (root) partition in path /timeshift. Other linux partitions can also be selecte
  • Boot snapshots provide an additional level of backup and are taken 30 minutes after the system is started.
  • Hourly, daily, weekly and monthly levels can be enabled if required.
  • TimeShift runs at regular 30-minute intervals but takes snapshots only when needed.
  • Applications like rsnapshot rotate a snapshot to the next level by creating a hard-linked copy. Creating a hard-linked copy may seem like a good idea but it is still a waste of disk space. This is because only files can be hard-linked and not directories. The duplicated directory structure can take up as much as 100 MB of space. TimeShift avoids this wastage by using tags for maintaining backup levels. Each snapshot will have only one copy on disk and is tagged as “daily”, “monthly”, etc. The snapshot location will have a set of folders for each backup level (“Monthly”, “Daily”, etc) with symbolic links pointing to the actual snapshots tagged with the level.
  • Snapshots can be restored either from the running system or from a live CD. Restoring backups from the running system requires a reboot to complete the restore process.
  • You can also TimeShift across distributions. Let’s say you are currently using Xubuntu and decide to try out Linux Mint. You install Linux Mint on your system and try it out for a week before deciding to go back to Xubuntu. Using TimeShift you can simply restore the last week’s snapshot to get your Xubuntu system back. TimeShift will take care of things like reinstalling the bootloader and other details. Since installing a new linux distribution also formats your root partition you need to save your snapshots on a separate linux partition for this to work.

Install TimeShift via PPA:

The PPA is ready for Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 22.04, Ubuntu 22.10 and their derivatives, such as Linux Mint, Elementary OS.

Press Ctrl+ALt+T on your keyboard to open terminal. When it opens, run below commands one by one:

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/timeshift
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install timeshift